If you want to get started as a seasonal worker in Banff National Park, you are almost guaranteed to work in the tourism industry, one way or another. What jobs are most common? And when is the best time to try to find a job?
Banff is the ideal place for seasonal work. Because unlike many other national parks, Banff has two high seasons: summer and winter. And both seasons last quite a long time. That means it’s busy most of the year. It also means that there’s a lot of seasonal work in most months and that there are different types of seasonal work.
Work in Your Preferred Season
When do you prefer to work? In the summer season, or rather in the winter season? In both seasons, there is an abundance of personnel in demand. It gives you the luxury of looking for work in Banff in your favorite season.
This partly has consequences for the type of work you can do. In the winter there is a lot of ski-related work, in the summer hotels and stores have the greatest need for staff. Whatever your preference, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find work. Job openings are being posted all the time.
What Does Working in Banff Entail?
Seasonal work in Banff National Park doesn’t usually require special training. As such, most jobs are – let’s face it – not your dream job. At the same time, they allow you to live a life amidst the breathtaking nature of the Rocky Mountains. And that is worth a lot. If not everything. Believe me, I speak from experience.
In Canada, people are usually paid by the hour (instead of being paid on a fixed monthly salary). Even time clocks are still used in some places. This means that if you work fewer hours than expected, you get paid less. The reverse also applies: you get paid for overtime. As is common in Europe, time off in lieu is quite rare in Canada.
Want to know how to prepare for a temporary job in Banff? Click the link. You’ll find lots of useful information.
What Kind of Work?
Below you’ll find an overview of the most common jobs in Banff National Park. In 2020 (the last available figure), the average hourly wage was CAD 18.97. The salary you can expect will vary from one job to the next, but don’t expect significant differences. By and large, hourly wages are between CAD 15 and CAD 20.
- Employee (fast food) restaurant
- Hotel employee (various functions)
- Shop assistant
- Ski lift attendant
If you want more general information about seasonal work in Banff National Park, what to expect, and what to look out for, this comprehensive post about how to find work in Banff is highly recommended. You’ll read all about the process, from applying for a work permit to finding work and staff accommodation.
Two High Seasons
Banff has two high seasons, summer and winter. Summer offerings are by far the greatest because during this season most activities are held, and most tourists visit the park. At the same time, winter is also an excellent season for seasonal work. The types of jobs on offer are different and, in many cases, much more winter-related. Ideal for those who love skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities.
For both seasons and for all jobs – as it goes in tourist areas – knowledge of a foreign language is a big plus. Knowledge of French and German is definitely a plus, but also Japanese because many Japanese visit the park, mainly in the summer.
Job with Staff Accommodation
Because Banff National Park is dependent on seasonal workers, there are plenty of facilities for staff. You can often get staff accommodation through your employer, for example. Make sure you know in advance whether your job comes with it or not. And if not, what your alternatives are and what you can afford. If you want to know all the ins and outs of staff accommodation in Banff and Lake Louise, click the link.
By the way, don’t stare blindly at work in the park. In Canmore there are also plenty of temporary positions to be found during the summer and winter seasons. Canmore is less than a half-hour drive from Banff Town, and it is larger than Banff. So in your free time, there is also plenty to do.
Work in the Summer
The summer provides you with the most extensive choice of jobs because of the ample supply of work. It goes without saying that park entrepreneurs mainly look for hotel staff, restaurant staff, and store staff.
In summer, tourists from all over the world flood the park. A large proportion of them come from Japan. Therefore, in particular, souvenir stores have a great need for staff who can speak Japanese. Because Japanese tourists usually do not speak English, they move around in groups led by a Japanese guide. They also make massive purchases in souvenir stores as a group in the process.
You can often get staff accommodation through your employer
Applying for a Job at One of the Fairmont Hotels
The largest employer in the park is Fairmont. It operates the Banff (Banff Springs) and Lake Louise (Château Lake Louise) hotels. Together they account for about 2200 jobs. If you want to be considered for one of the many positions that these hotels offer, you can apply online. For both the Banff Springs Hotel and Château Lake Louise, you can apply through this website.
Work in the Winter
If you want to do seasonal work in the winter, you are primarily dependent on work in the winter sports industry of course. In Banff National Park, you can work at three ski resorts: Lake Louise, Mount Norquay, and Sunshine Village.
Typical work is elevator attendant, ski or snowboard instructor – if you have the proper papers – and of course work as an employee in a restaurant and hotel. Shop assistants are also hired in winter, but the supply is less because it is less crowded in winter than in summer, despite the winter sports season.
A disadvantage of winter sports-related work is that you’re more bound to the winter sports area of your employer. Especially if you live in the staff accommodation at the ski slopes. If you stay there, you are tied to the ski slope of your job because the ski areas near Banff (Sunshine Village and Mt Norquay) and Lake Louise (Lake Louise Ski Resort) are outside the urban area.
Finding a job on the resorts with staff accommodation in Banff or Lake Louise is a lot better as far as your (social) life outside your working hours is concerned. Free shuttle bus services are available for all ski resorts to take you to the slopes and back to Banff, Canmore (only at Sunshine Village), and Lake Louise.
Applying for a Job at One of the Ski Resorts
Sunshine Village: you can only apply for a job through the Sunshine Village website. You must create an account for this. Once you have applied, you must provide two positive references from previous employers to get hired.
Mount Norquay: You can email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to apply for a specific job on the Mount Norquay website, you can email your cover letter and resume to email@example.com.
Lake Louise: applying is done exclusively through the website of Lake Louise Ski Resort.
Want to know what mistakes Banff employees should avoid? Click the link to find out!