Ski Slope Planner

Design and build ski trails.
picture of Ski Slope Planner

Quick Stats

Very Good

Salary Range
$51,000 – $119,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Ski Slope Planners do?

Super smooth and superbly straight, pristinely white and perfectly powder-packed, the best ski slopes look like they were made for skiing. And, of course, they were. Not by God or Mother Nature, but rather by a Ski Slope Planner.

As a Ski Slope Planner — also known as a Ski Area Designer or Mountain Planner — you design and build ski slopes. Usually employed by an architecture, engineering, or design firm that specializes in ski resort design, you typically work under the direction of a Mountain Resort Designer as part of a team that’s also designing a resort’s lodge, hotel, restaurants, and other components.

Although they look simple enough — they’re just mountainsides dressed up with snow and ski lifts — ski slopes are actually quite complex. You start a job with a site feasibility study and GPS survey, which helps you choose the best location for slopes based on factors such as safety, environment, accessibility, and sport. Once you’ve picked a site, it’s then your responsibility as the Ski Slope Planner to manage the process of choosing lift and trail locations, modifying ski trail grading and terrain, constructing ski lifts and infrastructure, designing terrain parks and halfpipes, and building mountain and base facilities.

A Civil Engineer by training, you also act as an onsite Project Manager and Supervisor, personally coordinating the scheduling, resources, and execution of ski slope construction. That includes tasks such as trail clearing, slope contouring, and lift grading.

Of course, the best part of your job isn’t designing ski slopes. It’s skiing down them when they’re done!

Should I be a Ski Slope Planner?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.

  • Also known as: Mountain Planner, Plans Examiner, Ski Area Designer

    How to become a Ski Slope Planner

    Most Ski Slope Planners have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaa9dh&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2886%25%29|master%27s+%285%25%29|doctorate+%2810%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,86
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