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Sunday, 13 April 2014

A season in Whistler - 5 Things You May Want to Know

Whistler is a hotspot for skiers and snowboarders from all over the world, if you are thinking about heading over to the resort that is renowned for it's powder, have a read.

1. Money
Whistler is catered to its guests, and most of them will have a substantially bigger amount than you do. Wages are low and most seasonairre's live off their tip money, or employee perks. If you are doing a season here, you will most likely be living pay check to pay check. Serving jobs in more upmarket restaurants are the best jobs. Jobs with the mountain give you a free ski pass and other benefits, but usually you don't make any tips. However everyone has no money, and being a close-knit community, the more people you know the less money you will have to spend. For example if you get to know a tuning shop boy, you can get your snowboard waxed for a couple of beers. At my work we get vouchers to spend at work, so I can swap these for discounts in shops, free t-shirts, free drinks, even a taxi home if I'm lucky.

2. Community
As mentioned it is a close-knit community. I have met only two people who were born and raised in whistler over the last 6 months, and because most people have come from another country or town, they all understand what it is like moving here. When I first arrived shop assistants, bar tenders, waitress' were all giving me tips on what I should do to find a house/job. The Facebook groups - Whistler Buy and Sell, Whistler Winter 2013, etc. Are all really helpful. Whether you have lost your phone, need a free sofa or just want to ask a question, people are genuinely happy to help and give you advice. They want to share their thoughts and opinions. It also helps if someone breaks into your house in the middle of the night and steals your laptop - this happened to a chap on a season here and by the next day he had handed the culprit over to the police all thanks to Whistlerites on Facebook.

3. Activities
Depending what time you come depends on what activities you are. In the winter thousands flock for the snowboarding and skiing, in the summer it is for the biking. Aside from these there are other things to do but as a seasoniarre you're time will more than likely be spent drinking and working. If you have a bit of money then you can do all sorts of things; bungee jumping, zip lining, tubing. If you are here in the summer then days are spent down by the lake basking in the sunshine.

4. Housing
Housing in the winter is like a gold rush. There are so many people trying to find somewhere to live for the winter that housing is quite difficult. Dont get me wrong you can find somewhere, but that somewhere might be sharing a room with 3 others or sleeping in an unused sauna! Prices are expensive for what they are. I paid $500 for a shared room a 20 minute walk out of the village. It is hard to find a room you don't have to share or a room in the village for a decent amount of money. In the summer prices go down and there are more options. Check out Facebook groups and craigslist for rooms.

5. Nightlife
Whistler is abundant with drinking holes. You can easily go out any day of the week, as long as you have enough money to! Get a locals sticker for as many places as you can, it will save you money throughout the season. Garfs, Tommy's, Longhorns, Maxx Fish and Bills all do stickers. Moe Joe's also do a membership card. Monday's is 80's night at Tommy's, however Maxx Fish has taken over with there Monday night. They also run a night on Tuesday. Wednesday is Bill's night, Thursday is Garfs. Avoid Saturday and Sunday unless you want to queue for ages and spend the night with city folk. And Sunday is Longhorns and Moe Joes.







Thursday, 27 March 2014

Life of a seasonairre | Whistler

I have been living in Whistler on a Ski Season for the past 6 months and it has been a pretty amazing experience.

I was thrown into the seasonairre lifestyle within the first 4 days of arriving in Canada. I boarded a plane from America to Vancouver on the 4th September and arrived in Whistler two days later. My initial introduction to the ski resort was a somewhat quiet and chilled experience. I arrived at my hostel in Function Junction at 9:00pm to find my roommates were all tucked up in bed already - not what I was expecting! My roommates consisted of a hiker in her late 20's and two middle aged women, one I found out later was visiting her son who was on a ski season. All of whom were not really the kind of people I thought I would be socialising with, but very nice and considerate non-the-less. 

My real introduction was a couple of days later when I applied for a room in the village on a Facebook group. If you are thinking of doing a season in Whistler the Facebook groups are a lifesaver. My new home was staying with 3 other girls, two Canadians and one Australian. When I moved in there was also another girl staying for a couple of weeks on the sofa, a friend of one of the girls from home. The girl I took over the room from also came in and out, so it was really six of us in the house most of the time. 

 

Being in a prime location opposite Garfs in the village, it was a party house. My first week I was introduced to more faces than I can remember, and probably wouldn't recognise 80% of them at this point. It was definitely a great way to start my season. Unfortunately three of the girls were leaving to go home, so it was short-lived but they were great hosts while they were here, I was pretty sad to see them go. However I then got two new awesome housemates (again Australian!) who are now very good friends of mine, and have got me through the season when things get a bit tough.

My first week introduced me to the party scene of Whistler, I was going out almost every night. I had managed to get a job quite quickly, but being dead-season I didn't have many shifts yet, but I had my English money to keep me in the bars. It also introduced me to the drug scene of Whistler. There's definitely a big drugs and party scene here, I've never really been into drugs so it wasn't a big deal for me, but apparently they are a lot cheaper than Australia. Maybe that's why so many Australians come here! 



