Insider Part Two: The Whistler Work, Ride, Party, Sleep Balance

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

Arguably the hardest art to master, the balance between what you want to do, and what you have to do, is something which only you can figure out. There are pros and cons to everything; believe it or not, you can ski too much, and you can definitely party too much. However, sometimes such things are unavoidable, so here are a few secrets which can be employed to get you through your day/shift.

Nutrition

Waking up aching and sore every day isn’t conducive to getting up for first lifts. Whilst they may seem to be the preserve of gym rats and athletes, recovery supplements such as protein shakes can in fact be found in the bedrooms of many long-time seasonaires. Learn from those who know!

The Cure

Some swear by poutine as the ultimate hangover cure, specifically from a certain shack on the way to the lifts (hint: it begins with ‘Z’). This is an exclusively Canadian speciality – just like the Caeser (another Canadian hangover cure) – so take advantage of it.

Socialising

Not so much a secret, more a recommendation to go drinking (no, really!). Going out in any ski resort is expensive, and Whistler is no different. However, due to most seasonaires living in private housing, rather than in the places where they work (e.g. European chalets and hotels), there are a lot of house parties. The close-knit community and hospitable attitude means that most people know someone at the venue, and as long as you bring your own drinks, friends of friends are usually welcomed. These parties are rad for a few reasons: First, you spend far less, second; you meet far more people than you would in a public venue, where people tend to interact only within their group. Thirdly, when you bump into said acquaintances on the mountain, an impromptu riding crew forms, often resulting in some of the best memories of the season. A flat-out 12-man train down A-Line has to be experienced to be believed, and the thought alone is often enough to get you through a seemingly endless shift.

Powder

For those here for the winter, there is NOTHING on earth which cures a hangover like fresh tracks. Do everything you must to crawl out of bed and onto the lift. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Water

Sometimes, only a bit of R+R will do. In the summer, Whistler’s many lakes are a haven of cool water, grassy shade, and rope swings of varying gnarliness. Lost Lake and Alta Lake are particular favourites. In Winter, find a friend with a hot tub if your house is one of the few without. Cold beer + hot tub = win.

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

The Shock Factor – Some Thoughts and Advice from a Whistler Insider

While Whistler Blackcomb was voted the number one resort in North America by Skiing Magazine for 13 years in a row, and is very keen to tell you so, the resort generally holds an air of mystique and wonderment to all those within gravity sports. No matter where you hail from, and no matter if you’re a freeskier, a park rat, a downhill racer, or a wannabe A-Line hero, everybody considering a season in Whistler has seen the place on film, whatever their chosen sport or discipline, and they all want to go there.

Making the move to Whistler

I moved to Whistler off the back of a few years skiing and riding in the Alps where I had seen the tall tees, the fat skis, and the Troy Lee-clad pinners. Each resort had a hierarchy of local fast and gnarly guys and gals, and there was often a lot of hushed talk and bravado amongst seasonaires about this exact subject. (Tip: this is Whistler … many of the folks here are pro!)

Unsurprisingly, it naturally follows that the most famous ski/bike resort in the world has the highest concentration of die-hard resort-bums in the world. People flock to Whistler from around the world, and as such, competition for jobs and housing is extremely fierce, and can come as a shock to those used to the all-inclusive benefits of working for a British tour operator in the Alps.

Finding your feet

As is detailed in the accommodation pages of this website, $500 for a shared room is standard, as is taking out a mortgage to buy a season pass (kidding, but only just). A single bag of groceries can easily cost $40, and a single pint of lager will leave you disappointingly little change from a $10 bill. Thus it follows that working a 5 x 8 hour week is not unusual; it pretty much needs to be, given the above costs. In spite of this, employers and landlords are so inundated with resumes and enquiries that a lack of any reply is a familiar situation for those new in town. Fresh and enthusiastic though they may be. Thus the onus is on you to be judicious in your timing and approach. After all, this is Whistler, you are here for a reason, and are prepared to do what it takes to ride here.

The above isn’t meant to be a doom-laden warning, more a pointed note of what to expect. More often than not it is the small things which go the furthest; always smiling, being chatty but on-topic, saying hello to all the staff/housemates you see, and generally having an air of easy-going confidence are the things which people remember.

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