Work A Ski Season in Selwyn
Discover information on working a ski season in Selwyn and browse winter jobs.Australia
Unfortunately, Selwyn ski area was a victim of the 2020 Australian bushfires and was burnt down. The ski area is not opening again until at least 2021.
Selwyn Ski Resort
Selwyn is about 150km (one and a half to two hours’ drive) from Canberra, Australia, in the Kosciusko National Park on the northern side of the Snowy Mountains.
The closest town to the mountain is Adaminaby, about 35 minutes (45 kilometres) from the resort, while the town of Cooma is around 100km away.
Selwyn is the closest downhill resort to Sydney. The other downhill resorts in New South Wales – Perisher, Thredbo and Charlotte Pass – are around 160km away from Selwyn, or two hours’ drive.
You will likely visit these if you work a season at Selwyn as Perisher and Thredbo, at least, are much bigger and have much more in the way of challenging terrain.
Getting to Selwyn Snowfields
The easiest route for public transport is Canberra – Cooma – Adaminaby. Adaminaby is where the staff live. Selwyn is approximately. 45 kilometres from Adaminaby. From Canberra, you take the Monaro Hwy until just after Cooma where you take the turn-off to the Snowy Mountains Hwy which takes you to Selwyn.
Buses operate regularly form Sydney and Canberra to Cooma.
- Murrays Buses runs regular services from Canberra and Sydney to Cooma www.murrays.com.au
- Transborder Coaches www.transborder.com.au
- Greyhound buses www.greyhound.com.au
You could also take the train through the countryside with the NSW Country Link www.countrylink.info
From Cooma, there is only a bus to Adaminaby, which is also the school bus. It only runs Monday – Friday (school days). There is a service in the morning at 6.50am and the only other service from Cooma is at 3.20pm. Visit www.snowliner.com.au for more details.
For those arriving from overseas, you should arrive at either Sydney or Canberra Airport and make your way from there to Cooma to catch the Snowliner bus. Unfortunately, the small internal flights that used to fly to Cooma through Brindabella airlines no longer exist as the airline went into receivership in December 2013.
Transport to Work
Most staff organize car pools from Adaminaby to get to work and in order to share fuel costs. This is where the Facebook page is really useful for getting in touch with other staff before arrival to organize lifts. $10 is the recommended ‘donation’ for a return trip.
If you are bringing your own car up to Selwyn you will need to purchase a pass for the National Park. Selwyn staff can purchase a discount seasonal park pass entry for $38. This must be purchased during your first week at Selwyn, or your vehicle will be fined.
You will find the application form as an attachment along with the season park entry pass. You will need to bring your car registration papers to apply for the park pass.
There is also a staff bus which does a return trip each day from Adaminaby to Selwyn. Staff who elect to catch the bus will be committed to doing so for the season. The cost is around $85 per week.
Bringing your Own Car
2WD vehicles must now carry chains while driving in the National Park. These can be purchased in Cooma or Adaminaby. Make sure the store gives you the correct size and how to use them. It is also recommended that 4WD carry chains. Further details can be obtained from NSW RMS and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service www.environment.nsw.gov.au
It is also essential that you have anti-freeze in your car radiator to prevent it from freezing. You should also carry extra jackets/blankets in your car in case you breakdown or come across an accident.
The Terrain at Selwyn
Selwyn is a learn-to-ski resort with teaching terrain. It is geared towards beginners and those looking to gain the confidence to progress through to intermediate runs.
All the runs on the mountain are quite gentle apart from the Racecourse run down the Racecourse T-bar which is a steeper on-piste run.
In terms of skiable terrain, it is much smaller than Thredbo and Perisher, but is about the same size as Charlotte Pass. Anyone who is better than a beginner level will want to spend a bit of time during the season on days off at Perisher and Thredbo.
There is a small terrain park at Selwyn which is aimed mostly beginners working on learning park skills. There is also cross country ski trail access around Selwyn.
There is also the opportunity to do some great cross country skiing and snow shoeing right from the boundary of the resort.
- Vertical: 122 metres (400 ft)
- Top elevation: 1,614 metres
- Base elevation: 1,492 metres
- Skiable area: 45 hectares (110 acres)
- 10 lifts (including 2 T-bars, 2 Pomas, 2 Chairlifts and several platters)
How to Get a Job at Selwyn
Selwyn is a small resort which employs about 100 people each winter. This creates a friendly vibe among the staff and a good sense of camaraderie.
