Tips for Working a Seasonal Summer Job in Lake Tahoe
Tips for Working a Seasonal Summer Job in Lake Tahoe
By: Kayla Anderson
When school ends and it’s time for summer break, one of the best places to escape the heat is to a mountain town that offers lots of outdoor activities and opportunities for fun. And situated between Northern California and Nevada’s western elbow is the perfect summertime destination called Lake Tahoe.
There are many reasons why people love to vacation here….at an elevation of 6,220 feet, Lake Tahoe averages 80-degree Fahrenheit temperatures during the day and it drops down to a comfortable 60 degrees at night. In the center of it all is a crystalline blue body of water that’s fun to paddleboard, parasail, or just go boating in.
With the influx of visitors that come into Tahoe every summer, local businesses must ramp up their staff to meet the demand. Therefore, hospitality jobs abound as employers try to fill positions at their summer retreat spots, everything from bringing on beach attendants to restaurant servers to blackjack dealers.
Along with being in beautiful Lake Tahoe, many employers offer their staff additional perks such as flexible hours, end of season parties, opportunities for development, and more.
So how do you get a coveted Tahoe summer job? Many companies find their seasonal employees through job fairs at nearby universities, through a recruiting service, or by posting on a job board. Therefore, if you’re ready to pull the plug and start your dream job in a fun relaxing mountain community, here are some tips to make your (working) Tahoe vacation a reality:
- Start with Coolworks.com
Most of the major tourism companies in Tahoe have jobs posted on CoolWorks, each with a multitude of positions open. Summer in Tahoe generally starts Memorial Day Weekend in late May and runs through Labor Day in early September. It’s an unspoken rule that everyone who is hired is expected to work Fourth of July, and don’t even think about going to Burning Man if you want to come back to Tahoe the following summer. Tahoe businesses try to hire their staff as early in the season as possible, but even as of mid-June companies like Aramark (Zephyr Cove Resort), Squaw Valley, the Tahoe Restaurant Group, and Vail Resorts (Kirkwood, Heavenly, and Northstar) were still hiring.
- Coming in from another country? Here are some good job websites for international workers
Due to seasonality of wintertime sports in Lake Tahoe, many local ski resorts have continuously brought in employees for three months or so a year on a J-1 student visa or through the H2B visa. However, many of those same employers have also extended their operations for the summer months and need employees for the summer season as well.
For instance, Homewood Mountain Resort on the West Shore hires employees who can work in mid-March at the ski resort and/or June-September for its summer positions (since it also operates a marina and the West Shore Café). When coming in from another country, these travel sponsors work with foreigners to help place them in jobs in Lake Tahoe:
- WorkUSE (for residents in Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Peru)
- CCUSA (the official sponsor of the US Department of State J-1 visa program)
- InterExchange (An American Summer Exchange program for Americans travelling abroad or within destination areas inside the U.S.)
- CIEE (a nonprofit study abroad program that works in North America, Africa, Middle East, Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe)
- Cultural Homestay International (CHI)– Also a United States J-1 visa sponsor, CHI works with families, high school, and university students from all over the world to provide life-changing experiences
- Resources for people who live within the U.S.
If you live in the United States and are simply looking for a change of scenery for a summer, starting your Tahoe job hunt on CoolWorks is a good start but you can also just apply to a company directly.
Many of the bigger companies also offer opportunities of advancement and possible relocation- many of the South Shore casinos have Las Vegas affiliates and the Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, and Destination Hotels have properties all over the world.
Along with the above hotels and casinos, smaller places such as the Tahoe Biltmore, Crystal Bay Casino, Mourelatos Lakeshore Resort, and GarWoods are known to have mass job openings as summer comes around. These types of hospitality jobs are also often found on Craigslist or Indeed.
A Note About Housing and Accommodations
It’s no secret that finding housing in Lake Tahoe can be challenging, but in my experience, once I’ve gotten a job then my employer has offered some insight as to what options are available. Every employer seems to handle accommodations differently, but when they can provide housing then they are usually quick to let you know.
For instance, Homewood and Kirkwood offers housing to first-time workers and travelling students with public transportation available, but many others require you to do your own research to see what’s out there. CoolWorks provides a section in their job descriptions about what the room and board status is, but it’s also good to go on Craigslist or some of the Facebook Tahoe housing threads to see what’s out there. Be prepared to find accommodations on your own, and then be pleasantly surprised when things work themselves out.
After a Summer (or a Winter) in Tahoe, You’ll Never Want to Leave
I moved to Lake Tahoe in December 2006 to work as a lift operator at Diamond Peak Ski Resort for a winter season and then never left. I eventually moved my way up into a marketing position there, then worked at Mt. Rose, and created a permanent life here. But it was being a lift operator where I made friends from all around the world and fell in love with the mountain lifestyle. Tahoe is a great place to be if you like fresh air and room to roam, and after a couple of months you’ll probably find that you won’t want to leave.