After a couple days in Vancouver I joined up with my group and headed north, up the sea to sky highway, route 99 to Whistler. Looking out of the bus window and gazing up onto snow crested mountains it all started to come together. Taking it all in I found myself drifting into to thoughts of my mothers time here. The fact that she had travelled along the exact same road 43 years ago. I felt a connection, that fuzzy skin tingling kind of sensation you often get with a good movie. I felt content and full of anticipation about my arrival in what was going to be my new home. I knew then I had 100% made the right decision.
Whistler Blackcomb (WB) aka the mountain have 3 staff housing sites. Glacier, Brio and Westside. Most units are set up pretty much the same, 4 people per unit, 2 people sharing a room (bunkbeds – yey!). The units are compact and functional. It works. It’s actually ok. Key for me was to have engaging flatmates that were fun, clean, respecting and tidy. I got lucky and we all live together quite easily, happily and stress free. Sure it could be bigger, better, blah blah etc. etc., but it’s not forever, for a short time it works! Rent is $12.65 a day and is billed bi-weekly at $177.10. There is a wax room, small gym and yoga studio all on site. At 18 Below Base II (5 min walk) staff meals are also provided for $7 for a pretty decent sized feed. Combined with various planned activities WB do a great job here.
Some first impressions of Whistler & Blackcomb
anyone for golf?
top of 7th heaven
first run around Lost Lake
Christmas in Whistler
Blackcomb Glacier ice cave
playing around on Lakeside bowl
views for days 🙂
Epic views from the Peak2Peak
shredding it under Peak2Peak
First time down down Spanky’s Ladder
Glacier staff housing is ski-in skit-out right onto Blackcomb mountain. For me it’s a 10 minute walk to work. To get into town there is the option of the free number 7 bus (operates 5:45 am – 2:40 am). A walk/run down the village run/staff hill ski slope (5 min) or the option to take the Excalibur Gondola (operates 8:00 am – 6:30 pm).
Best things about staff housing
Your roomies (if you get good ones)
The rent at only $354.20 a month (all bills included)
100% reliable hot showers with gusto…sooo good!
The rooms are always warm!!
Worst things about staff housing
Your roomies (if you get bad ones)
No oven to cook with (makes cooking options somewhat limitted)
Bunk beds (several factors here!)
Will need a good deep clean when you move in
Internet speed maybe slow to begin with (invest in a new router and/or call the operator)
Some honest words. Lets face it, it’s probably fair to say a large proportion of the working population that come to Whistler for the Winter season are not really here to work. Work is just a way to be able facilitate spending as much time on and off the mountain as their wallets will allow.
For me I had a slightly different angle.
My mother emigrated to Vancouver in 1974 with her girlfriend to further progress her career as a Physiotherapist and to escape the failing British economy. Post WWII Great Britain had developed into a Welfare state that was loosing its grip on the economy and public opinion. During the early 70’s the trade unions and the miners strikes were holding the country to ransom. Combined with high unemployment and double digit inflation peaking at 20% times were tough for many – I can perfectly understand her decision and respect her courage to leave the UK and seek a better life.
During my childhood my mother would sometimes talk of her life in Canada. Mostly of her long weekend trips out of Vancouver to the ski slopes of Whistler. In that day Whistler hadn’t even been developed. The resort if you could even call it that was operating out of Creekside, it wasn’t until 1978 that the start of the construction of Whistler village even began. During her 4 years in Vancouver she made frequent trips to Whistler and actually met my Biological father, an American at a pig spit roast at the Roundhouse. In 1978 they were married. In 1980 I was born, not in Canada but in Bend, Oregon. It is thanks to this time that I became an American and a Canadian citizen.
T-bar up whistler glacier
line up at the Creekside Gondola
mum at a bbq
the roundhouse as it used to be
I think these stories must have built up in me over the years. I came to Whistler to go back to where it all began. To seek my routes. My intentions were to work, to integrate, to live a mountain life, to let it be the place where I would start anew.
Fact: Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America and the 12th largest in the world with 8,171 acres, 37 lifts and more than 200 trails across a variety of glade skiing, open bowls and 3 glaciers.