A Guide to Doing a Season in Whistler


With an average snowfall of 10 metres each season Whistler is among the most popular destinations in the world, whether for a week-long holiday or for those going for a season-long experience. Our insider David Stead gives us the lowdown on how to get the most out of your season…

I would never advise anyone against going to Whistler for any amount of time but I, among a strong crowd of likeminded ‘Whistler-ites’, would advocate doing a season there in a heartbeat. If you’re thinking about enjoying an entire winter in Whistler, here are my top tips.


Finding a place to live in Whistler varies in difficulty. Some people you speak to will tell you it was easy and the first place they tried they scored a two bed condo with en-suite bathrooms and a hot-tub to boot for five hundred dollars a month. These are the people who have been to Whistler before and have become best friends with the local who happens to be giving away his condo to keep it occupied. Or these are the people who are trying to make themselves feel better!

In order to secure decent accommodation independently, in fact in order to secure any accommodation, you need to be looking early. I mean really early. June is a good time to start looking. Come November everyone fresh from the southern hemisphere season starts heading over and there is a rat-race for the last remaining half decent reasonably priced property. You might be lucky and find someone with a spare room to rent out in their house because someone bailed on them at the last minute and they need the room filled. If you are reading this and November has come or even passed and you’re still short of accommodation do not give up hope.

If you’re looking for seasonsal accommodation in Whistler, and if you want everything organized for you from the other side of the world, so all you have to do is turn up with skis and some clothes, have a look at Nonstop’s selection of Whistler apartments. Booking here means you can get yourself organized from a different country with no hassle. When you get to resort everything is waiting for you in a nice big apartment, ready for you to hit the slopes the next day. The prices are fair, and the apartments relatively luxurious. It also means that there is no worry of turning up and not being able to find anything worth renting. So if you’re looking for an apartment in Whistler, take a look! Be aware that there are some scammers out there who will take advantage of the desperation to secure accommodation in resort, so be careful.

A disclaimer… I’ve spent all my seasons in Whistler and can’t get enough of it, but it’s critics say it’s a little like Disneyland which I won’t try and deny. It all depends on what you’re looking for. It’s no doubt true that spending a season in some of Canada’s other ski resorts would also be an awesome experience and might offer a bit more of a genuine Canadian experience, and less of the tourist traffic that Whistler gets. From what I’ve heard, if you want good nightlife like Whistler then Banff’s up there, and if you want steep and deep then Fernie, Red Mountain, Revelstoke and Kicking Horse have it all. It’s all personal preference.


With the ever increasing unpredictability of European snowfall accumulation it seems where the Tarentaise region is losing, the Coastal Range (the range of mountains Whistler lies in, contrary to popular belief it is not in the Rockies or even the Cascades) is winning!

Whistler Blackcomb groom more acreage than anywhere else in the entire of North America. With this as a statistic it is important to add that the acreage which remains un-groomed consists of some of the most incredible off piste skiing conditions you can experience without the need for a helicopter or snow-cat, though these are readily available to make the inaccessible accessible.


Canada is famous for its champagne powder and there are few places where this is more evident than Whistler itself. A major attraction of Whistler’s off piste is the multiple areas of off-piste skiing accessible to novice powder skiers providing a good platform to learn the basics of this sometimes seemingly impossible skill.

At the other end of the scale there is, of course, an un-ending amount of powder available to those wishing to challenge themselves, including the steepest run in North America which very sensibly has a warning post at the top to deter those who may have taken a ‘wrong turn’ or maybe simply to ask the question “Are you really sure you’re ready for what lies over this lip?!”


During a season in Whistler, if you’re lucky enough, one of the many self proclaimed locals will treat you to a ‘locals only’ tree run called Khyber’s Pass. A run which has, in fact, become so well known that it may well in time become known as merely an ‘experts only’ run. This is one of many tree runs which will challenge even the most experienced powder skiers. Again with the tree runs there is something for everyone, ‘Mums and Dads’ proves to be one of the more forgiving runs where the trees are slightly more sparsely dispersed and therefore a good way to get used to the ‘avoiding-the-solid-tree’ technique in your own time and not being thrown into the deep end where the usual result is at best a shattered confidence and at worst, well, we all know the potential severity of the other end of the scale.


