General Staff Information/ Full-time and Summer
Bearskin Lodge employs about 8 year round staff members and about 5 – 8 seasonal staff members in the summer. Staff work about 30 to 40 hours per week. Long-term employment at Bearskin is possible for the right person. All our staff members are required to be flexible and have cross training in other areas than their main job. We all help out when and where it’s needed.
Staff housing offers full kitchen and bathroom facilities. Equipment is available free for staff to use and includes canoes, fishing boats (you pay for the gas), staff dock, bikes, cross country skies, snowshoes, sauna, etc. Wireless internet (via satellite, so there are bandwidth limitations ) is available for a small monthly charge. You may arrange to pay for a phone in your housing if you choose. Cell phones do not work here, nor is wifi phone service an option right now.
What is our staff like? What is it like to live here?
Bearskin employees tend to be healthy people who love the opportunity to live so close to the outdoors. We have a non-smoking environment; housing is non-smoking. It is easier to live and work here if you don’t smoke.
Most of our permanent staff members are under 30 years old, but they have been with Bearskin for a long time. If you would not be comfortable taking direction from a fairly young supervisor, this may not be your perfect job.
You will be living and working with a group of interesting individuals. Every year we have many cross country and track runners on our staff — trail running from Bearskin is good for 3 seasons a year. We often have staff members who are vegetarian or who eat carefully, we try to support our staff’s special dietary needs in whatever way we can. Over the summer, you do have the option of planting a small garden on site.
Most of our jobs involve frequent interaction with our guests. You become the face of Bearskin, so you need to be a good representative of our business. We expect our employees to be clean and clothed appropriately for working with the public.
We generally do not hire J1 students unless they are also native English speakers such as Australians; we do hire employees from all over the United States, so you will be working with people from a variety of backgrounds.
Bearskin isn’t much of a “party resort” for employees. Our staff members are more likely to be found out in the woods in their off time than out in the bars. If your favorite activity is shopping, you may not be happy living on the Gunflint Trail. Bearskin is 26 miles from the nearest town, and shopping in Grand Marais is very basic. A car is helpful as an escape and as a way to get groceries and supplies, but other staff members usually help each other get to Grand Marais when needed.
We live in close quarters. If you work at Bearskin and choose to live here, you will spend time with many of the same people both at work and after hours. This employment situation is best suited for people with a history of getting along well with others. We have no tolerance for employees or friends and relations of employees who cannot treat all co-workers with respect and kindness, both at work and after hours.
This is a healthy environment. Live as you wish if your housing is elsewhere, but if you live on our site you need to choose a non-smoking, drug-free, minimal alcohol use lifestyle. Substance abuse of any type will be grounds for removal from our housing.
We no longer have TV in staff housing at Bearskin. Staff members do watch a LOT of Netflix movies on DVDs, though. If you would miss TV, but think Bearskin would be a great choice for you then consider watching full seasons of your favorite shows on DVD. Our internet service at this time will not support streaming video, unfortunately. We expect to have high speed internet available to the resort sometime in 2014.
Your staff housing is 100% contingent on your employment at Bearskin. You will be living at your workplace. This is not exactly like living in an apartment building; if you lose your job, you also lose your housing. There are expectations for Bearskin appropriate behavior in your “off” hours, as well as for when you are at work. You need to be a good representative of Bearskin Lodge while you work and live here.
If this description of Bearskin life sounds like you would fit in, fill out the application!
Summer Employment Opportunities at Bearskin for 2015:
We will start considering applications for 2015 around January 1. A good introduction to what it’s like to spend a summer at Bearskin Lodge can be found in Cara Finnegan’s blog about her memories of working at Bearskin: http://caraf.blogs.com/caraf/2008/06/all-i-know-about-cleaning-i-learned-at-bearskin-lodge.html
Also, see our blogs about the quality of our employees at http://bearskin.wordpress.com/2008/06/07/summer-fun-working-at-bearskin-lodge-or-making-love-to-toilets/ and http://bearskin.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/summer-goodbyes-so-soon/
We don’t ever hire high school students and only rarely do we hire college freshmen. This is a better environment for employees who are experienced at being away from home and who are already accustomed to making life choices for themselves.
A few things you should know before you consider applying for employment at Bearskin Lodge:
It is a common practice for resorts and outfitters to hire more employees than they need for summer, then fire the ones they don’t want after a few weeks. Bearskin Lodge does not do this. We hire the number of people we truly need for the whole summer. The trade-off for not hiring & firing extra people is that if you do get the job, you are genuinely expected to be here. If you are hired, you are needed for all your agreed-upon work time.
- Bearskin is one of the larger resorts on the Gunflint Trail, but we are still a small, family-owned resort. We are very dependent on the reliability of a minimal number of employees. If you leave earlier than you promised, it is no small thing — we employ exactly the right number of people to make it through the season. We will ask you to sign a contract specifying your end date, and your final check will be dependent upon reaching your contractual date. We need you to be here when you promised to be here.
- College students, please be honest about your ending dates. We will give first priority to summer employees who can start by mid-May and especially to those who can work through Labor Day, or close to that date. If you are returning to college, check your fall start date before you apply, please! Fall & winter seasonal employees will be hired through specific dates. If you choose to leave weeks or months early, it puts a great deal of stress on the remaining staff. Choose your end dates carefully when you apply.
