Best/Worst Seasonal Gigs?

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#1
My first experience really traveling was going to Alaska last summer after leaving a factory gig in Ohio. I worked in the Denali State Park for the Holland-America Princess Cruise Lines at a wilderness lodge in the middle of nowhere. I absolutely LOVED it! The pay was good and even after spending a significant amount of each paycheck on craft beer and weed I still had enough saved up to tide me over for about 5 weeks AND pay for a ticket to my next destination, Colorado. I loved working in Alaska and I loved the company; everyone from the guests to the staff to the management was incredible (I worked in two different positions while there; as a luggage handling lead and then as a guest services agent. The general manager himself once came out to help us deliver luggage on a particularly busy day, and when shit got hairy at the front desk he would jump in to help book excursions and guest questions with the rest of us). Colorado on the other hand turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. I worked at a ski resort called Copper Mountain near the town of Frisco, and it was ate-up from the floor-up. Management was incompetent, guests were rude, and they charged more for rent than Alaska only unlike the great north, meals were not included. Most of us resorted to second jobs (though I DID manage to hone my dumpster diving at the local whole foods. Pre-cooked quinoa & Spanish corn salad still in the plastic container was a common find; once I managed to score a case of green tea in a can). Some of my coworkers there were amazing, but others sucked ass but were met with zero repercussions. The BEST benefit of that place was the fact that since management didn't care enough to audit anything I was able to hook up all my friends with free lift-tickets or rentals at the guest services desk, and those who worked elsewhere on the resort were able to hook me up with some pretty gnarly perks as well (god bless my bartender room mate) All-in-all though, Copper Mountain turned out to be a MASSIVE letdown and it's left a bad taste in my mouth for Colorado as a whole (I know it's not fair to judge an entire state on one place, but I hope you'll forgive me for being human). I'm currently sitting in a Greyhound and heading to the Grand Canyon to work for a hotel in the south rim as a busser and a bar-back for a bit before I head to either Alaska again or down to Mexico for a few months. The main point of my post is this: Where are some of the best seasonal or temporary jobs you've worked, and where would you recommend people stay away from? And why?
 

Matt Derrick

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#2
I've only worked one of those national parks jobs and it was at yellowstone. I feel like i really lucked out since the job was easy, and my boss was awesome. I was working for deleware north companies which is one of the biggest companies for doing consessions/souvenier crap in national parks. i've heard a lot of horror stories from people working at zanterra, seems they pay a lot less and their amenities aren't nearly as good.

my experience may not be typical, since @MolotovMocktail went and did yellowstone as well but didn't have nearly as much fun as i did (i think, correct me if im wrong MM). anyways, seems like coolworks and backdoorjobs are the places to go for those kinds of things.

i almost took the job in the grand canyon, but went for yellowstone... i'd be curious to hear what your experience there ends up being like in case i want to apply over there in the future.
 

Geraldo

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Worst seasonal job was kayak handler. hands down
 

Coywolf

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I'll add one vote for working for the Park Service. Fuck the concessionaires, the NPS is the way to go. Better pay too.
 
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@Matt Derrick I turned down a gig with Xanterra for the exact reasons you listed. I've heard a lot of horror stories coming out of there! I'm going to be working for a Grand Western hotel for a few months instead. Xanterra offered better pay but the lodging sounded pretty craptastic (4 dudes to a room, 2 bunk beds). I'm much more excited to see how the hotel thing pans out. And I actually talked to some people at Delaware North as well before deciding on Arizona, but Yellowstone would take me further from my girlfriend than I am already (she's in northern Mexico). They seemed like nice enough people though; I've never talked to anyone who's actually worked for em though.
 

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I'll add one vote for working for the Park Service. Fuck the concessionaires, the NPS is the way to go. Better pay too.
yeah i met some NPS people while out there and they seemed to have some killer gigs, mostly just driving around make sure people didn't fuck up the park. i'd really like to get a job like that.

Oh, and @Matt Derrick did you hit up those employee pubs in Yellowstone? Talk about a good time....girls literally stripping on the tables....so much fun.
i didn't really frequent any of the bars inside the park, mostly just the ones in the town i was living in while working there (west yellowstone, mt) definitely had a lot of good times at those bars tho.

They seemed like nice enough people though; I've never talked to anyone who's actually worked for em though.
while i had a good experience and finished out the season no problem, i suspect i've been blackballed from DNC for some pretty silly reasons that would be difficult to summarize in a paragraph here. short version is that i got in some pretty big arguments with a couple of coworkers that were saying some super racist shit. second, DNC got all pissy about the fact that I let a friend of mine crash in my school bus for two nights parked outside the apartments they were renting us.

so, while subsidized rent is great, having your employer as your landlord isn't; i would avoid any situations like that if possible.

i sent in some applications the next two summers afterwards and never heard anything, hence my suspicion. anyways, turns out if you ever decide to go out that way, there's hella jobs in that tiny ass town and they all pay waaaay more than DNC, so really you're better off not working for the park at all if possible.

probably not typical of all national parks experiences, so YMMV.
 

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