Working the season in Canada

Discussion in 'Questions & Answers' started by Alice93, Apr 24, 2012.


    Alice93 New Member

    I am 19 years old and on my gap year. I'm super interested in doing the 2012/13 season in Canada. Anyone got any tips, advice, or wise words?

    I have been looking at using an organisation such as OWH.. but before I commit I would like some feedback from anyone who has used them or something similar. Or is it even worth that, and should I just turn up at the job fair and hope for the best?

    Also has anyone lived in staff housing? As I am going over alone and won't know anyone and have been told this is a good way to meet people.

    If anyone has previously done a ski season in Whistler or anywhere in Canada I would love to hear about your experience [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    All I can say is, be careful, it's addictive. I went to Canada for "just one season" 23 years ago and I'm still there!

    webberchoked Active Member

    agree with sly! ive only done 2 but will be back for a 3rd this summer!

    advice is 100% do it.

    because you're quite young, id say go with owh as they will sort everything out for you unless you have experience with organising that sort of thing.

    i can only comment on whistler and lake louise but i think whistler is a far superior experience. in terms of staff housing, try and get into brio.

    try and save up as much money before you go. you wont make much money there.

    besides that, expect to shred loads and have tons of fun!
    Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Addicted Member Season Pass Holder

    Sac up and show up to a ski town early and find some work. You'll have a much more Canadian experience and get to ski at a cooler hill. Sly might even give you a job!

    Karen97 Dedicated Member

    Do it your self. I'm also another fan of Brio. Whistler is awesome, you'll make heaps of friends quickly.

    Sh4d0w9 Active Member

    I haven't been over to Canada myself, but my friends who headed over in October last year landed mid-October, went to the job fairs at Whistler and had no issues finding work or a house to rent.

    From my time working in Australian resorts, I'd recommend staff accommodation for your first year. Once you've done your first season you will know how the resort works, have some good connections and be able to organise your own accommodation with mates for the second season (it will happen). Yes staff accommodation is small and you will be living on top of other people; but that is part of the fun. And as Sly said, you will get addicted.

    And I agree with the comments about saving as much as you can before you go. We aim to leave the mountain with as much money as we came with. Very few people save money over the season.

    davidjames Active Member

    IMO those OWH programs are not worth it, finding work in a resort is easy given you have a head on your shoulders and something inside it.
    Staff accomm should be treated as a last resort. Often it's the same price as private, but only a fraction of the quality. As for meeting people, I'm assuming Alice means your a girl. 19yo girl in a ski town...pretty sure you wont have a hard time meeting people and making friends. Resorts are a sausage fest. Not meaning everyone is only down for one thing and one thing only, but you will definitely be in the minority.

    As for where to go, everyone is going to tell you something different, all you can do is keep an open mind and pick what appeals to you most, whether thats Whistler or somewhere a little less crowded like Big White. Ie. crazy party town or somewhere slightly more mellow with a less crowded hill. Whether you want to actually save money by going to a resort where things can be a little cheaper, or drop the coin and be in Whistler.

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Going with something like OWH means you'll pay for a bit of peace of mind. The job could be almost anything at all, but it does give you the ability to show up a little later and not burn through cash waiting for snow to fall and work hours to kick in. On the other hand, it's well established that there is a lot of turnover in ski area employment. Jobs that were nowhere to be found in November are suddenly plentiful right after Christmas when the silly season and its crazy long hours burns out the wannabes. If you're on the ground and talking to people, you'll find something with ease. The sticking point is accoms. Getting there early means securing a better place - or securing anything at all - but of course you are paying rent for longer that way. I'll leave it to folks with more recent experience to detail the resorts with the most plentiful/nicest/nastiest accoms.

    Darksidepoints Active Member

    I think that OWH, Working Holiday club, Global and simular are a rip off. I'm not familiar with OWH but out of the other two WHC seems better as everyone I met on that program had jobs whereas with global a lot were hanging out in Vancouver looking for their own jobs anyway while they waited for Global to find them something.

    Applying for the visa is easy, and if you are not capable of opening your own bank account or getting a Canadian tax file number by yourself well I don't think owh could help you anyway. I understand that going overseas for the first time is scary and you want to pay to feel secure that everything will be sorted for you, but it really is easy to do it on your own. Trust me, I have done it in four different countries and only two of them spoke English.

    You have to go earlier to attend the hiring fairs though as they are in early October then you don't start work until mid December. So you need more startup money. I worked housekeeping in Vancouver while I job hunted.

