How the hell did I end up in Whistler? This place is amazing!
Written by: Jacques Massie
Arriving in a Ski town wherever it is in the world is always extremely exciting! Everyone is stoked, everyone is a little drunk and almost everyone has a touch of crazy in them! Now... Living in a Ski town for the first time is a very different story. Of course the first couple weeks are super exciting but soon the realisation that you have no job, no home and a dwindling bank account starts to set in. Is this your first snow season? This blog is tailored to a first season in Whistler but can quite easily help anyone planning a first snow season at any resort around the world. So lets break it down into a five step guide that will make your transition from ski bum to ski town local easy.
STEP ONE- GET CASHED UP!
It is very easy to get caught up in peer pressure and the excitement of taking on a new adventure in a new country with new friends. It is so easy that we often forget how expensive travel can be in first world countries. Your first step starts before you arrive- SAVE Heaps of money! I made the mistake of rocking up to Whistler with $200 in my wallet and in fact that was all I had to my name! I paid the price by living out of my car and on couches for a month while I worked at McDonalds. I would recommend you turn up with a minimum of $3K but I would highly suggest you aim for $5K just to give you peace of mind.
STEP TWO- Source Accomodation
You may think that this step is easy... "pfft what's Jacques on about it will be so easy to get a house. People love me!" Well soz but you are 100% wrong, finding a room to yourself in a Ski Town, especially one as busy as Whistler is nearly impossible. But it is doable if you are proactive. Make yourself stand out from the other 250 applicants (yep this is no exaggeration, I once went to view a shared room that had over 400 applicants!). Here are a couple tricks:
-Put together a rental applicant CV: Just like when you apply for a job having a CV showcasing yourself to a potential landlord can set you well ahead of the crowd. It shows; professionalism, valid rental references, your personality and most importantly it shows the landlord that you are willing to put the work in... working = money and money = rent paid.
-Set up a catchy bio on facebook pages related to housing in your ski area: Sell yourself and put yourself out there on social media. Confident moves like this can pay off, people love someone who has the confidence to put themselves out there.
If you can source accomodation before you even arrive.. woowee your live is going to be way easier!
STEP THREE- It's Pre Season! Time to get a job!
Now I am going to be dead honest with you guys. I went through about 3 or 4 jobs before I found the job that worked best for me and I am glad I did! At the end of the day you are here to Ski/Snowboard. If you followed Step One then you still have some cash so don't just settle for a 9-5 job with the mountain getting paid peanuts. Sure you get a free pass but if you get a high tipping job (North America) you can pay off a pass in 3 shifts or less!
I ended up getting a job at one of the biggest ski resort bars in North America and it was bloody amazing! I snowboarded all day and worked at night or opened in the morning and snowboarded all afternoon. Plus I made enough in tips to live comfortably and still save thousands for off season travels.
So Step Three is to get a job that allows you to live the lifestyle you came to a ski town for!
STEP FOUR- Gear up baby! Its learning time.
Alright gear is massive with Snowboarding and Skiing. I don't know much about Skiing but make sure to read up on what you will need to start with. Snowboarders! Let's get started.
DON'T get sucked in by gimmicks. Do your research and just get the basics, what happens if you decide you actually hate snowboarding (pfft unlikely its freaking awesome)?
DON'T be cheap though. Get gear that is reliable and won't let you down on the mountain. If you are buying second hand make sure the seller is reliable.
The basics to get you started:
-Under layers top and bottom: 2-4 sets
-Mid layer fleece (if you get cold)
-Snowboarding socks: 5-7 pairs (things take ages to dry remember that)
-Snowboarding jacket: If you get really cold invest in a jacket that has a build in warmer. Don't get to caught up on the ratings unless you are snowboarding at a notoriously wet resort. I would advice you aim for a minimum rating of 10k.
-Snowboarding pants: Pretty much the same as above. But make sure they match for steaze factor.
-Snowboarding Boots: SO IMPORTANT. If your board is the wheels and your bindings are the suspension then your boots are definitely the steering wheel. Well fitted boots will make all the difference so invest in a good pair and be sure to get them professionally fitted to you and your bindings and board.
-Board and Bindings: You are a beginner so don't go crazy. Get a reliable board with a reliable set of bindings that are designed for beginners. Don't get too into cambers, edges and flex. Get good first.
-Balaclava: Keep that neck warm
-Mittens or Gloves: Up to you but I prefer Mittens because they keep your hands warmer. Try and get some phone screen friendly inners to.
-Helmet: I know it is steazier to ride without a helmet but there is nothing steazy about a brain injury... your choice.
-Goggles: Visibility is key so invest a bit of money in a reliable set of goggles so you don't have to deal with visibility issues while you are trying to learn.
-Whistle: In case you get yourself stuck in a tree well or injured.
STEP FIVE- Don't Give Up!
Straight up your first day is going to suck! Your going to have a bruised ass, sore wrists and a bruised ego but you will improve drastically over the first few weeks. If you don't have friends to teach you invest in a few lessons and... AND ... even if you do have friends that are teaching you it pays to get a few professional lessons under your belt. Get the right technique from the start!
Keep challenging yourself but remember your ability. It is so easy to get caught up in the ride especially when you are riding with people that are far better than you. Injuring yourself sucks so keep your head on you and only attempt something if you are confident in your abilities.
I hope this helped you out with your first season preparation. If you liked the blog or have any questions just comment below and let us know. We will try and get back to you within 48 hours.
Keep finding cool adventures! Oh and check out ours in the Instagram links below.
Jacques | Massie Bros
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