Norway’s changing seasons offer a wide range of opportunities for those looking for seasonal winter jobs. Working at ski resorts, restaurants or leading ski tours in the stunning snow-covered landscape are just a few of the many seasonal winter jobs in Norway.
In this article, we will explore some of the best seasonal winter jobs in Norway and provide detailed information on how to find and apply for these positions, as well as all the practical information you need to know about moving to Norway for seasonal work.
Whether you’re looking for a fun way to spend your winter while earning some money, or looking for a long-term job in a country with a unique culture and incredible nature, Norway has something to offer you!
Types of seasonal winter jobs in Norway
Most of the seasonal winter jobs in Norway are tied to ski resorts in some way, but in contrast to what you might think, most of the jobs aren’t actually outside in the snow.
As a matter of fact, most of the seasonal winter jobs in Norway are in the service industry. This is because these ski resorts need a lot of service workers in the winter season, and tend to find foreign workers since most Norwegians prefer to have permanent work places.
Some of the needed seasonal winter jobs are positions like:
- Hotel receptionists.
- Waiters at restaurants.
- Chefs and other personnel at the restaurant kitchen.
- Cleaning staff.
- Mechanical workers that can fix stuff that breaks.
- Working in retail at on-site stores at ski towns and resorts.
These jobs are usually in high demand, but you might even be lucky and land yourself an “exotic” seasonal winter job like:
- Skiing instructor.
- Ski guide or tour guide.
- Driving a snow plow.
- Operate ski lifts.
The easiest jobs to get tend to be the ones like cleaning staff, receptionists, bartenders or waiters. You won’t need anything else than some prior work experience to get hired.
Positions like ski instructors or tour guides tend to be on the other end of the spectrum, with many people interested in a rather limited number of available positions, so it’s far more difficult to get hired to do these things.
How to apply for seasonal winter jobs in Norway
Before you can start your winter adventure in Norway, you will need a job offer. Most of the seasonal winter jobs in Norway are listed online, so it’s actually pretty easy to find a potential job.
When looking for most regular jobs in Norway, Finn.no is the way to go. However, many of the seasonal jobs are never listed on Finn, especially if they are actively targeting foreigners.
You might find some on Finn, and I urge you to search for the term “sesongmedarbeider” (or just click here) to find available seasonal winter jobs. Spin the text in Google Translate, then contact the employer and let them know that you wish to apply for the seasonal position.
Another website to check out is called Glassdoor. They have many different seasonal job listings, many of them tied to the winter season. I have never personally used this website, but I have heard that many foreign workers use it to find job offers.
Applying for the job
The next step after having found some potential jobs is to write a job application.
There’s nothing special about this compared to regular job applications in other countries, so just write a good application with your resume attached. Try to focus on what you can offer the employer, not what you hope to get out of your Norway experience.
You will likely have the interview over Zoom, Skype or another type of video chat service, and if all goes well, you might get a job offer.
You need a written job offer / contract to even be able to apply for a work residency, so you can’t physically come to Norway to apply for jobs (in most cases).
When to start looking for winter jobs
You will want to start looking for a seasonal winter job pretty early in the autumn, and we tend to start seeing job listings in August and September.
I would advise you to start applying as early as possible, and by October at the latest. Keep in mind that it takes a little while to not only get the job offer, but also to get the documents and permits you need to work in Norway (which we will be circling back to very soon in this article).
How to get the work visa to work a seasonal job in Norway
Most people will be free to accept seasonal jobs in Norway, as long as you meet the following 4 criteria:
- You are at least 18 years or older.
- You are from a country where you are likely to want to return to after having worked in Norway.
- You are able to pay the work visa application fee.
- You have a job offer for a seasonal type of work.
And that’s all you need. If you fit in all these 4 criteria, you can apply for a “Residence permits for work”, which will grant you the right to accept the job offer and come to Norway to work.
The application fee for the work visa is pretty expensive though, so keep that in mind. As of 2022/2023, the fee for work residency is 6,300 NOK, which is around $600 USD.
