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Work in the fast paced environment of Whistler Kids or our Support roles for the winter season. No ski experience necessary!

Roles available

  • Denmaster
  • Outdoor Ranger
  • Kitchen Assistant
  • Lift Operator (Mountain Operations Team)
  • Tube Park (Mountain Operations Team)

Duration: Approximately 24 weeks (the whole season)
Dates: Mid November – late April each year. Check out similar roles in Whistler, or Banff.  Applications for 2024-5 open!

Arrival day: Thursday
Return day: Thursday
Eligibility: Good level of fitness required, along with relevant work experience (ski/snowboard experience is required for the Outdoor Ranger role)
Age: 18-30 to be able to apply for the work permit

Highlights

  • Earning money while living and working for the world-renowned Whistler Blackcomb.
  • Enjoying all the benefits of working for the snow school – season ski pass and discounts included as well as the chance to join ski instructor courses!
  • Comprehensive support & advice you’ll receive, particularly during our orientation
  • Developing a passion for winter sport, whether you are new to it, or have experience already

Upper Village, Whistler, BC V0N 1B4, Canada

Description

Whistler Kids is the Whistler Blackcomb Snow School designed for children aged 3-11. Whilst the instructors are the face of the snow school, its backbone is made up of the support staff during the ski season. They are the people who keep everyone happy and fed, keep the beginner slopes clear, the Kids Zones safe, and they always have a big smile on their face! Or join a team of people that thrive in the outdoors, and are dedicated to making the mountain run smoothly. Come work and play in the mountains!

If you have experience of working with children or the public, and like the idea of working at Whistler or don’t have the ski experience to be an instructor, we have a number of support roles available, all subject to experience and interview. You can also apply to be an outdoor ranger, kitchen assistant or den master. These places tend to go quickly so don’t leave it too late to book your place.

In all roles you can expect to earn approx $20-22 CAD per hour (based on 2022-23 rates, and be paid fortnightly).

We ask for a £180 payment when booking this programme. If, in the event we cannot find a job or interview for you in this department, we would look at other options for you with another employer.

 

Outdoor Ranger

Whistler Kids is not restricted to the beginner slopes and main buildings. There are also two adventure play parks – Tree Fort and the Magic Castle – that need to be maintained and supervised. The role of the Outdoor Ranger is to keep all of the Whistler Kids areas safe, animated and fun.

You’ll start work early in the morning, setting up the equipment on the nursery slopes and clearing snow in the parks. This role combines manual labour, working outdoors all day and supervising children.

To be a candidate for this role, you need to have previous experience working with children, be at least an intermediate skier/boarder (you need to transfer equipment between locations), have a keen sense of safety and have previous outdoor/manual work experience.

A great way to spend your career break, or gap year in a ski resort.

Kitchen Assistant

Within this role you will be helping to prepare the lunches for the children and staff each day. Having previous experience working around food and children is a real asset for this job but not essential. What is key is a positive outlook, willingness to learn and a big smile for the kids and staff alike.

You can expect to work in all roles within the kitchen. The job involves basic food preparation, dish-washing, setting up & clearing tables and serving food.

Each day we would rotate and do different tasks so we all had a chance to do different jobs in the kitchen. During the quiet times of the season (and when there was decent snow) we were allowed ride breaks which was pretty awesome! – Clare Barrett, Kitchen Assistant

Den Master

When you’re dealing with children aged 3-11, they are not going to all be happy all of the time!

The Den Master is someone who can help the instructors look after children who are upset, need the loo or do not want to ski – generally it is the 3-5 year olds who struggle the most with the cold temperatures associated with learning to ski. These children need to be able to come inside, warm up and cheer up so that they can head back out onto the mountain with the instructor. This is where the Den Master comes in with games, smiles and laughter!

This is not a full time ‘day care’ role. The parents have paid for their kids to ski so that is what they need to be doing. When all the children are happy, you will get involved in other support roles – helping out in the kitchen or assisting instructors on the beginner slopes.

For this role you need to have good experience of working with young children in a nursery or crèche setting. The more childcare experience the better for this role!

Lift Operator (Mountain Operations Team)

If you love the outdoors, and are an intermediate- advanced skier, and /or have a background in manual labour or farming, this is the role for you! YOu are the face of every guests experience, helping with queries, and ensuring everyone is loaded on and off of the ski lifts, safely. You are the copilot and concierge responsible for the safe operation a multi-million-dollar machine. You are responsible for the safe, friendly and efficient travel of our guests and fellow teammates as they navigate premier mountain terrain enjoying a 4 day working week, leaving extra time for skiingv or snowboarding!

