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Question What was your Canada working holiday like?

Discussion in 'Canada' started by KateEC, Jan 31, 2020.

  1. KateEC

    KateEC First Runs

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    Hi there!

    I was was hoping that anyone that has done a working holiday in Canada during the ski season can tell me about their experience and maybe offer some tips?

    my bf and I are planning to take a year off between uni and we initially wanted to become instructors although realised our skill levels were not good enough yet. Now we are thinking of working within a resort as lifties, rental shop assistants, etc. Is it still enjoyable working in one of these roles?

    We were thinking of heading to Lake Louise if anyone has been there. From what I can tell the Lake Louise staff are very social and have a good community vibe so that suits us, but if anyone recommends any other places then please share.

    We are also hoping to head to NZ or AUS after the Canada season wraps up so I was wondering how hard it is to get a job at these places even if you have experience (I have heard NZ is really hard). Is this a realistic plan?

    Thanks!
     
  2. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    My working holiday experience was so good I kept coming back to Canada. That was 31 years ago, now I have a Canadian wife, Canadian kids and Canadian grandkids! Obviously my story is rather old and things have changed a wee bit. But from reading on this forum over the past 15 years, it would seem the employment path for instructors in Aussie resorts is little different from when I did it: take a hiring clinic, get to work, take the excellent free staff training, move up through the ranks, go to certification courses. Most BC resorts offer a level 1 course in December before Christmas and will use it as an extended on-snow interview. The skiing demands of L1 are modest, it is much more about communication: teaching the basics to beginners and kids, and this of course is exactly what you will be doing if hired.

    LL is isolated out in the middle of Banff National Park even though national highway and railway run right through. There is staff housing down in the village (5 minute drive to the lifts) and only a handful of hotels for visitors, and these are scattered, not a walking village. There are basic facilities like mini supermarket, bottle shop, cafe/bakery, one ski shop and petrol station and little else. You're an hour from Banff itself, so the off-mountain scene is limited and somewhat expensive. Your social group will be mostly limited to co-workers; some find this restrictive, others bond well and love it. The mountain itself has loads of terrain with three completely different aspects. It has the longest season in Canada, most years a full six months. They host the first round of the world cup season in downhill in late November, lots of energy and hoopla around those races. The snowpack in the Rockies is thinner and drier than the Interior and coastal regions to the west and south, but mid season melting or rain is almost unheard of. Typically LL will lag behind other regions at first, the snowpack takes time to build and is still growing when many other western resorts are closing their operations in early April. Last thing is it can get seriously cold at LL, the Alberta Rockies are in another level of climatic extreme compared to the rest of the west. I have special clothing I take to LL that appears nowhere else. You will experience -30 and colder if you work a season here.
     
    KateEC, whether and Bogong like this.
  3. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    I would imagine most resorts have great cameraderie amongst their seasonal staff, and that would vary from season to season according to the personalities of those there at the time.

    I wouldnt let stories of parties drive you to a particular resort, and suggest you focus more on the resort itself, and local facilities, staff accommodation etc to help you decide which resort
     
    KateEC likes this.
  4. luvthabumps

    luvthabumps A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Another old story here - we did 89/90 season in Whistler after finishing Uni. The same tips apply now as then - in the bigger resorts, it's all about accom. There's plenty of jobs, getting a bed for the season will more be the issue. We went for hospo, retail jobs and it worked out well for us. Mrs LTB got a great job with a high end retail store who, knowing staff housing was an issue, bought a house in Brio for their staff. It had a smallish basement suite and as we were the only couple in the house we had that space.We had 5 others in the house, we all got on really well and there was more than enough partying without being out of control.

    I got a job working for Blackcomb's food division so we both got dual mountain season's passes ( even though we were only in our early 20's we qualified as a defacto couple ;) with some "paperwork" supplied from home :whistle: ) I thought restaurant work was great - pay was shit, tips were awesome, staff meals and knock off drinks, worked in the afternoons and evenings so I didn't spend all my pay getting wasted and then skied all day and was able to get out for first tracks when the pow was on. Personally I couldnt think of anything worse than being a liftie - not every day is blue skies and pow.......
     
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  5. StuckinQld

    StuckinQld Addicted

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    Did the same thing nearly 20 years. Worked in Lake Louise. I was in F&B, and bf was in charge of ticket checkers. Id told him not to goto LL as I had heard it was so cold, so, as he arrived in Canada first he found a job, in Lake Louise..... Wasn't really a big issue though. It wasn't the best seasons but he still skied at Nakiska after 1m overnight and we had a good time. Lived in staff accommodation (Charlestown) in Lake Louise, did our shopping in Banff. My advice is not to worry too much, it will generally all work out, and wherever you end up, it is what you make of it.
     
    KateEC likes this.
  6. KateEC

    KateEC First Runs

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    Thanks for everyones replies, they're are very helpful and its awesome hearing from other people who have done this! I just have a few follow up questions.

    I think that we would enjoy being in a smaller resort so that we can bond with the other staff, rather than just be us two in a bigger town, so for that reason Lake Louise sounds perfect. Does anyone know of any other ski resorts that have a similar vibe that we should consider (anywhere in Canada, we aren't set on any particular area or province).

    Also does anyone recommend any resort jobs in particular (or recommend any to steer clear of)? I was thinking of heading down the retail/rental shop path as I have experience in that area however I would love to hear about any jobs that give you a decent amount of time off to go boarding (not necessarily full days but mornings or afternoons).