Whistler Blackcomb have three parks available to everyone and a fourth XL park reserved only for those with a specific pass indicating they have signed the relevant insurance waivers. There is one park on Whistler Mountain that provides kickers and rails for beginners but equally for those wanting to push themselves towards graduating to the bigger park. For the real beginners it might be advisable to head over to Blackcomb to what’s known as the Terrain Garden. Here there are small jumps and ride-on rails to practice on and gain in ever important confidence. The other park on Blackcomb adjoining the XL is not as complete as the Whistler one but still has some good hits.


Going out in Whistler is famous for being as lively as the riding during the day. Personally I went to ski, but that’s not a reflection on what’s available to those looking for a great time at night. Some people don’t even buy a lift pass and simply use Whistler as their home for having an amazing social life.

There are bars that encourage bar-top dancing like Merlins, as well as an Irish Pub to remind everyone of home regardless of which hemisphere you’re from, and the essential visit to Garfinkels. For a nightclub in the more traditional sense of the word Buffalo Bills is the place to head.

Having done seasons all over the world Whistler comes highly recommended. You will have the best few months of your life and come away desperate to go back. Do it, you’ll regret it if you don’t.


This might be a good place to mention the brilliant service the Whistler Blackcomb Patrol provides. At any point during your season in Whistler you can sign up to take an avalanche awareness tour. The full day tour covers terrain evaluation, avalanche phenomenon, procedures that Whistler Blackcomb uses to keep people safe inside the ski area boundary, avalanche safety equipment, and rescue techniques. You must be able to ski/ride a blue run (intermediate run) comfortably to join the tours. As well as being a great idea to take one of these tours there is the added incentive of it being completely on the house, or mountain.

In Europe when/if you injure yourself or someone in your party has a fall and needs help off the mountain you will be asked to leave your skis or snowboard with the patroller until you or your insurance company has paid the price of the personal evacuation. This tends to be in the range of three to four hundred Euros. Not so in Whistler. It’s free to hurt yourself and it’s free to get a friendly Canadian to come and pick you up on his blood wagon. The treatment thereafter is anything but free but find me a ski resort in the northern hemisphere that offers medical treatment for free and I’ll ski naked for a week.


So how are you going to fund a season in such a place as Whistler? There are thousands of jobs in Whistler. And not just at the beginning of the season, all the way through until May you’ll be able to get something whether its flipping burgers or filling somebody’s subway sandwich, you will get something if you need it.

First you need a valid Canadian work visa. Depending on your nationality there maybe certain rules and stipulations. Check out http://www.cic.gc.ca/iec-eic/ for more detail.

When you come through Vancouver airport you will stand in a usually agonizingly long queue to be issued your visa so give fair warning to anyone collecting you that the time your flight arrives is a long time short of the time you’ll be out the other side. Immigration has been known to make mistakes when printing the visas so it is imperative you check all the details before leaving the desk. Once you get out of the airport if you notice a mistake it is not simply a case of going back into the airport and asking them to correct it. Oh no, nothing so easy. You will have to send it off to immigration services with a cheque. Yes, you read correctly, a cheque for $30 that you have to pay them for their own mistake. The whole process takes about eight weeks during which time of course you can’t work so make sure you check it before leaving the issuing officer.

Once the visa has been collected you can go to the Sinclair Building in Vancouver to get your Social Security number. You can’t work without one so you can either go while you’re still in Vancouver, head to Squamish to complete your application, or wait for the monthly outreach site in Whistler.


Spending a season working as an instructor has got to be up there with the best jobs in the world. Nonstop Ski & Snowboard are Canada’s most popular instructor course providers and run a range of ski instructor programs and snowboard instructor courses in some of Canada’s best resorts. Graduates of Nonstop’s programs have gone on to work in Whistler, as well as many other resorts around the world. Find out more about Nonstop’s ski and snowboard instructor training courses.