Tube Park (Mountain Operations)

If you like working outdoors, and have excellent customer service and energy, the Tube Park is a great place for you. As part of the Mountain Operations team, you enjoy one of the best ´offices´ on the mountain, and enjoy a 4 day working week, leaving extra time for improving your skiing, or other activities. Day to day roles include: Starter, Lift Operator, and Ticket Validator – your job is to ensure the Tube Park is enjoyed by all ages, safely with a 5* guest experience. Great for those that enjoy active working, and a great team environment! 

Accommodation

  • Guaranteed bed in Whistler Blackcomb staff housing for the season
  • Housing is a real premium in Whistler, and our participants always comment how pleased they are that it is confirmed before arrival
  • Accommodation located on Blackcomb Mountain very close to the lifts – one of the best locations in the whole resort!
  • Share a room in a self-contained flat. Each flat caters for four people and has two bedrooms (with bunk beds), a lounge, bathroom and small kitchen
  • WiFi and bills included in the rent
  • Rent is deducted directly from your pay cheque at the rate of approx $15-18 (roughly an hour’s pay) per night

Food

  • The accommodation is self-catered with a small kitchen to be able to cook simple meals. The kitchen has a sink, fridge/freezer, hob, microwave and storage space
  • Lunch is provided on the days that you are working
  • Whistler is a foodies paradise offering cuisine options from around the world

What is the selection process?

December onwards– Complete your online booking form and pay the booking deposit. This secures your place amongst other hopeful internship candidates. This does not guarantee your place on the programme yet, but rather the deposit secures you in our pool of candidates that will be sent to the team at Whistler for final interviews.

A member of the team will organise a call with you to get to know you, your motivations and to go over any work or volunteer experience. It is essential that all applicants have childcare, coaching or teaching experience. We will give you an overview of the program and the process and give you some tips and tricks to help your application (if needed).

January– Apply for your working holiday visa for Canada through IEC — (opens every year Jan- October). You should be between 18-30 years to be eligible.

April / May – We will host a resume and interview workshop to ensure your resume is the best it can be before it is sent to the team for interview selection. This programme is highly competitive so we ensure every applicant is well prepped and prepared. 121 sessions are also held for those that prefer private coaching.

July / August – Interviews with Whistler Blackcomb are held in July/August via Zoom /  Skype and last 30-45 minutes.

September – If successful you receive an official email inviting you to join the Snow Support team. Those unsuccessful will be offered alternative options for the winter or their gap years either in Whistler, or other bespoke project ideas.

October – Our unique pre- departure briefing is held via video conferencing which covers topics such as kit lists, insurance, flight details, arrivals and departures, and much much more. You also get to have a private Q&A with your future team lead, and fellow team mates!

Our Oysters are more informed and knowledgeable before they arrive, than many that join from other companies. Previous Oyster Worldwide participants have won various awards and many stay on and progress into other roles. return for the following seasons, or join our Rep program to help the next year´s participants.

November – Departure. You are introduced to the team of reps that will look after you during the season, and the first few days are spend in orientation, checking into your housing, and ensuring you are set up for success before you start your training!

Travel arrangements

Airport: Vancouver (YVR)
Arrival day: Usually a Thursday – this will be confirmed before you book your flights
Transfer details: Assuming you arrive with the rest of the group, we will transfer you to a hostel in Vancouver for the first night. The next morning, Tory shows you where you can register for your Social Insurance Number before you hop on the coach and head up the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) to Whistler. The journey takes about two and a half hours. On arrival, we’ll get you checked in and give you time to settle into your accommodation before beginning our thorough orientation.
Departure day: Usually a Thursday. If you are flying home on our end date, the airport transfer is included. If you are returning on a different date you will need to organise your own transport

As an ATOL bonded company we can book flights for you from the UK or elsewhere. If you are flying with the group from London, we will see you off at Heathrow on departure day.  On arrival, our rep Tory will pick you up at Vancouver Airport and transport you into the city.

If you want to arrange your own flights to Vancouver, that’s fine too. If you arrive at the same time as the rest of the group, the airport transfer will be included, otherwise you will just need to make your own way to the hostel for the first night.

