XanterraJobs connects workers with full and part-time jobs in national parks and resorts
Expected pay: minimum wage + subsidized housing and meals
Commissions & fees: NA
Where: Select states
Requirements: Vary by position
What is XanterraJobs?
XanterraJobs is a site to find seasonal work in a variety of resorts and national parks, mainly in western states. The pay starts at minimum wage, but you can also get bonuses and overtime.
How it works
If you’re interested in seasonal work in national parks, you sign up and create a profile that tells a little bit about yourself and your experience. After that, you can search the site for open jobs in the nine National Parks that Xanterra staffs. These include Yellowstone, Glacier, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Rocky Mountain and Zion.
The jobs themselves are pretty standard. You could work as part of the kitchen staff, cleaning or laundry crew, or work as a receptionist or desk clerk. However, because most of the jobs in hospitality involve cleaning, serving, cooking, supervising activities or working on a reception desk, you should expect that you’ll need to be healthy enough to spend a good part of the day standing and walking.
You apply to the jobs that interest you in the locations that you find most compelling. Some jobs are hourly; some permanent.
Full and part-time
Xanterra hires both full-time and part-time workers. For full-time staff, it’s looking for those willing to work at least 40 hours a week. And the company will pay overtime at time-and-a-half, if you exceed the 40 hours. By the way, working more than 40 hours a week is highly likely during the summer’s peak season. That’s a frequent complaint from workers, who say peak seasons can be exhausting.
Part-timers are asked to commit to at least 20 hours per week.
Your pay is set by position and experience. However, it’s never less than minimum wage. There’s also an end-of-the-season bonus that can amount to as much as $1,000.
Housing & meals
Xanteralso offers a laundry-list of perks, such as subsidized housing and food. You will have to pay something, but it’s often less than $100 per month for a dorm-style room and roughly $325 per month for three cafeteria meals per day.
These are not luxurious accommodations nor is the food gourmet. But if you don’t mind roughing it, you get to partake in park activities, such as horseback riding or taking a boat on the lake, during your time off for free. (Other park visitors pay hundreds of dollars for the same activities.) You also get low-cost medical care ($16 per two-week pay period) for a plan that pays everything but a $15 deductible.
Jobs generally start in April and end in October. The job requirements are things like “have a positive attitude.” In other words, you don’t generally don’t need anything but life skills, such as the ability to carry a plate or make a bed. Xanterra says it will favor those who can work through the entire season. For this reason, the company courts active retirees.
Xanterra gets a lot of complaints from workers, who say that overtime is not voluntary and the work can be grueling. If this kind of work appeals to you, but you want to check out employers that may be more work/life friendly, check out CoolWorks, VagaJobs and SeasonWorkers.
What their workers say: (from Glassdoor)
I really enjoy living in a National Park, and working for a private concessionaire is the only way to do it besides NPS. Xanterra is also quite generous with promotions as long as you work hard and stick around, so it’s a great way to build your resume. But this company does not pay well, and most people that work here also have to pay for dorm-style housing and a cafeteria meal plan. HR plays favorites, and a lot of problems go unaddressed because of this. Partying and underage drinking happens way too frequently. Dealing with tourists all the time can also become exhausting during the busy season.
The best part about working for Xanterra is the location – Yellowstone! But the hours are unpredictable and you may only get one day off a week. Not much time to enjoy where you live.
Beautiful scenery, long hours
Great opportunities to grow in the hospitality industry due to cross training. Stay there long enough or even for a short time and the community becomes your family. Discounts at local restaurants as well as heavily discounted employee meals. Great place to work and save money whether you’re permanent, seasonal, or International Student. On the other hand, the Internet service is pretty bad. Housing is also pretty bad, especially for year round employees. Small cramped dorm rooms. Apartments available to management and occasionally hourly employees. People that have been there for years can be a bit cynical which rubs off on others.
Beautiful scenery, quiet lifestyle and a great place to escape from the real world….But horrible living conditions, food options and slave wages.
Opportunities to live in amazing places, meet amazing people (both your coworkers from all over the world and guests from all over the world), and gain professional hospitality experience. But living and working in such a remote location with limited housing makes it hard to be over-staffed so you definitely work hard! Though, I feel like this just solidifies my work ethic and usually those who succeed greatest are those who don’t like to be bored or stand around, they enjoy being busy and picking up a multitude of responsibilities.
You get to live in a national park and meet people from around the world. When all the international people and the college students leave, they make you work 12 hour days, making beds and washing dishes. If you don’t have a car there is no way to explore the park, because there’s no transportation within it.
The seasonal position offers a wonderful experience in one of the most beautiful places in the world. You’ll be surrounded by people who all share a common interest/mentality and there are many ways you can grow from this experience. That said, the job is exhausting. They had me washing dishes for 12 hour shifts when I first got out there and it was back-breaking work. I cried a bit, almost left. But then I got moved to the employee dining room serving food/washing considerably less dishes. My shifts started mostly at 4:30 in the morning but I grew to like it as it meant I could get out around 2 and spend the rest of my day chillin in the great outdoors. My advice is to apply as a server or a gift shop worker or as a painter or apply to work at the campground.
No time off
I worked for almost 3 weeks at Xanterra this summer. I was not allowed to take a day off the entire time. Seriously. Then, after working 2+ weeks straight (an average of 7.5 hours per day), I got very ill. When I had to take a sick day, my manager flipped out and ridiculed me about it. You pay $100 per week for the dorm and meals at the Employee Dining Room (EDR) This is not worth it. Work closer to home and you will make way more money. I love being away at my university, but three weeks at Xanterra made me miserable because of the stress and isolation.