A lot of instructors are hired starting in May. Skype interviews are held once applications come in, around mid summer. Ski instructors are always needed at Level 1 and upwards. Snowboarders will need to have Level 2 and some teaching experience. Dual certified instructors are highly sought after. Information on the hiring fairs can be found at https://secure.whistlerblackcomb.com/ats/fairjobs.aspx.


The best job you can have in terms of money is a bar job. The tips are extraordinary and the people even more so. Don’t get your hopes up though. Being a barman/person in Whistler is for many people a career and therefore to secure such a job you either have to rely on nepotism or have a lot of bar experience. The other option is to start as a busser clearing glasses: they’ve been known to get some good tips, and then progress onto the bar. Or just go to the bars to drink and have a good time and work somewhere else.


A waiter, for example, gets paid terribly but tipped more than you can imagine. It is standard practice in Canada to tip at least 15%. Work in a fine dining restaurant and sell the table of two some good wine and they’re looking at a bill in excess $200. Even if their bill is less, the chance of your total for the night being less than $2,000 is slim to none. 15% on two grand? You do the maths! There are plenty of other decent jobs to pay the bills but usually with less absurd tipping involved.


Working in a rental shop seems to be popular among those who like to talk about skis or boards for a living. There are certainly a couple of stores, not mentioning any names, who will hire someone who can sell sand in a desert but knows not the first thing about the equipment he is selling. Beware of being put on skis that are too short for you!


When you arrive in Whistler if you have found you need a place to advertise yourself other than the pique or you want to print off your CV properly and use the internet for free go to the WERC, located above the Visitor Information Centre. Check them out here http://www.whistlerchamber.com/Employment-Resources/index.html.

So you’ll find a job no problem while doing a season in Whistler and if you turn up for the job fair at the very beginning of the season you will more than likely be able to hop on a job with the mountain and secure yourself some accommodation in staff housing too. Having a job for the mountain doesn’t mean you have to be an instructor, although there are plenty of these opportunities available for those with the right qualifications, it simply means working for the resort, which covers the restaurants and shops on and surrounding the mountain.


If you get a job with the mountain your lift pass will be provided free of charge. If the work is not with the mountain you will have to pay. However, there is a programme in place by many companies cooperating with Intrawest which will secure you a massively reduced rate on what’s called a Spirit Pass. All you have to do to secure yours is go along to a mountain safety and awareness seminar. They’re about three or four hours long and not boring by any means. You will learn about the history of Whistler and about mountain safety plus you can give your feedback on things you think are wrong with some of the services you have noticed. There is a genuine interest from them about what you have to say. It works out that by going to this seminar you are being paid in the region of $250 per hour, obviously not in cash but in the savings you make on your lift pass.


You will more than likely to want to set up a bank account when you get to Whistler. The most advisable thing to do when choosing which of the many different banks you want to go with is to wait until you know what bank your employer banks with. The reason being obvious, when they present you with a cheque from, say, Scotiabank the money will clear a lot quicker into your account than if you’re with TD, for example.

In Canada you will be charged a certain amount every month to have an account with your bank. It seems strange if you’re not used to it but its important to know because along with this charge is a limit on the amount of transactions you can do every month. Also it is important to close your account at the end of the season otherwise when you go back to Canada you will have a lot of monthly charges on your account for all the time you were away.

Source: http://www.nonstopsnow.com/a-guide-to-doing-a-season-in-whistler/

Stanley Park

“To the use and enjoyment of people of all colours, creeds and customs for all time.” – Lord Stanley, Governor General of Canada, in 1889, at the dedication of Stanley Park

Stanley Park, Vancouver’s first park, is an evergreen oasis of 400 hectares (1,000 acres) close to the heart of Vancouver’s downtown core. Its natural west coast atmosphere offering a back drop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees embraces visitors and transports them to an environment rich in tranquility.

There is a great anount of wildlife in the park and its rich, outdoorsy features appeal to the naturalist, the plant lover or one who would do nothing more than relax in beautiful surroundings. The Lost Lagoon Nature House, operated by the Stanley Park Ecology Society, offers natural history information, guided walking tours and volunteer opportunities. Lost Lagoon is the haven for many varieties of birds including swans, ducks and Canada geese. The rushes and small islands in the lake make a natural nesting place for the various species that live here.