Supporting You

Dual-national Tory (she is British and Canadian) took her gap year in Tremblant, went back to the UK to complete her degree and returned to Whistler to become a ski instructor. She is married to Mike, one of Whistler’s most respected ski instructors, and they have two young children. Tory’s full time job is as the VP at Whistler.com. She has been our representative since the beginning and knows what she’s talking about, having done it herself!

On arrival, Tory will arrange a short orientation course and be in close contact with you over the first couple of days. As time goes on, Tory will take more a back seat and be there as a helpful friend should you need any help or advice with her team of reps being your main point of contact. Once a month Tory and the reps host a meet up with the Oyster group which provides the chance to chat through any issues you might have over dinner or team activity (escape room, ice skating, bowling etc). Tory is a local expert on where to go and what to see in the area.

Our representatives are there to be a helpful friend to you and steer you through difficulties of any kind. Tory will keep us updated on your health and welfare throughout.

Read more about Tory in our ‘meet the reps‘ blog.

Included

  • Access to your own personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the program and manage your booking
  • Dedicated contact time with an experienced destination manager to discuss the project, answer any of your questions and for us to find out more about you
  • Help and advice from our UK office before arrival and whilst you are away
  • In-country support
  • Pre-departure information covering medical, safety and project advice
  • Gold level, 24/7 Pharos crisis management and incident support cover
  • Financial protection: ATOL (if we book your flights); IPP (if we don’t book your flights)
  • Thorough orientation on arrival
  • Accommodation (see the ‘accommodation’ section above for details)
  • Advice on visa requirements
  • Oyster plants a tree in Africa with TreeAid to help reduce the impact of global carbon emissions
  • UK briefing session covering childcare issues and work advice
  • Meeting a senior manager from Whistler Kids at our briefing session (conducted online)
  • Oyster will place you with pre-prepared interview slots based on your job preference,
  • Organisation of staff accommodation before arrival
  • Full season Epic ski pass, with staff discounts, once you begin your job
  • Arrangement of transportation to your accommodation from the airport
  • One night in Vancouver or Squamish hostel when the group arrives in Canada
  • Thorough orientation when you arrive in Whistler
  • Assistance organising your Social Insurance Number and bank account (with TD Bank in Whistler)
  • Assistance and support from our representative, Tory, throughout the season, including monthly social ‘meet ups’
  • Wages paid fortnightly
  • In-resort discount on buying skis and boots when you first arrive in Whistler
  • Team building activity during the orientation
  • Unique Oyster hoody
  • Bus ticket back to Vancouver Airport on the programme end date

On your return:

  • Welcome home pack
  • Certificate of Recognition (on request)
  • References (on request)

Not Included

  • Flights – as an ATOL bonded company, Oyster can book flights for you
  • You need a valid passport that meets the requirements of the country you will be travelling to
  • Insurance (covering your time with Oyster and any planned independent travel)
  • Any costs associated with changing your return flight date if you need to
  • Independent travel costs
  • Home country travel costs
  • Spending money for additional trips, food and entertainment
  • Be eligible for the Canadian IEC Working Holiday Program (sign up for our free application guide)
  • Accommodation and food costs, approximately C$20 (£14) per day. Accommodation cost is taken directly from your pay cheque
  • Police check for immigration purposes (approx. £55)
  • Cost of IEC Working Holiday Work Permit and biometrics fee – C$338

Project story

“I always enjoy visiting Whistler and hearing the stories from our participants and great feedback from management. We’re proud of all our Oysters and I love making people´s dreams of moving to Canada, a reality!´.. says  Sami.

More Information

Working for Whistler Kids is hard work but immensely fun. The Whistler Ski support jobs generally start by 8.30am each day. You will begin by setting up your area and getting ready for the day ahead. As a Den Master, you will assist the instructors with getting the children ready for their lessons, helping out on the nursery slope and, importantly, dealing with any children who are having a tough day.

In the kitchen, our Kitchen Assistants are busy in the morning preparing food for the children and staff. At lunch time, it’s all hands to the deck to serve the food and clear up in between sittings before a major clean up after lunch.

In both roles, expect to finish work by 4pm.

The Outdoor Rangers have a slightly longer day (no bad thing when you are hourly paid!). Expect to start work at 7.30am and be finished by 4.30pm.

