Working At Snow Farm NZ
Snow Farm NZ is nestled high atop the Pisa Range, approximately 40 minutes from Wanaka and 1.5 hours from Queenstown via car. We are the home of cross-country skiing in New Zealand and arguably boast the best view of the Southern Alps of any mountain in the region.
We are a place where visitors come for a snow experience different from what any other mountain in New Zealand offers. We are the only place in the country to come and experience cross-country skiing, but we also offer snowshoeing, tubing and snow play experiences. For many of our visitors, building a snowman is a novel experience! We also operate and maintain three backcountry huts – Meadow, Bob Lee, Daisy Lee and new for 2022 is the Musterers Hut. People ski and snowshoe out to these huts for overnight experiences throughout the winter.
The working experience with us is unlike any other, we are a small team of around 20 employees and it’s like being part of a family. The main roles we have on our team are ski instructors and guest services, but the whole team is expected to help out in all departments and chip in. It’s a close-knit team and the experience in three months can provide friendships that will last a lifetime.
Applications for 2023 are Closed
POSITIONS WE HIRE FOR
For the winter season, we are hiring Cross Country Ski Instructors, Guest Services Assistants and Hut Wardens. We see it as an advantage to hiring staff with first aid qualifications so if you have any first aid training or experience, make sure you make that known on your application.
Ski Instructors take daily lessons to introduce new visitors to the sport of Cross Country skiing, and instructors need to be good cross-country skiers. It is preferable to have a teaching qualification. Instructors can expect to work in the rentals area, greeting and fitting their lesson participants with equipment.
*If you have a Snow Board or Alpine Skiing Instructors qualification, this is helpful, but you need to be a proficient cross-country skier to be eligible for employment as an instructor. Please ensure you include evidence of this in your cover letter.
Guest Services Assistants will greet our guests when they first arrive, advise guests, and take payments. A high level of trustworthiness is required as they will be handling cash and are the first point of contact for our guests. Guest Services Assistants will help when we are busy with rentals, car parking and supervising the Snow Play Zone.
Hut Wardens are responsible for our Backcountry huts’ maintenance and daily servicing. Guest stay nightly, and we pick up and deliver their bags for them. Hut wardens typically leave the base at 8:30 am for picking up bags and servicing the huts. They then assist with the daily operation of the business upon their return and cover breaks for other staff and then begin loading bags for a 2 pm departure for the huts to drop off bags for the new guests and any additional supplies needed.
The key is we all work together towards a common goal of providing the most enjoyable possible experience for our guests.
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DO I GET TO & FROM WORK?
Staff transport for general staff leaves Wanaka at 7:10 am and 8:10 am, depending on which department you work in. Transport leaves Snow Farm at 4:30 pm. We have a secondary vehicle that leaves town at 9:15 am and returns from the mountain at 2:15 pm.
Snow Farm does not have any on-mountain accommodation for our staff. We provide free transport from Wanaka to get you to work and back on days you are rostered. The trip takes about 30- 45 minutes, depending on the road conditions.
We are also happy for our staff to get a ride up on their days off if there is space. We also have a couple of seats in our early truck, which leaves town at 5:30 am for the early birds who want to get first tracks and capture the most incredible sunrise you will ever see!
WHAT ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS ARE THERE?
Accommodation can be very tight in the winter; we strongly recommend that you try to arrange accommodation before you get here unless you are planning to arrive in early to mid-May. You should have enough funds to keep yourself either in a backpacker or campground while looking unless you have pre-arranged accommodation.
You will likely be asked to pay a bond when renting and sign a rental agreement. In most instances, references are required. Although Snow Farm does not arrange or provide accommodation for staff, if you are having difficulty finding accommodation before commencing work, let us know, and we may help.
There are several options for housing; most Snow Farm staff choose to live in the nearby town of Wanaka, where the staff transport leaves every morning. Wanaka offers plenty to do; bars, restaurants, cinemas, shopping, a great atmosphere and killer views across the majestic Lake Wanaka and the dramatic Southern Alps.
Most of Wanaka is accessible by foot. It could take up to half an hour or 40mins to walk to the outreaches of town. (Beacon Point, Aubrey Rd, Sargood Drive)
Albert Town is a 5-minute drive (from Wanaka Township). It takes a good 45mins to 1hr to walk home from Wanaka.
