Is This the Best Job in the World?

Jesse | | Featured ArticleFeatured Article
swiss liftie
This chairlift operator’s office sits 7,000 feet above ground in the Swiss Alps. Image: Twitter

Brought to you by Monarch Mountain

Skiing makes the world go-’round… and lifties make the chairlifts go ’round. Lift operators, or lifties, are some of the coolest people on the mountain and work in one of the most awesome positions in the job market. Whether the liftie works at a smaller, local mountain or a more commercialized mountain, they are guaranteed to interact with countless skiers and snowboarders every day and receive sick benefits.

Arguably, the best part of being a liftie is getting to ride for free. Most ski areas offer their lifties a complimentary season pass, allowing them to ride gratis on their days off or to take a few runs between shifts. Whether it is on a lunch break or a day off, lifties will always find a time to shred. Generally, lifties get to learn the runs, terrain, and unique kinks of their mountain quicker than anyone, and on this same note, they have a great commute to work. From their sunrise drive to the mountain to riding fresh tracks to open up their specific lift for the day, lifties get to see the mountains in their prime form and often-times get to ride the powder before anyone else.

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What would pow-days be like without the help of our beloved lifties? Credit: Monarch Mountain

Another great part of the job is getting to be a first-hand witness of local progression. Over time, lifties get to see their respective ski areas make upgrades to their lifts, terrain, and overall demeanor. Similarly, lifties get to see the same locals return to their mountains and progress from basic fundamentals, to learning how to turn and carve, to full-on freestyle riding, all while being stationed in the beautiful, snowy outdoors.

Specifically, at Monarch Mountain in Colorado, the lifties receive a variety of remarkable benefits. According to their employment page, Monarch employees receive a free season pass, access to pro deals, one free ski or snowboard lesson, complimentary lift tickets for friends/family, free and discounted lift tickets to other Colorado ski areas, and discounts on rentals and retail. Other benefits include an “awesome work environment, meeting all sorts of new and groovy people, and eligibility to apply for emergency financial assistance from Monarch Community Outreach.” Monarch truly embodies everything about what it means to appreciate your employees.

One of the biggest myths surrounding the liftie position is that it is a boring job, however, this could not be any less true. Admiring mother nature, interacting with guests, and creating artwork in the snow are only some of the lifties’ favorite activities, and they are sure to always be occupied. Whiteboards near the lifts are filled with customized snow reports, riddles, jokes, and even prizes to keep the guests happy and the lifties entertained. Simply put, guests are looking to have a great time when they come to ski resorts, and lifties are a crucial part, and the motor, of ensuring that this can happen.

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Star Wars snow-art created by the lifties at Monarch Mountain, CO! (BB-8, R2-D2, and Grogu from left to right for the Star Wars nerds!) Credit: Monarch Mountain

To be a liftie means to work at a ski resort, and to work at a ski resort means to join a family. Everyone who works at a ski area is there for the same reason: either they love riding, they love the mountains and outdoors, or they simply want to spread the joy that comes with riding skis or a snowboard. On a typical day, lifties get to not only interact with the mountain’s guests, but the patrollers, ticket scanners, instructors, supervisors, and the mountain safety team as well. Work is supposed to be as enjoyable as it is productive, and the best way to guarantee this is by joining a family.

There are valid reasons why lifties tend to work in the mountains for years at a time rather than moving around the job market. The perks, powder, and atmosphere alone are enough of a reason to sign up. At Monarch Mountain, one liftie even said, “we have more fun than anybody on this mountain … we try to make the work and fun go together so that way it is not just a job, but an experience“.

“Monarch: Home of the friendliest, happiest lifties in Colorado!” Credit: Monarch Mountain

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2 thoughts on “Is This the Best Job in the World?

  1. I’ve been to a lot of ski lifts in the alps where the lifties just sat inside while you load yourself. We loved it.

  2. I just wish that the high speed lifts were designed a bit more for the liftie – quieter (exposure to that level of noise for long periods will result in hearing loss), better lighting, overhang to protect from snow sliding off (and drips), place for tools, integrated speakers for playing music, big thermometer and clock.

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