There are also many recreational facilities available in Stanley Park, including a pitch and putt golf course bordered by the spring-blooming Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden. At the Park’s heart is the formal Rose Garden surrounded by mass perennial plantings looking their very best from April through September. This famous landmark is a destination for weddings and wedding photos.


Water Street, Vancouver, BC
For more info, please visit


We’re sad to say that Storyeum has officially closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy. Having personally visited this wonderful place, it’s a sad day for Vancouver tourism.

Storyeum is unofficially, but claimed to be, Vancouver’s newest tourist attraction, located at 142 Water Street, Vancouver. Storyeum is located in the largely touristy area of the Gastown neighbourhood ofVancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Storyeum offers up a live, interactive, educational, re-creation of British Columbia’s history through special effects, actors and actresses in a 65 minute show.

The Storyeum concept was officially conceived in 2000 by its founder Danny Guillaume. To help fulfill his concept, Danny founded Historical Xperiences Inc. (HCI) to create and manage Storyeum. Storyeum officially opened in June of 2004.

The theatrical adventure predominantly takes place under the streets of Gastown. The entire show duration is approximatly 65 minutes. For full enjoyment and story telling continuity, Storyeum breaks from the traditional performance/play by making guests move from set to set. In total, there are 8 sets, including the 360 degree visual demonstrations in the two passenger lifts.

  • Storyeum is bigger than six NHL regulation size ice rinks, 104,000 square feet.
  • Storyeum is one of the biggest tourist attractions built since EXPO 86.
  • The passenger lifts used in the first and last set are one of the world’s biggest.
  • The passenger lifts are capable of transporting 200 people or 25,000 pounds.
  • Storyeum’s replica locomotive in Set #7 is an exact replica of the Canadian Pacific Railway Locomotive #374, the first to pull passenger cars across Canada.
  • Storyeum initially was a $22 million CAD private investment project and was built in 6 months.
  • storyeum

Vancouver Trolley Company

logo_trolleyVancouver Trolley Company
875 Terminal Ave
Vancouver, BC, Canada
V6A 2M

Information: 604.801.5515
Toll Free: 1.888.451.5581
Website: www.vancouvertrolley.com
Email: info@vancouvertrolley.com

Enjoy the best of Vancouver, British Columbia, in our classic turn-of-the-century trolleys. Visit major attractions, famous parks and gardens, shopping areas and fine restaurants.

Tour at your own pace! Take the entire tour in 2 hours or get off at any of our stops to visit attractions, shop or dine. Then reboard another Trolley to continue your tour.

Daily Tours and Costs:
Adult $30. Child (4-12) $15. (CDN) Reservations are not necessary. Tickets can be purchased from our guides or from the driver when you board. Payment by cash, travellers cheque, visa, mastercard, amex or debit card(Canadian or American funds).

Location & Times:

trolley_1Tours start in Gastown at Stop #1 at 9:00 am and leave every 30 minutes thereafter.

Last tour leaves Gastown (Stop #1) at 4:00 pm and arrives

Vancouver Cruises

The Port of Vancouver is homeport for the Vancouver-Alaska cruise, one of the world’s most popular cruises. Annually from May to September more than 1,000,000 passengers, on more than 300 cruise ship sailings, pass through the Port of Vancouver’s Canada Place, and Ballantyne cruise ship facilities.

6071105578765874_venlogolAll major cruise ship lines are represented in Vancouver, such as: Princess Cruise Lines, Silversea Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Regent/Radisson Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines and more.

Are you planning a luxurious Alaskan cruise to or from Vancouver? Are you looking for a cruise to Hawaii? Cruises from Vancouver are world-renowned for their elegance, beauty and fun. Please feel free to browse the options below as you search for your next ocean adventure!

Vancouver International Airport

Vancouver International Airport

3211 Grant McConachie Way
Richmond, B.C. V7B 1Y7

A world leader in international air travel, Vancouver International Airport is located about 15 kilometres driving distance from downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Sea Island in Richmond. It is the second busiest airport in Canada, with non-stop flights daily to Asia, Europe, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and other airports within Canada. In 2004, 15.7 million passengers went through the airport, and in 2005 it served over 16 million.

