I remember overhearing a conversation between a colleague of mine at Canski, the ski shop where I worked for most of the year that I spent in Whistler, and a customer (a Brit I think) who was on holiday; the customer was asking him what it was like to live in a ski resort like Whistler and my friend’s reply was something simple but to the point, like ‘it’s pretty sweet, if you ever have a year or two to spare I would definitely recommend staying for while’, and I remember completely agreeing with him and being so pleased I was there. Living in Whistler as a seasonaire is like living in a bubble, the real world is going on around you, but you’re only partly aware of it. It pretty much is a year long holiday…
In my final year of university I got in touch with BUNAC to arrange my Canadian student working visa, and a few months later headed out, like so many Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and other young care-free people from around the globe to Whistler, famous for it’s fantastic terrain, deep powder and fun night life.
I’d always planned to do a ski season after uni and there was never any question about the destination. In my opinion Whistler is a fantastically organised resort with one company running the majority of facilities, and it was through the Whistle-Blackcomb job fair (held in October every year) that I found myself working for Canski and living in the staff accommodation right on the piste, ski pass in hand. Days were spent up on the mountain before skiing down to work for the afternoon/evening shift and then maybe a few beers in the Longhorn or Buffalow Bills Saloon. Not only did I have an absolutely awesome time skiing, but I met some truly amazing people, many of whom I’m still close contact with even though they live hundreds of miles away.
Although the population of Whistler is transient, with people leaving and arriving all the time, there is still a real sense of community, one that I definitely felt a part of. It was partly because of that sense of community that I decided to stay for the summer season too, as well as to experience the mountain biking, hiking, ATV & hummer rides, not to mention the lazy summer afternoon lake-side barbeques! Whistler may be most famous for the snow, but in my opinion the summer season is just as much fun. When the following October came round I was certainly very sad to leave and I have always said if I could have stayed, I would have.
So, if you have a year to spare and fancy a bit of hedonism, get in touch with BUNAC and think Whistler!