Luggate is a 15-minute drive (from Wanaka Township). You will probably need to have access to a vehicle if you live here.
Hawea Is a 20-minute drive (from Wanaka Township). You will probably need to have access to a vehicle if you live here.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ACCOMMODATION, HERE ARE A FEW OPTIONS TO TRY.
Some local real estate agents run property management sections and are worth a go. The following have some listings online.
Wanaka Live, Lake Wanaka Accommodation, The Messenger, Upper Clutha Trading Post (Facebook page), Wanaka Winter season accommodation (Facebook page), Wanaka Accommodation, Harcourts, First National
It would be highly recommended to review the Tenants Protection Association website’s guidelines and advice if you wish to rent a property in New Zealand. They will advise on how to rent a property and let you know your rights and obligations when signing a new lease.
Visit them at http://www.tpa.org.nz/
BANK & IRD NUMBERS
Snow Farm will pay your wages directly into a bank account. We do not pay into overseas accounts or credit cards, so you must open an NZ bank account. Several banks in Wanaka can help. Plan on arriving in Wanaka before your first day of work so that you have time to visit the banks. They are only open Mon-Fri during regular work hours.
You must open a New Zealand bank account to apply for an IRD (tax) number.
All working people in New Zealand pay taxes. To do this, you will need an IRD (tax) number. You will need this number before commencing work to be paid. You must be in the country to do this, as you need to apply in person at the appropriate location (most likely the Post Office). You may need to supply a letter of employment to the IRD as a form of identification. If you have been offered a position with us, you will receive a employment agreement. IRD number application forms (IR595) can be downloaded from the Inland Revenue website. You will need to show your Individual Employment Agreement and passport with the completed IR595 form to an NZ Post or IRD office, and it will take at least 14 days to process.
REMEMBER, YOU WILL NEED A NZ BANK ACCOUNT TO APPLY FOR AN IRD NUMBER. TO COMPLETE THE IRD NUMBER APPLICATION FORM, YOU WILL NEED YOUR BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS.
I AM NOT A NEW ZEALAND OR AUSTRALIAN RESIDENT; HOW CAN I GET A WORK VISA?
New Zealand offers a working holiday visa program that allows you to work for up to one year in New Zealand. Click the link below to find out more from the official Immigration New Zealand Website:
We occasionally recruit for positions that we cannot find a New Zeland Resident to fill in these instances; we will support the applicant is applying for a work visa. This visa differs from the Working Holiday Visa as it will only allow the applicant to work for Snow Farm for the duration of their contract, and they cannot work for any other NEw Zeland Business with that visa. This has been in the past for Groomer Operators and Ski Instructors.
WHAT KIND OF MONEY CAN I EARN? HOW OFTEN AM I PAID?
First-year mountain wages start from $18.90 per hour. For jobs that require more qualifications, skills and experience, the rates may be higher. Our wages and benefits are comparative with other ski areas in New Zealand. We require you to fill out and submit a weekly timesheet for your supervisor to check. We pay you weekly on a Wednesday night. You must have an IRD number and an NZ bank account before commencing work, as you cannot be paid until you have both of these.
WILL I NEED INSURANCE? WHAT IS ACC?
In New Zealand, there is the Accident Compensation Corporation, commonly referred to as ACC. They assist anyone who has an accident or injury in NZ. The amount of assistance varies and can be from medical bills to loss of earnings ACC covers a portion of any treatment bills necessary and will also pay a percentage of your lost wages if you are unable to resume your duties straight away.
If you have an accident while carrying out your job duties or on a ride break or day off, you will be covered by ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation). You will need to be treated by the Medical Centre Staff in Wanaka. If necessary referred elsewhere, ACC will pay a portion of any doctor’s bill and will also pay a portion of your wages should you be unable to resume your duties straight away. ACC assess the loss of earning based on your previous earnings, so in the first four weeks of your employment, you will generally get minimal assistance help with the loss of earnings.
Snow Farm provides a “Return to Work Scheme” to enable you to work in a more convenient area where possible.
We strongly recommend that you come with your own travel insurance, specifically covering ski and snowboard related incidents, as ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) does not cover any treatment expenses out of the country.