Passengers travelling through YVR are no longer required to pay a separate Airport Improvement Fee; it now is included in the price of a ticket.

Vancouver International Airport is one of eight Canadian Airports that have U.S. border preclearance facilities.

yvr_2Vancouver International Airport has three terminals: The domestic terminal, which was constructed in 1968 and recently given a top-to-bottom renovation; the International Terminal, which was newly constructed in the early 1990s, and the South Terminal, which is a portion of the original terminal that is still in use. The International and Domestic terminals can effectively be considered to be one building divided into two sections, while the South terminal is located in a remote part of the airport. The South Terminal serves regional airlines which fly mostly within British Columbia.

Grouse Mountain

Guest Services & Central Reservations:

Telephone: 604.980.9311
Facsimile: 604.984.6360
Email: guestservices@grousemountain.com


Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd.
6400 Nancy Greene Way
North Vancouver, BC
V7R 4K9

Switchboard: 604.984.0661
Facsimile: 604.984.6360

Email: info@grousemountain.com

Open daily from 9am to 10pm, 365 days a year. Grouse Mountain continues to offer must-see, must-do experiences that no visitor to or resident of Vancouver should miss.

Join the 1.1 million people who visit Grouse Mountain annually. As Vancouver’s most visited four-season attraction, it is both a resort and an attraction, to be visited again and again.

There are many breathtaking, scenic landmarks to visit in Vancouver, BC, but Grouse Mountain is one of the most popular. Situated in North Vancouver and close to the equally famous Capilano Canyon suspension bridge, a day at Grouse Mountain will consist of a scenic cable car ride to the top of the mountain that takes about 8 minutes and offers stunning and spectacular views of Vancouver and the surrounding area as far as the eye can see.

As Vancouver is a hub of activity all year because of its temperate climate, Grouse Mountain is a standard place to visit through all the seasons. There is plenty to do on Grouse Mountain from Summer to Winter and all seasons in between. In the winter one escape into the serene beauty of a natural winter playground only minutes away from golf courses and the ocean below. Just a short distance from the Peak Chalet, you’ll find yourself a world away in the popular Munday Alpine Snowshoe Park. There are a variety of different groomed trails to choose from which guarantees that you’ll discover something different each time you visit.

One can also tour the professionally groomed beginner and intermediate snowshoe trails of the Blue Grouse Loop, or head for Dam Mountain – a pristine loop of three main trails that circle Dam Mountain and Thunder Bird Ridge. You can find the trails very easily with clearly marked signs from the top of Grouse Mountain. For the snowshoeing enthusiast, there are a variety of classes and courses offered in the winter months as well, including: Beginner Snowshoe Clinics, Ladies Only Snowshoe Clinics, Snowshoe Drop-In Nights, Race Prep Clinics and Snowshoe Fondue Tours.

The skiing and snowboard runs are spectacular and picturesque. As a leader and pioneer in the snow sports industry, Grouse Mountain offers world class Freestyle Terrain facilities and expertise with its Parks, events, and team. Grouse Mountain is home to two main Terrain Park Zones that attract skiers and riders of all ability levels and ages from across British Columbia and around the world. Whether you are new to freestyle terrain or you are a seasoned veteran, you will find features that match your ability and progression level. Grouse Mountain also offers a variety of educational classes taught by world class instructors from beginner to advanced.

Don’t have your gear? Feel free to step right into a pair of lightweight Atlas Snowshoes from the Grouse Mountain rental shop where one can also rent assorted ski and snowboard equipment. Are you unsure of the conditions? One can always contact Grouse Mountain guest services at 604.980.9311 for up to date weather and mountain conditions.

Other winter activities hosted on the mountain include things like the Skyride, ice slating, sleigh rides, the snow limousine, helicopter tours, a wildlife refuge, Theatre in the Sky and the annual Peak of Christmas – a favourite Vancouver holiday tradition with Santa Claus, reindeer, ice skating, sleigh rides, carolers and classic cartoons.

