Former Goulburn Valley girl reflects on season at Mt Buller

By Tara Whitsed

When Tegan Woods’ two-year holiday visa to the UK expired, she was looking for something exciting to come back home to.

The former Tallygaroopna woman said she had worked for multiple agencies in teaching, hospitality and customer service during her time in London.

Having a brother who had worked as a ski instructor for 10 years, Ms Woods said she knew a seasonal stint at a snow resort was for her, starting at the beginning of winter last year.

“I thought I would take a leaf out of his book and run away to the snow,” she said.

Now working her second season at Mt Buller, Ms Woods said she was employed at Breathtaker Hotel & Spa as their events and marketing co-ordinator and guest services agent.

“I studied event and tourism management at university, so a snow resort definitely falls in my realm,” she said.

Growing up in the Goulburn Valley, Ms Woods said she attended primary school at Tallygaroopna before moving on to Wanganui Park Secondary College.

“I am incredibly privileged to have grown up in the GV,” she said.

“I truly had the best schooling experience and sing my teachers' praises everywhere in the world I go.

“I've discovered how rare it is to find teachers who are able to transform their passion and care for students' learning into effective teaching.

“I also discovered that I have had so many incredible teachers along the way.”

Ms Woods recommended trying a season working in the snow for those who have grown up with the lifestyle, as well as people who are new to it.

“There are so many ways to get involved, so just be open-minded to possible opportunities,” she said.

“A lot of people who work up here have never touched the snow before. Some of them don't like it and that's fine, but most fall in love.

“You find that you can learn to ski or snowboard quite fast when you're living on the mountain and can put the time into learning almost daily.”

But Ms Woods did not sugarcoat the expense of living at a snow resort.

“Seasonal communities like Buller only have three to four months to make their yearly income in a rural alpine environment, which means things don't come cheap,” she said.

“Unfortunately the price tag generally means front-of-house and customer service staff up here deal with their fair share of disgruntled customers.”

But Ms Woods said there had been so many highlights to the experience.

“The highlight of living in a seasonal destination is the community — everyone is connected,” she said.

“People understand how their work contributes to guest experiences and the mountain as a whole.

“The highlight of living at the snow is skiing — I love being able to go riding for a couple of hours then quickly change into my work gear and clock on for the day.

“Then on my day off I can do laps of the mountain, stopping in for a drink wherever suits. It's a hard life, but someone's got to live it.”

And after spending two seasons at Mt Buller, Ms Woods said she was definitely keen to do it all again next winter.

“I'm looking into managing a lodge up here while also maintaining the events and marketing side of my position at Breathtaker,” she said.

“I'm heading into festival season over summer — currently applying to work on some key festivals around Victoria such as St Kilda Festival in Melbourne.

“I'll also be catching up with all the friends I haven't seen over winter.”