the black tusk on top of a snow covered mountain

Working a Whistler Ski-Season – Best Resort in the World

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I left my heart in Whistler, British Colombia (BC). There is no doubt in my mind about it. Whistler made such an amazing, long-lasting impression on me. I miss living there. It felt like home. You get sucked into the lifestyle and the surroundings which make it impossible to leave it completely behind. I know this feeling was impacted hugely by the friends I made on my incredible journey working a Whistler ski season.

Whistler is known as a small town, a two-hour drive North of Vancouver. It is home to two Mountains (Whistler and Blackcomb), side by side giving you plenty of terrains to explore.

What Whistler Ski-Season Jobs are the best to do?

Working during a Whistler ski season is fun but hard work. If it is your first season and first time away from home then I would recommend a Mountain job. I got a job before I even arrived. I applied on and then had an interview over the phone. The only downside to this was I didn’t get staff accommodation. However, it didn’t cost me anything.

The majority of people come through a working holiday program. These companies help you get the visa and then find you a job, for a fee, of course. This option can mean that you will be offered staff accommodation. Everyone I met who used companies had staff accommodation.

A Job on Whistler Mountain

First Day in working a whistler ski-season
Working a Mountain Job in Whistler

These jobs aren’t the most glamorous by far but I feel the perks on offer outweigh this. As a first-timer, you get cheap accommodation, a season pass, and three free ski or snowboard lessons. Also, every department has other perks. Additionally, the company can move you to different departments if you end up injured. Therefore, you aren’t out of work. Result.

Is a Second Job Worth It?

I had a second job like most people in Whistler. My Mountain pay just covered my expenses as I was renting privately. A second job is worth it unless you’re a server. Servers make good tips. Working two jobs over 4 days helped me to save money for Summer. I still had my full three days off. Second jobs are easy to come by and employers are very accommodating as the majority of resort workers do this.

How to Rent Privately in Whistler?

I would say, the housing crisis is the only downside to working a Whistler ski season. Unfortunately, there are too many workers, and not enough rooms. Therefore, it drives up rent prices to extreme levels. Landlords can be bad too. You do have to be very vigilant when room hunting. The main two ways to find a room are on Facebook (Whistlers Housing Crisis) and Craigslist.

Nordic in Working a Whistler Ski-season
Snow Day

I had to find a room to rent. I must have viewed around 10 places. The majority of the rooms are shared. One house I viewed had room for up to 24 people. People do feel pressured to take the first thing that comes along. However, if something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to say no. Follow your gut feeling.

To be able to find a room the only option is to post an ad on Facebook and Craigslist. This is your chance to show how you can be the best housemate. Yet, don’t forget to include what you are after as well. Also, people post rooms that are available on these sites. So, message as many as you can. The reply rate is low because the person posting will receive hundreds of messages. Therefore, make yours stand out from the crowd.

Also, some landlords don’t post their rooms due to the volume of responses. Therefore, some landlords reach out directly to an advert. This was the case for my room. I got a single private room for $900 which was a steal.

There are scams out there…

When I put my ad up on Craigslist, I did get some very interesting e-mails in return as well as many scams. You will have to shift through some pointless offers from some men (if you’re female) and scams. The scams are pretty obvious and the ones that I came across all had the same storyline. The owner is out of town and can Fed Ex the keys if you deposit money. Be aware of extra-long e-mails. Never hand over any money without seeing a place in person. That is the best advice I can give on that.

What Other Winter Activities Are On Offer?

There are other activities besides skiing and snowboarding. I know people who didn’t ski or snowboard but still enjoyed working a Whistler ski season. I personally got caught up snowboarding on my 3 days off from work, therefore, I didn’t do the other activities. You could say I got a little bit obsessed. The only other activity besides partying I did was tubing.

Me snowboarding on a beginner slope on Blackcomb Mountain
Learning to Snowboard

Other winter activities include but are not limited to: cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling. However, they all cost money which is something that you won’t have a lot of. If you party hard or save for a summer like I was.

The Culture in a Ski Town

The culture of a ski season is partying hard and consuming whatever you fancy to enjoy your night. Clubbing is available at places like Moe Joe’s and Tommy’s. Each establishment has its own special night of the week, for example, Moe Joe’s on a Sunday. Sunday night is the Mountain staff’s night out, it even has the nickname ‘Church Night’.

I have done many nights at clubs during my late teens and early twenties. Therefore, I did keep the nights at the clubs to a minimum. Après was the place for me. Beers after a good day out on the slopes equals a win-win in my eyes. Again, Whistler had different events on different days. Tuesdays were Swedish After-Ski… by far my favourite.

The Community Feel within a Ski-Season

Sunrise In Whistler up the Mountain
A Regular Morning Sunrise at Work in Whistler

Let’s face it. You don’t do the ski season for the money. It is all about the experience. I made good friends during my time in Whistler plus I learnt to snowboard. I feel this experience is a rite of passage. Also, being in your early 20’s you will find it more enjoyable. Other resort workers are very good at helping each other out.

The community has a Facebook page called Whistler Winter. This is a good source for any questions or queries that you may have. There are enough long-term locals willing to help out newbies. Also, a buy and sell page, which is good for picking up clothes and equipment at cheap prices.

My Overall Thoughts about a Ski-Season

I had an incredible experience in Whistler and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I learnt a new sport which I will continue. Furthermore, I managed to jump the small and mediums jumps (all in my first season). In addition, I lived away from home for the first time. This was scary but the majority of people you meet are doing the same. So, before you know it, you have a family made up of friends from all over the world.

My advice is to jump into a Ski-Season and go and have the most entertaining experience possible.

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