Summer activities include a wildlife refuge which is home to an assortment of animals like orphaned grizzly bears, grey wolves and a host of other species. This refuge is a world-renowned research, education, and conservation centre that is open for school field trips and to volunteers. The Adventures in Education program is a highlight for any children’s group or school. This program offers a wide variety of dynamic educational and interactive mountain adventures that include science, social studies and recreational components. These programs help teachers meet curriculum objectives while providing students with hands-on, motivating and fun experiences. Programs offered include wildlife education, First Nations’ cultural experiences, and recreational activities including ski and snowboard lessons, outdoor ice skating, nature hikes, guided snowshoe tours, and Peak of Christmas festivities.

The trip to the top of the mountain is around $32 CAD (including tax) for an adult and includes everything you find at the top of the mountain. You can also go parascending for an extra fee. Additionally, there are excellent restaurants and gift shop to pick out some souvenirs of your trip.

For more information on Vancouver, Vancouver landmarks and tourist information, please visitGoingtoVancouver.com at http://www.goingtovancouver.com

Going To Whistler

ski-imagePlanning a Whistler Blackcomb ski vacation, a tour or a simple family retreat to Whistler or Blackcomb mountain? At GoingtoWhistler.com, you can plan your ultimate winter ski vacation to Whistler, BC, Canada. From booking hotels in Whistler and booking your flight to Vancouver, BC, GoingtoWhistler.com will help you organize your custom itinerary for an unforgettable Whistler Blackcomb ski or vacation package.

Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travelers have to say about hotels in Whistler!


Travel Documents & Information

Do you plan to travel to Whistler Blackcomb from outside of Canada? Do you have your proper and current travel documentation? Please use the services below for information on how to get your new passport, visa or birth certificate.

When planning a trip abroad or out of the country, it’s always recommended to have a travel insurance that will cover any issues and that you can trust. AIG Travel Guard can provide you with coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellation, baggage, and more. Click here for a quote.

Whistler Hotels & Accomodations

Are you searching for accomodations for your stay in Whistler? Please use the convenient search tool below to search and book your hotel for your Whistler vacation.

Whistler British Columbia is among the most popular vacation destinations in North America for people who love the mountains, outdoor activities and the fresh air. Whistler has dozens of inns, condos, vacation rentals and hotels which accommodate skiers, tourists and mountain bikers. The hotels in Whistler range in price and quality from economical to luxurious five start resorts. The lodges and hotels in Whistler are sure to please most any traveler or tourist

The Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Lodge are the most luxurious of the Whistler hotels, and both are conveniently located adjacent to the Whistler Blackcomb ski lifts. There are other Whistler hotels, such as the Summit Lodge, which are located outside of the Whistler Village offering fabulous mountain views. When visitors are too tired to ski they can enjoy watching the ski slopes from their lodgings. Hotels which are situated right in the midst of Whistler Village, such as the Whistler Village Inn and Suites, have convenient access to all of the local restaurants and shops, making it easy to find your way around. Whistler’s impressive conference facilities are accessed easily from these centrally located hotels and accommodations.

As Whistler hosted a portion of the 2010 Vancouver Whistler Winter Olympic Games, many hotels and lodges underwent extensive improvements and renovations. The Athletes Village housed close to 2,500 competitors and officials, and the hotels in Whistler accommodated thousands of spectators. Most hotels in Whistler can be booked oonline and usually at a substantial savings. You will find many websites which you can use to seek out the best deals on Whistler hotels, and you will find it handy to let your mouse do all the work.

Since Whistler hotels are at their busiest during the popular winter ski seasons, there are often cheap deals available for hotels in Whistler BC at off-peak times, which visitors able to enjoy price reductions as big as seventy percent off. These can make Whistler a practical vacation destination for the cash-conscious traveller. Whistler hotels can assist with access to ski facilities year round, whenever the slopes are safe, and there’s plenty more to discover in the village itself. Aside from the beautiful views, visitors staying in Whistler hotels can enjoy access to some of Canada’s most beautiful mountain biking trails, and hiking trips are also popular. Whistler hotels provide a great base from which to explore this fantastic region. So take a little time to find the right Whistler hotel, and you could find yourself on a vacation which you will remember for the rest of your life.