- You should also know that whatever job you take at Bearskin, you will probably be called upon to assist in some way with housekeeping. If you would not be willing to cheerfully help with this task, please don’t apply. Providing beautifully clean wilderness cabins is what we do here.
- Everyone works on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer, “turn-over” days. If you are not comfortable with working on those days, this is not your ideal summer job. You will have 2 days off each week, but those days will usually not be on the weekend. We will try to give you 2 days off in a row, but it is not guaranteed.
- Your relatively short term of summer employment here is not a good time to plan to take time off for a vacation or BWCA trip. You come here to work for the summer, not to travel. DO NOT expect any extra days off during your short term of summer employment. We want you to experience this beautiful environment, but you should plan to take your trips only on scheduled days off. We need our employees to be here during the time for which they are hired. With enough notice, we can usually schedule your days off for times when friends or family members are visiting. Requests for special scheduling or extra days off need to be very minimal. Full time or year ’round staff have many opportunities for trips and vacations–that is one of the perks of full time employment up here. But summer staff, no. Your scheduled days off will be your only days off.
- Employees often use very expensive equipment — only apply for a job here if you can be trusted to be careful with other people’s things. If it will be part of your job to use our radios, tools, equipment, and vehicles, it will also be part of your job to be responsible, conscientious, and cautious when using Bearskin’s things. We’ve had summer employees whose summer earnings wouldn’t have come close to covering the costs of items they broke or damaged due to irresponsibility or poor decision-making. We can’t charge you for what you break on the job, but breaking or losing our equipment will be grounds for immediate dismissal.
- Expect to be very quiet if you live here. Our guests pay to be here to enjoy the solitude of the BWCA. They want to hear loon songs, not your music or noises. If you can’t live in the quiet, you won’t work out living here. Ear buds: they’re a beautiful thing.
- Our housing is simple, fairly nice, and non-smoking. All housing has full kitchen facilities. You take care of your own meals. Our staff lives in houses or individual apartments; we do not have a dorm or bunkhouse. We do have some fairly non-intrusive rules while you live in our housing; your continuing employment is dependent on your following the rules during both your “on” and “off” hours. You can be fired for problematic behavior in your off hours if it occurs in or affects our staff housing situation.
- You should know that the Gunflint Trail is a small community of people who tell everyone everything. If you do it, we will hear about it — probably within a few hours. Only choose to apply here if you think your typical behavior wherever you go will reflect well on Bearskin Lodge.
- No drama, please. You will be living in close proximity to others. Our ideal employee will be a good neighbor to co-workers and tolerant of individual differences. Bearskin employees almost function as a family. This is a good job for people who care about others and who get along well in a group situation.
- Local employees who already have their own housing are very much appreciated here as we do have a housing shortage during the some times of the year, especially summer.
- We prefer employees who are 21 years old, or who have been living away from home in a n0n-dorm environment for more than one year. We are located a long distance from everything, so you need to be competent at caring for your meals, health, and daily needs.
- Employees with cars are happier employees. Sometimes it’s really nice to get away from the rest of us. Scooters and motorcycles as a primary mode of transportation do not work out well on our gravel roads. A car is almost a necessity. Other employees can help you get to town for groceries or town visits if you don’t have a vehicle, but it is very difficult to always be dependent on others for your food. You are 26 miles away from groceries. There is no such thing as public transportation up here. Your mental state will be better while living in the middle of the wilderness if you have the occasional option to escape.
- If you can’t live without your phone and the internet at all times, you won’t make it here. We have the best possible internet available in our area in the lodge and in staff housing, but for now it is mediocre satellite internet. We have no cell phone service. If you expect to always be connected with your phone, this location will be a rude awakening. We do not allow employees to use their phones while they are being paid to work.
- Come prepared to dress in clean, conservative casual clothing while at work. Yes, we’re out in the north woods, but you still need to dress like you are employed at a public business when you work at Bearskin. No torn or dirty clothes; no exposed bras, underwear, or cleavage; no cut off t-shirts; no short shorts or overtly tight leggings. Minimal visible piercings and tattoos during working hours. Good shoes, not loose flip-flops, so you don’t hurt yourself in a fall, and sturdy work boots and gloves if you are doing outside chores. Very warm coats, boots, hats and gloves for winter — real Minnesota-level warm clothes, not just what you’ll find sold for winter in Missouri. Shopping for additional clothes can be a challenge here, so come prepared with what you will need, or plan to order the right things online later. The right clothes will make it possible to do your job.
Applying for Summer 2015: If you think you fit these criteria, please fill out the application linked to this page and fax or mail it to us. It can also be copied into a Word document and saved as a PDF, then attached to an e-mail. A cover letter or e-mail describing your interest in the job and your background helps us get to know you, as does a photo (optional, of course.) The more information your provide for us, the better! Your job references will be checked, so please provide accurate contact information.
Note to potential employees: Bearskin became a non-smoking resort a few years ago. Our staff housing has always been non-smoking. We do not allow employees to smoke at work. We try very hard to create a healthy environment for our staff members. This is a very minimal alcohol use environment, and we do not tolerate any drug use. Please only apply if you feel you can fit this model.