Insider Part One: The Service Industry in Whistler

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of ‘Insider’ posts by our contributor Ed White.

The service industry is the source of most seasonal jobs in Whistler. Dishwashers, line cooks, servers, and bar staff all come and go, and there is a ready supply of newcomers waiting to fill the gaps. For the most part, pay ranges from $10.25 (minimum wage) to around $12-13 per hour depending on experience and expertise. Tipping is prevalent in Whistler, so if you’re lucky enough to land a job in a bar or restaurant frequented by tourists then you’ll take home some extra cash. Shifts are most often single blocks, usually around 8 hours duration with an unpaid, optional break.

Bars and Restaurants

Use some common sense – don’t try and hand your resume to the flustered waitress during lunch service expecting her to rush it straight to the manager, when she is serving four tables of families all demanding menu alterations. Either go in the morning, if open, or in the afternoon, before evening service commences (between 3-5pm is ideal). If at all possible, try and speak directly to the manager or section leader, and briefly talk them through your resume. They already have 60 pieces of identical paper swimming around their desks, so try and make yours the one they read.

Similarly, asking bar staff about potential jobs at 9pm on a Friday night whilst they pour your beer is also somewhat optimistic, if not downright naïve.

Sports and Rental Shops

The same restrictions apply here, except the mornings and weekends are the no-go time. There are a great deal of holiday-makers and day-trippers renting gear, and the staff will be flat-out trying to accommodate them all. It is not unusual for the managers to be involved in this as well, so hold off until the middle of the day when everyone is out on the slopes.

Preferred Jobs in the Service Industry

Presumably you are coming here to ride, so the best jobs are those which give you the most mountain time. In the winter, lifts operate roughly 08:30 – 16:00 (depending on hours of daylight), so evening shifts allow you to get fresh tracks, and a solid ride before work. Just beware that 4 hours of charging powder must be followed by 8+ hours on your feet waiting tables or pouring drinks.

For the bulk of summer, the bike park operates until 8pm, so a job which finishes around lunchtime gives you plenty of time to smash turns and float jumps. One summer I worked in a kitchen 6am – 2pm, and enjoyed hours of dusty alpine laps in a deserted bike park flooded with evening sun. Recommended if you can stand the heat!

If you prefer, some employers offer a 4 x 10-hour week, giving you maximum time to get outdoors. However, you obviously won’t be on the hill for 4 days at a time, unless you enjoy the dawn patrol. Tourism Whistler is one such employer: www.whistler.com/careers. Also check out Whistler Blackcomb’s job listings page for regularly updated available positions.

Part One – Tips for Service Industry Jobs
Part Two – Work Life Balance
Part Three – Saving Money
Part Four – The Lift Pass