To actually apply, head to UDI’s seasonal worker visa site by clicking here, then follow their instructions.
The exact instructions will vary a bit depending on which country you are from, so we can’t give detailed information for this step. However, it’s actually not that difficult as long as you got your job offer document ready.
Some employers will get the work residency on your behalf
It’s possible for the employers to apply for a work residency and visa on your behalf if they are hiring you. Some employers do this, but not all.
In these cases, you usually don’t have to do anything by yourself after getting the job offer from your employer. This is obviously a pretty nice deal that will also make the application fee a bit cheaper.
Pros and cons of working a seasonal winter job in Norway
Getting a seasonal winter job in Norway is a unique experience where you can make some money while also doing something completely different for a winter, but it’s not all fun and games.
There are both big pros and cons to working in Norway as a seasonal worker, and we’re going to be taking a closer look at both of these to give you a realistic image of what you should expect when you come to Norway to work.
Pros of working a seasonal winter job in Norway
Let’s start with the fun stuff and list some of the best advantages of working in Norway as a seasonal worker for the winter season.
The chance to have a truly unique experience
Working a winter seasonal job in Norway is really something special. You get to experience the freezing cold (that can reach -25 ℃ at some point), the incredible nature during winter, and have easy (and often free) access to ski tracks.
There’s something really special about working at one of these ski resorts in a ski town in Norway, and there’s nothing quite like you. You are guaranteed to get a memory that will last you a lifetime!
Few other places will allow you to go skiing after you finish your shift for the day.
The opportunity to save money
One of the great things about working in Norway is that the average salary is much higher than in most countries, so most foreign workers will make much more money than they are used to or will be able to make in their home country.
You will likely be working from morning to late night, so you won’t have much free time to spend your money. This means that working a seasonal job in Norway can be a great way to save money up for later.
There are lots of people who work the winter season, then return home to their own country again after the end of the season. Then they keep repeating this year after year, and make a lot of money by essentially working only half the year.
Meeting new people from all over the world
Season workers tend to be a big mix of people from different cultures from all over the world, and it’s a great opportunity to meet new people. You will likely meet people from the United States, from our neighbor countries like Sweden and Denmark, and many people from countries in southern Europe.
You will get to form friendship with people from all over the world, and working at a ski resort of someplace like that is guaranteed to form great bonds with your coworkers.
The chance to experience Norway
Norway is a unique country with our amazing fjords, pristine mountains, huge wilderness areas and special culture, and working in Norway will give you a great opportunity to explore this incredible country on your days off.
Even though the distances between the popular tourist attractions are big in Norway, you will be able to get to some of the bucket list destinations if you have 2 days off work. This will be a cheap and effective way to explore the different parts of Norway without breaking bank to go on a 3 week holiday here.
A chance to learn new work skills
You are guaranteed to face new challenges when working your first seasonal job in Norway, and you will have several new work skills to bring back with you after spending a few months on the job.
From a professional point of view, spending the winter at a seasonal job is going to make you a much more attractive candidate for further jobs in service or winter sport industries.
Cons to working a seasonal winter job in Norway
There are also some cons to working in Norway as a seasonal worker in the winter. I don’t want these to be the focus of the article, but they are worth keeping in mind to give you a realistic view of what to expect when coming to Norway to work at a seasonal job.
You’re in for a short-term employment
No matter how good you are at your job, you are in for a short-term employment. Even if your employer would want to keep you for the rest of the season, it’s actually very difficult to upgrade your seasonal work residency to a permanent work residency.
It really depends a bit on which country you are from, but it’s an overall challenge.
But even if they could, you’re not likely to get a position that last after the end of the season. Once the ski season is over, the ski resorts and big ski towns are reduced to ghost towns with next to no guests until late autumn.
This means that you need to be prepared to travel back to your home country when the season ends, so it’s not a perfect opportunity for those of you who are more interested in a permanent move.
Fairly low pay compared to the rest of Norwegian workers
Even though the wage might look very decent in terms of money earned per hour, keep in mind that you will be living in Norway where everything is expensive.
And in Norwegian terms, the pay for these types of jobs tend to be on the low side.