INDUCTION, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
We will provide you with training, education, ongoing seasonal support and personal development to perform successfully in your role and, if you wish, to build a platform for you to progress within the Industry.
Our training takes place over the week before you start. It includes two days of general training and team-building with the entire team, and then we break up into training in individual departments.
The training incorporates aspects of your induction, including health and safety, customer service, job-specific training, mid-season assessment and exit interview. The qualification achieved is a national certificate with value across multiple industries and helpful for returning visa applicants.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MOUNTAIN DOESN’T OPEN?
If we have a delayed opening due to a lack of snow, we go into a stand-down period. All staff are put on hold until the mountain can operate. We make every effort to open as scheduled, but we do need help from Mother Nature; the best part about Snow Farm is we require less snow than other resorts to open.
It is best to arrive in Wanaka with some reserve funds to cover your rent and food, just in case.
We would encourage you to have at least $2,000 available to you when you arrive. This will help set you up initially and help you survive until you start work. The opening date can be delayed in our business if there is no snow and no snow = no work.
Once we are operating, we may have the odd day to close due to safety concerns or adverse weather conditions.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I WILL BE WORKING? WILL I GET FIXED HOURS A WEEK?
Like all other ski resorts, the start and end of the season seem to be quieter, so you can expect there will be fewer hours to work then. Our peak season usually runs from mid-July to the end of August, so there will generally be plenty of hours at this time. We advise everyone to take the hours when they are available and save up to help you through the quieter periods.
Generally, you can’t take holidays during the season. In New Zealand, you only become entitled to take a holiday once you have worked for the company for a year. If we can give you time off, we will, as we want you to have a great experience. The option to swap a shift is available to most staff but must be done with your manager’s approval. Please don’t ask for time off during our peak period (July and August), as we won’t be able to give it to you.
DO I GET A SKIING BREAK?
You will mainly work a 4-6 day roster, which will be given to you seven days in advance. The only guaranteed skiing time is on your days off. You can ski at Snow Farm for free on your days off or visit other mountains at a heavily discounted rate (you will need to take your staff pass and a letter of introduction from us to receive these discounts).
Some positions require you to ski/ride for your job, i.e. Snow Sports School Instructor, but there are restrictions on where and when this is required are specific to each job. Every department is different, and it will depend on your supervisor, but yes, we try wherever possible to get you out on ski breaks as it’s a great way to stay enthusiastic and up to date on the conditions. Plus, it is lots of fun!
Yes, we provide staff uniforms (a uniform charge may apply). They are warm and contemporary uniforms designed to suit the needs of the job. Outdoor Uniforms are loaned to you when you are employed with us and need to be returned in good condition. If you return the damaged or lose them, then you can expect to be charged for the cost of fixing/replacing them.
We also provide high visibility gear for car parking and snowmobile operations to keep you warm and visible!
We have a Uniform and Appearance Policy that all staff must follow.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF WORKING AT SNOW FARM?
Snow Farm tries to improve its’ benefits each year based on our staff feedback. This year we offer discounts on the mountain, and there are many discounts made available to you by local Wanaka businesses. We also form a social committee at the start of the season, and they are responsible for organising regular social activities and overnight trips to our huts.
SHOULD I BUY A SEASON PASS AT THE EARLY-BIRD RATE?
Yes. If you get a job with us, we will refund the full price of your pass.
CAN I GET A SECOND JOB ELSEWHERE WHILE I AM WORKING FOR YOU?
Yes. Just make sure you talk to your manager beforehand to ensure that it will fit around your job with us. It’s always better to clarify in advance so we can support you wherever possible.
WHAT GEAR DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME?
It depends on which department you work for. Generally, outside departments will need thermals, socks, a hat, gloves and boots capable of keeping you warm and dry. You will most certainly need some eye protection. We will supply you with an outer layer that you will be expected to look after and return at the end of the season.
Inside departments may need thermals, sturdy footwear and in some cases, a hat.
We have a great range of gear and great prices-Mons Royale base layer thermals, ski socks.
If you don’t have your own gear – no problem. We have ex-rental gear at great prices for staff, and we do allow you to use our rental gear when available for free