All the Canada ski season jobs are full time and you can expect an average of 4-5 days work per week across the season. Working in a tourist resort means that there are fluctuations in the number of guests and therefore the number of hours of work you will get. During peak times, such as Christmas, you may be working 6 or even 7 days per week. In the quieter times you may only get 2-3 days work per week. Each pay cheque will be different so there will be times you need to live on a budget. The great thing about fewer shifts though is that you’ll be able to ski on your days off and did we mention that a season-pass is included?!

Participants head out towards the end of November and the season generally finishes for Whistler Kids in mid-April. The exact date depends on how good the snow is! Our programme runs until the end of April to give you some time to enjoy the spring skiing and relax after a busy season, before heading home or continuing your travels.

This depends on the support role that you are looking to work in.

Den Masters and Kitchen Assistants do not need to have any previous ski or snowboard experience. You will be able to walk to work without the need to ski/board. On your days off, you’ll certainly have lots of opportunity to improve your skills!

For the Outdoor Ranger position you would need to be an experienced skier or snowboarder (minimum of 4 weeks experience) as this role involves moving equipment around the resort whilst on your skis/board.

When the snow is there! You will arrive at the start of the winter season towards the end of November and then work until the end of the season in April.

These roles are great for people who do not have as much ski experience or who are snowboarders. Excluding the Outdoor Ranger role, you will not need to ski at work so you can concentrate on developing your skills on the mountain during your time off.

The great thing about having a paid ski season support job within Whistler Kids is that you get the same benefits as the instructors – which means, among other things, you get a season long ski pass included with the job!

Working in Canada for a season is a great use of your gap year or career break. Not only will it enhance your CV but it will also enhance your independence and confidence. You will be living and working in another country for 5 months and developing your skills.

The winter in Whistler is perfect for a ski season. Temperatures remain below 0 on the mountain for the majority of the season meaning fantastic snow. Even when the village warms up, temperatures as low as -20 are not uncommon mid-winter on the mountain.

It can take up to 6 weeks before your first pay cheque arrives so you will need to arrive in Canada with enough money to feed and entertain yourself. We would suggest having a minimum of £1000 available, plus extra if you are buying skis/boots. Once you start earning money, you should be able to live on the money you earn day to day. You might want savings in place to cover any extra trips or outings that you want to do.

A requirement of the CIC Working Holiday Program is that you arrive in Canada with the equivalent of $2500 in your account (approx £1600).

You will be able to set up a Canadian bank account with the help of our local representative at TD Bank in Whistler, which you will be able to get a card for. Credit cards are advised for emergencies, as well as enough cash to see you through the first few days. There are ATM’s in the village so you won’t need too much cash with you.

We recommend opening a free account with Revolut with you as well. You can read more on our blog here.

You will need to apply for a Canadian IEC Working Holiday permit before you go. To be able to qualify for the working holiday visa, you must be between the ages of 18 and 30, and hold a passport from one of the eligible countries stated by the Canadian Embassy: Australia, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea Rep, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom. This costs C$250 approximately (£150).

You will also need a Police Check for immigration purposes and this costs approximately £55.

We will help with this once you have booked a place on the programme.

You will need to make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date (any less can be possible but is likely to cause delays at immigration).

Most people book with Oyster on their own and travel with the rest of the group. The group meets at a UK briefing course before you go to Canada and we also create a Facebook group each season.

You will be able to travel with a friend if you wish, please state this on your booking form.

Please visit your doctor or travel nurse to find out. It is unlikely that you will need anything in addition to your routine vaccinations, which should be up to date.

For any information related to Covid-19, please see the Fit for Travel website or the UK government’s travel advice page for Canada.

There is a hospital and multiple pharmacies located in Whistler village. For anything more serious, the main hospitals are in Vancouver.

Life in the Snow School is very safe, as it has to be for the young children! However you should always follow advice given by your employers to keep yourself and the children safe.

Whistler is a very safe village in general but it is always advised to keep valuables secure and stick together when you first arrive.

Staff accommodation, HOUSE, is located halfway up Blackcomb Mountain. This means that you are pretty much ‘ski in ski out’ and that your commute to work involves a ski down to the village creating fresh tracks in the morning! To get back to your accommodation you can take a lift, or if the lifts are closed, either take a bus or walk up the mountain. This takes about 20 minutes. Whistler Kids has three bases in the resort.

If you are working at the Creekside base, you will need to get a bus from Whistler Village each day. The bus takes 10 minutes and the cost of the monthly pass is approximately $70.