This means that things like rent, buying food or entertainment will be very expensive, and can be a big chunk of your paycheck if you aren’t mindful of your spending habits.
It might not be as easy to save up as much money as you imagine when starting the job, especially if you are a person who enjoys having fun by going out for drinks and eating at restaurants.
Remote working locations
The ski resorts are obviously in pretty remote locations, and it can be a time consuming and challenging ordeal to get to a town or city.
The ski resort towns tend to be pretty highly visited during the entire winter season, but you might have the urge to get away from the non-stop ski party atmosphere of the town. However, getting to a real town or city can be challenging, requiring either a car or a long journey by bus.
If you feel the need to be in a big city often, then working at a ski resort might not be the best idea for you, unless you have a car ready or are willing to spend a lot of time and money to get to a more populated area.
Difficult to get to know and befriend Norwegians
Firstly, you are unlikely to get to know many Norwegian people, so you probably won’t get that authentic Norwegian experience.
The reason is simply because the places that tend to offer seasonal work tend to have 90 % or more foreign workers, so your co-workers will be from all over the world.
It’s very difficult to become friends with Norwegians, and it’s even more difficult when you are surrounded by non-Norwegians for the most part of the day.
But don’t worry, we do have some tips on how to make friends in Norway if you’re interested in that. It’s going to be a challenge even for the most extroverted people, but it’s a lot of fun if you’re up for the challenge.
You might be unlucky with the employer
Some seasonal work industries are known to have terrible work conditions where your basic work rights are not met. They are not common, but they’re out there.
The problem is that these businesses only hire foreigners who are unaware of their Norwegian work rights, so no one is complaining when they have to work unpaid overtime, don’t get paid the wage they are supposed to, work longer hours than they are legally allowed to, or otherwise are put in a harmful work environment.
Luckily, most employers follow the Norwegian law. But make sure to read up on your rights and know when to call Arbeidstilsynet to complain.
PS. some industries have a minimum wage, so make sure that you get paid at least this sum when signing your work contract.
As you can probably imagine, working at a ski resort or another type of seasonal winter job in Norway is going to be cold. If you’re from a warmer part of the world, you are going to be taken aback by just how cold it is!
You might think that working in -25 ℃ is going to be fine, but it’s just something else to actually be working in these conditions. Luckily, most of the actual jobs are inside for the most.
But after you’re done at work, you still need to deal with the cold for the rest of the day. Your apartment or house is going to be cold and needs heating, and it’s always a hassle to get your car warm when you’re driving to and from work.
Many of the seasonal winter jobs in Norway are at ski resorts high up in the mountains, and it’s going to be cold there all winter long.
Tips for finding and securing a seasonal winter job in Norway
This final part of the article is going to be giving some insider tips to actually finding and securing your seasonal winter job in Norway. There are going to be many applicants for the most popular positions, so you’re going to want to go the extra mile to secure the most interesting jobs.
1) Begin looking for work early
Don’t start looking for a job position too late! Many people start looking for work in October or even November, but the ones who are looking for workers are going to want to have everything ready a long time before the season actually begins.
This means that you should start looking for work and contacting potential employees in the late summer or early autumn. Doing this will make sure that you have a high chance of being employed and ready to begin work when the season begins.
2) Research companies in advance
Another tip is to research companies such as ski resorts that might hire you well in advance. Find out who to contact, and even feel free to give them a quick e-mail with some questions in advance of applying for the position.
Some ski resort towns to check out are:
All these places will have multiple ski resorts and companies that need seasonal workers, so that’s a good place to start looking.
3) Start building a network
Another important point is to try to network with people who are already working in the industry. Many of the jobs are getting filled before ever being posted because the companies hire the friends from the people who are already working there.
This means that it’s much easier to find a good job if you have a network of people who are already in the business of seasonal work in Norway, so try to get connected with some of these.
A good tip is to check out Facebook groups for foreign seasonal winter workers in Norway. Not only will this allow you to create a network, but they will also be able to give you some details on employers to avoid and give you additional inside information.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.