Applications open in February each year. The resort recruits staff for Snow Sports School, Lift Operations, Snow World Children’s Ski School, Ski Hire, the Café and Guest Services.
The best way to apply is though the Selwyn web site www.selwynsnow.com.au/jobs, though the resort may take resumes in person if you are already in the area.
Applicants are required to participate in an online interview and provide work reference checks. All wages are based on the Alpine Resort Award 2010 which means you will earn around $18.82 an hour for entry level jobs.
Selwyn is a great hill for those who like working at family oriented resorts and would like a less intense season than at the bigger, commercial resorts. It has friendly locals and a very laid back atmosphere. However, it is not for those who are after big nightlife or like charging on the hill. Selwyn is much more about working in a peaceful alpine environment.
For instructors in particular, the learner skiers and riders are generally very friendly due to the greater numbers of beginner/intermediate clientele.
Perks and Benefits
All staff at the resort receive a free season pass. The pass also gets you discounts in some shops in Adaminaby and Cooma. Staff gets a discount at the resort cafeteria, retail store and ski hire. Other perks include free and low cost staff nights, such as night skiing, BBQs and games nights.
Snow and Weather
The average winter temperatures are about 0c to -10c and it does not get much colder than that at Selwyn. As with all resorts in Australia, it comes down a little to the luck of the season and whether the snow decides to fall or not. On a good year there can be plenty of snow. The resort is able to rely on snow making which can keep the basic four runs open.
The season runs from the Queen’s birthday weekend in June until September. Peak season is in August.
Where the Staff Come From
Selwyn employs about 50% Australians and 50% international staff.
If you are not from either Australia or New Zealand, you should hold a valid working holiday visa for Australia. Work a Season in Australia has more details on getting a visa to work in Australia.
Selwyn encourages applications from foreigners who have a valid working visa for Australia. Once you have a valid working permit, you are able to apply for a job as any Australian would.
Tips for Working at Selwyn
As with all jobs when travelling – have enough money! The season can start off slowly and there may not be an abundance of work available when you first arrive.
Plan ahead and make sure you have some extra money for food, accommodation and deposits. It is also good to remember that the season will have a slowdown period at the end and it would be good to have some savings to help at this end too.
Getting a Place to Live for the Season
There is no staff housing at Selwyn. The resort compiles a list of available housing in the area and local real estate agents for staff to contact. Most staff will be living in Adaminaby/Anglers Reach/Old Adaminaby. Adaminaby is 35 minutes from Cooma and then a further 35 minutes to Selwyn Snowfields. Adaminaby is 1 ½ hours from Canberra.
Nightlife in Adaminaby
Adaminaby is a small country town with two main places to go out in town – the pub and the bowling club. The nightlife is therefore understandably small and relaxed. While the locals are very friendly and chatty, don’t expect it to compare to the larger nightlife in Jindabyne (base town of Perisher and Thredbo).
Full Moon Night Skiing for the staff is one of the best events of the season for staff, which is where Selwyn opens up the resort once or twice a season exclusively for staff. Also, fitness, shared meals and games night are regular weekly events for the staff who live in Adaminaby.
7kms away lies Kiandra, the place where skiing began in Australia during the Kiandra Gold Rush in the 1860s. Now a skeleton of the once booming town, Kiandra is arguably the birthplace of the world’s first ski club, the Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club.
Back then skis were made out of primitive wooden planks and the only way down the hill was straight down! Speed control was achieved by holding a long pole between your legs and sitting on it so it dug into the snow and acted like a brake and there were no lifts to carry you back to the top after a run.
The Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club operated for the next century. A major turning point for the club was when the president of the day, Peter Fountain, obtained the blue prints for a Mueller t-bar and had it manufactured in 1957 by a Newcastle firm by the name of James Engineering. The t-bar was installed on Township Hill at Kiandra and was the first t-bar in Australia and one of the only ones to this day to be built by an Australian company.
Adaminaby is the home of the Big Trout and the town of Adaminaby was relocated from its original site ‘Old Adaminaby’ to its current site in the 1950s when Lake Eucumbene was built and the area was flooded. The area has great fishing and is the home to wild horses called Brumbies.
Selwyn is the only family owned and operated resort in Australia.