After a couple of months I had to move out and find a new place, the lease was up and I couldn't afford the winter rates in the village home. I had met a guy from England, when I say met, my meeting was him being thrown out of our flat after one of the girls had brought him home after a night out. He had a place going in his flat in Alta Vista, and not having found much on Craigslist I took it. Moving into a house where everyone knew each other was quite daunting, but they were all pretty awesome. Again our first few weeks were spent having house parties and drinking, most of us were still on few shifts, if we even had jobs, so we were all about and had savings to spend. The new house had ten of us all together. 


The property was pretty ramshackle, but had the feeling of a proper ski-bum home. The residents came from all over England, Scotland, Sweden, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, so quite a mix. You would think ten people would get on top of each other, but actually once we all started snowboarding and working as much as we could, the house was pretty empty. The house consisted of a couple that lived in a downstairs self contained part, me and another girl and six boys. As it usually happens when you live in a close proximity to the opposite sex, inevitably both us girls ended up hooking up with two of the boys in the house. 






I have now been dating a Canadian boy for the past 3 months. It got off to a pretty bumpy start, I didn't really want a boyfriend initially, especially one I would eventually have to leave behind - travelling and boyfriends don't really mix, unless you're doing it together and even then I'm still a bit sceptical. But it has actually been pretty nice having a boyfriend while away. I don't really get home-sick but I miss my family and friends from time to time, and having someone close to you definitely fills that gap. I leave in 2 months and he leaves in a month, so I have no idea what will happen, lets not think about that yet.



Once we all started working and finally after months of rubbish snow, got some powder, most of us stopped going out so much. Also once the savings dried up, living in Whistler is ridiculously expensive, so going out became a less frequent thing. If you don't have money, there isn't a lot to do in Whistler apart from snowboard. And no one has any money! And everyone skis or snowboards. 



My job didn't pay me very much, as most don't, so I have been living pay check to pay check, trying to make rent each month. So my life has been pretty chilled out over the last few months, it's like real life but way more chilled out, and just all round better. I have swapped my 9-5 job in an office, to come out and live with awesome people, in a beautiful country, where I have the option to snowboard every day, and at least for a couple of days after pay day, have some drinks. I wouldn't change it for the world, and I'm not ready for my next adventure just yet, so I have decided to do another season. 

I am spending my summer again at camp, this time as their social media coordinator, and then back to Whistler at the end of the summer. I plan to head to Australia after my season, so I will be on a one girl mission to save some money over next winter. Wish me luck!







A Little Vacation | Travel to Mayne Island

Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to a cabin on Mayne Island by my boyfriend for a few days. Mayne Island is beautiful and the weather was great for March. Here is a little video edit from my time there.




Tuesday, 14 January 2014

An American Road Trip

So a little while ago I went on a road trip from the West Coast of America to the East Coast. While on my trip I saw some amazing things and met some interesting people. So here are my highlights.



1. The Grand Canyon
An obvious choice. Honestly great beauties of nature are a bit lost on me. But the Grand Canyon is kind of an 'unmissable' opportunity. It is an amazing site to see, trying to imagine people coming across it back in the day, just on their travels is a pretty awesome thought.




2. Laura Plantation
I am sure there are a few plantations over America, but the Laura Plantation near New Orleans was a great experience. The site itself is in a good state, considering they had a fire not long ago, and the guides did an amazing job at bringing the story of the plantation to life.




3. Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas is a world of its own. It is completely different to any city I have ever visited before. It is completely an adults playground. For me 3 days was enough, but a truly unforgettable experience.





4. New Orleans, LA
Southern people were some of the nicest and friendliest I met along our travels. New Orleans is a crazy place, and the first that I felt history just walking around downtown. The French Quarter was my favourite, make a stop off at Cafe Du Monde for some doughnuts.






5. San Antonio, TX
San Antonio was one of my favourite cities. The riverwalk, although very touristy, is still very pretty. Take a trip to the Alamo, and have a visit to the Buckhorn Saloon - it is incredibly cheesy, but good fun.



6. Venice Beach
Again a pretty obvious choice. But I loved Venice beach. From the crazy outfits and performers, to the stacked gentlemen at the outside gyms. There is something new to see every two minutes! If you decide to get a tattoo while there, as I did, head to Ocean Front Tattoo. They were super friendly and amazing at sketching my design to the way I wanted.



7. Georgetown, TX
Georgetown is a small little town somewhere in Texas. We didn't get to see many little towns and this was one of my favourite places. This is the kind of 'America' you see on TV shows, such as the Gilmore Girls.



8. Panama City, FL
Panama City was brilliant. Apparently it is a Spring Break destination. We went at the wrong time of year and to us it was a sleepy beach town, which was perfect. Que two days of chilling on the beach, good food, friendly people and cheap rooms on the beach.



9. Miami, FL
Miami was everything I expected. We didn't get very long there but it is a must visit. I loved Miami, it felt like a holiday rather than travelling, but it was an awesome way to end the trip, with a bit of beach relaxation!



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Alta Vista Life | A Whistler Season

I have been in Whistler a few months now and have moved into an awesome house in Alta Vista. Check out the video for what we have been getting up to!