Our participants live in staff housing on the side of Blackcomb Mountain, referred to as ‘HOUSE’. There will be 4 of you living in a small apartment (usually with other Oyster people).

Each apartment has 2 bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom. You will be sharing a room with bunk-beds. On each floor of the building there are about 10 apartments. The Oyster group all live together in the one building which means you get to know everyone in the group really well.

The cost of the accommodation comes directly off of your pay cheque and equates to approximately an hours pay per day (around $12 per night).

Your accommodation is self catered so, for the majority of time, you will be cooking for yourself. This is far cheaper than eating out every night! There are supermarkets in the village where you can stock up.

When you are working, you will be entitled to a meal at lunch time. This usually consists of a soup, main meal (pizza, pasta, hot dog, chips etc) and dessert (cookies, jelly, cake etc).

If you are feeling flush, or it’s a special occasion, there are plenty of places in Whistler to eat out with something for every appetite. Expect to pay C$13-20 for a main meal.

There is a very good staff deal that people tend to take advantage of a couple of times a week at a restaurant close to the staff accommodation.

WiFi is included in your rent and each apartment has its own broadband connection.

Pretty much all public spaces in Whistler offer free WiFi from pubs to cafes and restaurants. Even the lift stations have WiFi!

NB: If you are keen to take a laptop with you, you should be aware that most insurance companies will not insure it.

You should take an ‘unlocked’ mobile phone with you to Canada (or you can buy a cheap Canadian one) and purchase a local ‘pay as you go’ SIM card. This is useful for contacting the representative and the rest of the group as local calls are very cheap.

Expect to pay around $40 per month for your mobile/cell contract. No need to waste money on a data plan as the WiFi is accessible all over. All you need is a deal with inclusive minutes and texts.

You can buy international phone cards to call the UK for $10+tax from any supermarket/phone shop this will give you hundreds of minutes to use any way you like, including calling the UK.

You will need a phone as part of your job.

Whistler is in the West of Canada, on Pacific Standard Time and is 8 hours behind GMT (GMT -8).

Canada, like the US, operates on 110V, 60 cycle electric power. You should bring an adapter with you that has a two pronged (flat) plug.

Most people use their days off to take advantage of their free ski pass and hit the slopes.

There is plenty to do in Whistler besides skiing and snowboarding. ZipTrek is an educational tour of Whistler’s coastal temperate rainforest that lasts for approximately 3 hours. You learn you all about sustainability and conservation as well as ‘zip lining’ along a number of wires that cross the Fitzsimmons Creek. This is an exhilarating thrill, hurtling across the rainforest at tremendous speeds!

Further afield, Vancouver is 2 hours bus ride from Whistler and you can head there to shop or to watch an ice hockey match. There are usually good discounts available for staff, and sometimes free, coaches to Vancouver.

Working in a ski resort means that the hours you work are dictated by the weather and the number of tourists that are on holiday there. During the peak seasons (Christmas, New Year, and school holidays) you could be working 5 or 6 days a week but then in quieter periods this might reduce to 3-5 days a week.

The drinking age in British Columbia is 19.

As an employee at the resort, you will get very good rates on equipment and food at selected outlets. For example, 50% off food in some restaurants and 20% off general ski gear.

You will get to know our representative well in the first few days as they help you settle into life in Canada. You will go through an induction that involves a tour of the resort, assistance with setting up Social Insurance Numbers, bank accounts and mobile phones. You will also be introduced to your employer.
Once you start work, the representative takes more of a back seat role but is there as a helpful friend should you need assistance. Once a month, they will run a meet up with you and the rest of the group. Day to day, you will be under the supervision of your manager and supervisor at work.

Staff at Oyster’s head office and in-country will be responsible for your safety and welfare while you are on our programme. This will start from the moment you are picked up from the airport until the end date of the programme, when you will make your own way back to the airport. If you are arranging your own flights and arriving earlier or later than the rest of the group on arrival day, you will be responsible for getting yourself to the hostel in Vancouver where you will meet the rest of the group.

Before and after the Oyster programme, you will be outside Oyster’s responsibility and should make sure that you act safely and avoid risk. This is also true if you choose to get involved in activities during your time off. We will give you plenty of guidance and advice about this.

Got a question or want to chat to Project Manager Sami who has first-hand experience of the project? Call +44 (0)1892 771976or email: – [email protected].

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