Advice needed Touring Dirtbag bound for Canada

Team Weasel

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Sep 19, 2015
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I’m planning on hitting up Canada for the first time this winter, and here’s my plan:

- fly into Vancouver late December
- buy van, become a dirtbag and spend most of winter at Revelstoke and surrounds (I’m buying a season pass this month)
- complete level 1 and 2 ski instructor courses when possible
- hang around as long as possible to ski into spring
- possibly head to US for a while too (Utah, Colorado are on the list, PNW maybe too)


Questions:

Work: I’m too old for the working visa thing…and looking at my budget, I foresee the need to work at some point in the trip. If I get Level 2, can I reasonably expect a sponsored visa position? Are there other options in terms of work in Canada? I’m a teacher by trade if that helps. Or is the US a better option for work?

Car: Anything weird in terms of buying a car/van in terms of rego and insurance? Chains or snow tires needed? Providing I have a visa, is heading to Alaska or down to the lower 48 an issue?

Skis: I’ll be heading over with Blizzard ZG108s, which I rate highly. I’m happy to buy over there, and was thinking of grabbing something a bit wider for deeper days. What sort of dimensions are folks over there on for big mountain style ski touring? (Looking at skis like Rustler 11, Kore 117, Anima FB)

Any other advice is welcome! Cheers.
 

Crystal

Sand skier extraordinaire
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Far far away Aussie expat
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sly_karma

Green Bastard
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If you have accumulated a good no claim bonus on your insurance, take as much documentation as you can gather ICBC will try to characterize you as a new driver so as to deny you that discount - unless you can prove otherwise.

Snow chains not needed unless you end up with RWD vehicle. Winter rubber is the way to go. And avoid RWD.

I would doubt a snow school would bother to apply for work Visa on your behalf. There is a steady stream of under 30s with working holiday visas that can start work tomorrow. Canada clamped down really hard on temporary foreign worker visas after some scandals about 5 years back, just doing the labour market study alone would put off most employers.

Final thought, surely the dirtbag travel model would be best applied at Whitewater?
 

Sbooker

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Sep 28, 2015
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You might like to move a little further east to Golden (Kicking Horse) and Banff (Sunshine and Lake Louise) later in the season. It tends to stay cold into April and skiing is fantastic through to the middle of May.
Have fun.
 
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DPS Driver

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Jul 18, 2014
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Work could be a challenge. Best bet is through contacts and try to pick up cash work or the like away from the mountain. Alternatively, look for some form of food & board reciprocal arrangement, whereby you work for no monetary reward merely food and board. These types of arrangements are available but most would probably be sewn up by now. This way to stretch the dollars you have.

As Sly said, no resort is going to sponsor you because they can get the under 30's hassle free. I'm not sure how your teaching credentials could be used to support a ski habit. I would imagine opportunities there be for a more permanent need.
 
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Famos

Early Days
Jun 1, 2018
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Watch Border Security for a few tips.
Good idea! Those Canadian border guys and girls look on the ball and the uniforms are impressive. BE the dirtbag but try not to LOOK the dirtbag! Our border guys look a little tatty and informal in comparison!
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
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Just be aware that in the eyes of the immigration authorities, work performed in exchange for food, housing or other non-monetary remuneration is still illegal for you and employer if you don't have a work visa. So if you decide to go the under the table route, you may as well ask for cash payment - unless you think accoms provided would represent a better deal. There are lots of small employers other than the resort itself, and in those lie your best chance of finding cash work: housekeeping for someone with a couple of air bnb properties, bar or server work, etc. Trouble is that it takes time to get to know which employers might fit the bill and for you to get to know them and form some trust. It's a tricky assignment for someone not already familiar with the resort community and its component businesses and personalities.

Your best chance might be the Christmas/New Year period. There are more people at the resort than they can properly handle and everyone is very busy and stressed. It's not uncommon for small businesses to do half of their entire season gross revenue in this two week period. Inevitably, some workers crack under the pressure and either quit or are fired. Employers are desperate for help to get them through the rush so this is when they are most likely to consider "unconventional" forms of employment.

In the background, BC is at or under 5% unemployment and has been the lowest in the country for several years now. Seasonal work isn't all that attractive to most people when there are plenty of year-round jobs on offer, and the work is considered entry level, low status. The WHP has been a godsend for the ski industry and it's not an exaggeration to say that the resorts truly do rely on the annual influx of young Aussies, Kiwis and Poms to staff their operations. The resorts themselves definitely won't employ you with no visa, but that doesn't mean there's no jobs at all.
 
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