Ski jobs in Japan : Finding resort work for a winter season

In recent years’ awareness and appreciation of the allure of Japanese powder has grown rapidly among the global ski community. With an increase in the popularity of resort destinations, the industry has inevitably seen a corresponding increase in the provision of ski related job opportunities. Read the following article to find out more about the types of ski season jobs that are now available in Japan and how you yourself might find winter snow season work.

Ski Instructor Jobs and Instructor Internships in Japan

Ski instructor jobs make up a large proportion of the resort jobs in Japan’s popular ski destinations like Niseko. But there are also opportunities for employment in personal ski coaching and in guiding guests around the resorts.Demand for ski and snowboard instructors has grown so much that instructor internships have now become a particularly popular way for ski schools to meet their requirements of instructor staffing.Such internships are ideal for passionate skiers and snowboarders who wish both to become qualified and then work as an instructor in the same season. WE ARE SNO offers a range of instructor internship courses in Canada, Japan and Europe.The package we offer includes:

  • Instructor training and international qualification (NZSIA)

  • Resort Accommodation

  • A paid instructor job offer to follow on

  • A season lift pass

  • Access to loads of social events and other perks

If you’re interested to learn more, first check your eligibility here.

Other types of ski season jobs in Japan

While the goal of the majority of our clients is to become a ski or snowboard instructor, there are other ski jobs in Japan that you might also wish to consider, including:

  • Guiding and ski patrol: If you have the appropriate qualifications, there are opportunities for backcountry guides or for resort ski patrol staff. Given the vast amount of powder that falls on Japanese ski resorts, there are well-paid openings for the more advanced skiers in responsible roles.

  • Ski technician, rental and retail: There are also significant opportunities for those with prior experience in the retail service sector in selling or renting out equipment to the many thousands of skiers who arrive in the resorts each year in need of gear. You will be well placed to access such jobs if you have previous experience of such a role, but any prior retail experience is likely to be helpful..

  • Hospitality: With a growing ski tourism market, comes increasing demand for hospitality staff. Japanese resorts, especially the likes of Niseko and Hakuba, are crying out for more English-speaking staff to work in the hotels, hostels, restaurants and cafes.

It is quite common for people doing their first ski season in Japan to pick up secondary jobs. Ski resorts can be expensive places to live, so having multiple resort jobs can help you afford those new skis or that unplanned night-out.

Living and working in a Japanese ski resort

Compared with experiences of ski resorts in Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Japan is very unique. If you work a ski season in Japan you can expect:

  1. People: The Japanese culture is quant and completely unforgettable. The people are extremely friendly, always helpful, and genuinely happy most of the time.

  2. Cuisine: The excellent food really makes Japan stand out from other ski destinations. Sushi, Ramen and Nabe are local dishes, but you’ll also be able to find all your favourite western treats as well!

  3. Nightlife: Japan’s larger resorts offer a great nightlife, with multiple restaurants, bars and clubs to sample. In smaller resorts, while you are likely to find fewer bars and clubs, you will be able to experience more authentic culture and cuisine.

  4. Accommodation: There is a range of accommodation available for seasonaires. Some employers will help you find exactly what you want while others will offer you their own staff accommodation. For many this can be renting an apartment with friends, staying in staff housing or finding affordable hostel rooms.

  5. Cost: Japanese resorts range in price depending on their size and popularity. All in all, you’ll find the cost comparable to their equivalents in Europe and Canada.  However, average wages in Japan are comparatively high, meaning that you are likely to be somewhat better off overall.

Which ski resorts can you work at in Japan

Japan has over 600 ski resorts spread across the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido, each with their own benefits.Hokkaido in Particular is famous for it”s light, fluffy powder, and draws a big international crowd from Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America. Famous resorts in Japan include:

  • Niseko Resort

  • Rusutsu Ski Resort

  • Kiroro

  • Furano

  • Hakuba

  • Nozowa Onsen

  • Myoko Kogen

Many of the other resorts are smaller and predominantly used by locals rather than locations suitable for someone looking to experience a social winter ski season.

Working holiday visas

Japan operates an excellent Working Holiday Visa scheme (available to 19 countries). This means that you are likely to encounter a diverse range of seasonaires from across the world.To be eligible for this scheme you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Coming from one of the 19 countries listed here

  • In Japan primarily for holiday purposes

  • Being between 18 and 30 years of age

  • Possessing a valid passport and having a return travel ticket (or sufficient funds to purchase your return ticket).

  • Having sufficient funds to cover your maintenance through the initial period of your stay in Japan.

  • Be in good health.

  • Never previously having been issued with a Japanese working holiday visa.

Many of the ski related jobs found in Japanese resorts will become quieter in March/April, which means it can be a great opportunity to explore some of the countries other highlights and major cities before returning home and seeing your visa expire. We hope you enjoy your snow season in Japan!If you have already worked a season in Japan, or are not eligible for the visa, you may be able to apply for ski season jobs in Canada