Work A Ski Season in Mt Hotham
Discover information on working a ski season in Mt Hotham and browse winter jobs.Australia
Mt Hotham is located in Victoria, Australia and is one of the three major downhill resorts in Victoria. It is about a 5 hour drive from Melbourne. At the base of Mt Hotham is the village of Harrietville which is a 45 minute drive down the mountain along a windy road. Dinner Plain is 11km further down the road and has a number of cross-country trails.
Town Layout and Vibe
The town of Mt Hotham is a small resort town spread along the Great Alpine Road with the central part of the town at Hotham Heights. There is a free shuttle bus that takes people along this road as it’s a very long walk from one end of the town to the other.
There is a second installation of the town over near the beginner area Big D, which also has a number of condos, apartments and a small shop.
How is the Terrain at Mt Hotham
Hotham has the most advanced terrain in Victoria and probably Australia, with only Thredbo able to rival it in terms of steeps. If you are looking for advanced terrain, Hotham is probably the best bet in Australia.
There is less on offer for beginners and intermediates at Hotham than the other resorts in Victoria – Falls Creek and Mt Buller. Mt Hotham is smaller in terms of skiable terrain than the other Victorian resorts and the NSW resorts of Perisher and Thredbo. There are 13 lifts at Mt Hotham.
The Heavenly Valley area has some good intermediate and advanced riding which contains a number of spurs. This funnels into a valley called Snake Gulley which is the busiest trail in Australia.
The Mary’s Slide section under the Gotcha Chair is the best terrain that Australia has to offer in terms of advanced, technical riding. This is an open bowl which leads to a home trail back to Heavenly Valley.
The Orchard area is a fun intermediate area to rip down. Around on the same side of the mountain, at Spargos, there is a free cat to take you into some untouched areas of the mountain and take advantage of the steeper terrain when there is a powder day.
Blue Ribbon is a nice area with bumps, however it is often closed outside peak times as it is the lowest point of the mountain and there is often not enough snow.
The Big D and the Summit area are beginner areas, although the summit can get windy and the Big D is consequently more popular. There is also night skiing at the Big D on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The two areas are separated by a bus trip along the main road.
- Skiable terrain: 320 Hectares (790 Acres)
- Summit elevation: 1861m
- Number of Lifts: 13
- Vertical Drop: 395m
- Longest Run: 2.5km
- Number of beds: 7,000
- Restaurants: 18
Snow and Weather
Average annual snowfall is 300cm, with a usual base depth at the summit of 150cm.
The season usually opens in mid-June and finishes in late September. It is in full-swing during July and August. It is the highest resort in Victoria so the snow is the best of the Victorian resorts. However, at times it can get patchy enough to see the dirt and shrubs beneath the snow.
There can often be white-outs at the top of the mountain meaning that you cannot see more than a few metres in front of you.
There are four terrain parks at Mt Hotham. They are decent for Australian standards, though not as extensive as in Falls Creek and Perisher.
Getting a Job at Mt Hotham
Mt Hotham Skiing Company (MHSC) runs the lift and mountain operations including snow grooming, snowmaking, lifts, snowsports school, tickets, guest services, retail, equipment hire, day spas, property, maintenance, reservations, events, marketing and Hotham Airport. Jobs start to be posted in January. Cut-off for jobs is in February. The best way to get a job for the hill is to go to the online application website at www.hothamjobs.com.au. Jobs are also available at www.merlincareers.com.au/view-and-apply-here/mount-hotham-alpine-resort.aspx
Hotham is owned by Merlin Entertainments, a huge international entertainment company which runs places such as Legoland and Madame Tussauds.
You could also apply to a number of the seasonal jobs that are offered around town at www.mthotham.com.au/discover/more-options/employment
If you work for MHSC you will need to go to an interview a couple of months before, although you can do it by phone if you are overseas.
The General Mt Hotham is the pub in the centre of town which also sometimes looks for seasonal employees.
Ride Time and Pay
As a lift operator, you usually work 40 hours a week, when the snow is good. That equals one day off and two half days. The lift times are 8.30am to 5pm on the Village chair and about 4.30pm for other lifts.
Pay in Australia is based on the Alpine Resort Award 2010 www.fwc.gov.au/documents/modern_awards/award/ma000092/default.htm. Most entry-level jobs pay around $18.82 per hour (a little more for snowsports instructors).
There are no reciprocal pass deals with other mountains. As an employee with MHSC, you get a season pass and free lessons as well as some other discounts at food and shops. You can also get discounts on ski passes for family.
The closest other downhill resort is Falls Creek. It is a two hour drive and is accessible for days off work, but you would need a car.
International applicants are accepted at Mt Hotham and many of the staff each season come from overseas.
You will need to arrange your own working visa if you are coming from overseas before you are able to apply for a job. See Snow Jobs in Australia for further information on getting a working visa to Australia.
Living at Mt Hotham
As a seasonal employee, your only real option is to live in the Mt Hotham Village or in Dinner Plan. Harrietville is 45 minutes away and there is no bus for staff to get up onto the hill. You would need a car to live in Harrietville, but even then it would be a huge hassle everyday to get up, especially if you had to put chains on your car.
At the start of the season, a number of staff drive up from Melbourne to Harrietville and park their cars there for the season. People in town will sometimes let you park it at their place for about $80 for the season. Dinner Plain is closer to Hotham Heights and is an option for those really keen not to be in staff housing.
Most people who work for MHSC go into staff housing which is offered with a job. Staff housing includes both breakfast (7 times per week) and dinner (6 times per week), and you only have to supply your own lunch. This is another bonus of staff housing as it saves the hassle of cooking and gives you more ride time. Other jobs on the mountain have staff housing as well.
There are around 80 people in staff accommodation.
The staff accommodation is near the Blue Ribbon chair where there are two buildings – the Spiral Stairs and the Blue Ribbon. This is a 30 minute walk to the Summit Chair where the main village is but the bus is the best way to get around. There is a small supermarket at the General Store at the Big D which is only a few minutes walk away.
Staff accommodation has 2 – 4 people per room so there is not a lot of privacy.
There is also staff accommodation at Dinner Plain, 12km down the road. It is better to stay in Hotham if you like to be where the nightlife is.
There is now a staff newspaper, the Hotham Flurry Newspaper and you are able to see previous editions if you would like.
Private accommodation is very expensive unless you know someone. It will be around $5,000 up front for the season for an apartment or condo (per room).
If you are still keen, the Mt Hotham Real Estate section sometimes has seasonal listings (in the Arlberg in one or two bedroom places).
www.zirkyrealestate.com.au/ also has seasonal rental listings in the Victorian Alps including Mt Hotham, Falls Creek and Mt Buller.
Staff accommodation with MHSC is around $220 a week, including breakfast (7x per week) and dinner (6x per week). However, there is no internet, so you need to purchase a pre-paid wifi service before you arrive (via a USB stick). Telstra is the only provider that gives consistent coverage.
Bars and Nightlife at Mt Hotham
The General is the main pub, and there is usually something at Zirky’s as well, which is also in the main part of the village. Swindlers and Jack Frost are a couple of the other bars.
Tuesday night was darts nights. However, the town is pretty small and you get over the parties after a while.
Dinner Plain sometimes has something a bit different, for example some bands like to tour up here for a bit of change.
Around 60/40 blokes.
Mostly Australians, and a handful of Canadians and Americans.