    If you are open to anything, you'll get work easily. I met some people who wanted to work or Big White only, or other particular resorts and were upset the companies had found them a job elsewhere and didn't want to take it. Some of the smaller resorts are practically begging for staff. Manning Park, Jasper and Powder King are all places you can get into easily do to their smallness and remote locations. I'd happily work at any one of them.

    Staff accom is good if it's your first season at a resort because you'll make a hundred friends and you won't have to worry about buying furniture. I'd start there, you can always move out. If you do a second season you'll know where the best place to live is and can get in early.

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Thanks Darkside - recent experience is better than my old fogey glory days waffle! But... she's right: finding a job is best done in person, lots of stuff doesnt get posted online, and often only the large employers at a resort, like the mountain itself or a large hotel or two, will participate in the hiring fair. Smaller employers like restos and cafes, independent accoms operators and the like, they often have off season businesses and don't have time for the fair, getting their employment requirements sorted out closer to snow fly. Those are the sort of jobs that never get posted, just word of mouth. The internet has had no effect on that kind of employment. Back in my day..... we just went and looked for a job, mooched around the resort talking to people and getting tips and leads. Nothing has changed, it's still the best way.

    One thing that has changed, I understand some resort hiring fairs will do interviews via skype, you might not have to go in person in frickin October!

    Darksidepoints Active Member

    I guess it comes down to:

    Would you rather spend the $1000 to know you have a job lined up, wherever they choose to send you.


    Do you think you would rather use that $1000 to live in Canada for the few weeks it might take you to attend interviews while you travel around and do tourist things.

    bobly Active Member

    Surely it would come down to the personalilty of the job seeker a little.

    If you're shy and lack a little confidence, quieter personalilty type and it's your first time away from home pay the 1k and follow the process.

    If you're confident and independent and find it easy to approach people and engage with them, keep the money and go and enjoy yourself while finding employment.

    my 2 cents.


    at9 New Member

    All the OWH places for Whistler were gone in Feb but they still have places for other resorts. From all the looking into OWH it's seems that everyone who used them said it wasn't worth it unless you can't get to the resort early and look for a job. This isn't first hand experience but I'm just going to try and get to Whistler beginnning of October and try my luck.

    davidjames Active Member

    Go there, you will find a job. Even if it i a few weeks into the season, turnover rates in resorts are high. Usually within the first few weeks a jobs will come up after the useless people are fired.
    I was a bum for the first 14 weeks of my first season, then we I decided I wanted to work I had a job within 2 days of looking.

    Darksidepoints Active Member

    Talking to people who paid the agencies in Vancouver when I was waiting to start my job at Revelstoke, they pretty much all said that it was a rip-off but they didn't know what to expect and felt it would be safer to just pay the money. I can understand if you are 19 and have never been working overseas before, it's scary. You can do it on your own though, I promise!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013

    davidjames Active Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Before the internet we all found jobs by just showing up and asking around, and not in bloody October either. Employers depended on it just as much as we did. Remember a huge number of resort jobs with small employers never get posted online or in newspapers, they just go by word of mouth.

    jk20 New Member

    Just wondering how much money would I need saved up if I was to go and work a season in canada?
    -food and drink
    -money for anything
    - etc.

    also how much roughly is the pay? heard its not too good.

    and what would be the best way about getting a job?

    cheers in advance

    CarveMan Moderator Commercial Member

    Use the search function, dozens of threads on this topic.

    Darksidepoints Active Member

    5 or 6 grand. You could get away with 4 if you didn't want t buy any gear or do any travel while you are there. You might come home with 1 or 2 still in the bank if you are lucky but best to have it.

    You'll get $9 - $9.50 an hour as a resort worker, as a bartender/server you'll get 7 or 8 plus tips.

    I started with 4g in my 'Canada fund' account and came home with $500 still in there. I used it to pay my rent for the first few months and also for about $1000 of gear, and to travel around BC and visit friends and other resorts. My flight and travel insurance were paid for out of my NZ account so I'd say I started with 6 all up.

    I stopped working at the end and started using my credit card instead, I figured for the $9.50 an hour to slave away I was better off just boarding every day, using the credit card and paying it back when I got home. So now I am living with my parents and working as a bar slave all weekend but I have already paid back half of it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Minimum wage in BC is now $10.25 an hour for any work except liquor servers who get $9.00.

    cin Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    why is that?
    Is it seen as a bit of a cushy job or something?

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty Season Pass Holder

    they are actively discouraging liquor servers!! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Tips make their wage a lot higher, $25/hr or more is typical.

    Darksidepoints Active Member

    When did it go up? I was getting $9.50 just a month ago. I thought that was the minimum but there was another lifty on these boards who said they got $9.40, though may not have been in BC.

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    May 1st, the last step in BC's big minimum wage catch up.