Get the Perfect Seasonal Job In Whistler, Tips from the Experts
So the jaw-dropping mountains and endless adventure of Whistler Blackcomb have caught your attention. You’re dreaming of days spent earning your turns, surfing the powder, and then reliving it all an hour later over an ice cold craft beer. It’s what drew most of us to Whistler in the first place, and what keeps a lot of us around. But while life in Whistler can be simple, it isn’t cheap. So we guess you’re looking to find a job in Whistler too.
And that’s not such a bad thing. Our jobs are where we found our best friends, the people we ski with, laugh with and the ones who look out for us when we’re having a bad day. Not to mention, there are tons of perks that come with jobs in Whistler. From free ski passes to super cheap accommodation to free meals at the fanciest restaurants in town, every job in town has some serious benefits.
But when you first start searching for a job in Whistler, it can be hard to know where to begin. There are tons of opportunities out there, from restaurant servers to rental techs, maintenance workers to zipline guides. Which is awesome – because you’re sure to find something you love. But it can also seem like a lot of work to search through them all and work out where you’ll fit best. So we’ve pulled together some of the top tips on how to find a job, how to choose the best one, and all the epic perks you’ll get along the way.
The Basics -What You Need to Know About Whistler Jobs
The first thing you need to know about jobs in Whistler is that there’s plenty of them. Over 3 million people visit Whistler every year. That means a huge number of hotels, restaurants, bars, tour companies, pizza shops, breweries (and even one pretty cool axe throwing company)! It’s estimated that there are over 630 companies and over 16,300 full-time jobs in Whistler!. Almost half of those are seasonal positions, perfect for anyone starting their first ski season in Whistler. That’s a whopping 7,600 seasonal jobs every year! And, while not so famous, summer in Whistler is just as busy these days, with 14,600 jobs available in summer too.
And don’t worry about being new to town. Over 10% of the population here are temporary foreign workers. And most of those come from the UK, the Philippines, and of course, Australia. (If you didn’t already know that Whistler is known as “Whistralia” to the locals, you’ll work it out pretty quickly when you arrive).
What You Need To Know Before You Move to Whistler
Your first job in Whistler probably won’t be like any job you’ve had before. You probably didn’t have the 20cm rule at your last job, and we’re almost certain you didn’t get to sneak in some powder laps on your lunch break. So here’s a few other key things you need to know before you get here:
You’ve Got to Get Yourself a Work Permit
First things first, If you aren’t Canadian, you’ll need a work permit to work in Whistler. If you’re British, Australian, Kiwi, or from loads of other countries, you can get an IEC Working Holiday Visa. These visas are pretty easy to get. They give you one or two years to live and work anywhere in Canada. If you’re not eligible, don’t worry – plenty of employers will sponsor employees for the right job.
Don’t Expect To Earn Your Fortune
Minimum wage in Canada is $12.65 so you can expect to earn anything from $13-20 per hour, depending on your job. But don’t panic, plenty of jobs will earn you great tips. For example, while servers do have a slightly lower minimum wage, they more than make up for it in tips. If you’re lucky enough to work at one of the high-end restaurants, you could earn hundreds of dollars a night at the busiest times of year.
Save Some Money For Your Rent
Know that rent in Whistler does not come cheap. With so many people desperate to get a slice of this epic mountain town, be prepared to spend a good portion of your paycheck on your house. If you’re lucky enough to get staff accommodation, you could pay as little as $500 per month. Otherwise, expect to pay from $600-1000 per month, especially in winter.
Make The Most of The Perks
Look, no-one comes to Whistler to make money. We come here for the lifestyle – the days spent outside, the adventure, the friendship and the freedom. And luckily for us, most employers work hard to create great perks to make your season way more fun.
The most obvious is a free ski pass – offered to everyone who works for Whistler Blackcomb. Staff housing is another great benefit to look out for. More and more businesses are investing in accommodation to keep staff comfortable and happy. Then there are the adventure perks. Depending on where you work, you could get paid to ski, get your hands on free snowmobile tours and bungee jumps and get major discounts on your favourite outdoor brands. You just have to make the most of it while you’re here!
What Kind of Jobs Can You Choose From?
Like we said, there are tons of jobs in Whistler. Most jobs are in recreation, accommodation, food and beverage or retail. So it’s pretty likely you’ll find yourself working in one (or more) of those roles. But even within that, there’s a huge range of jobs. Here’s just a few that we thought of:
- Ski Instructors
- Snowmobile and zipline guides
- Axe throwing hosts (duh!)
- Restaurant servers
- Daycare workers
- Retail sales clerks
- Boot fitters
- Ski rental techs
- Reservations agents
- Hotel bellmen
- Ski valets
- Shuttle drivers
- Hotel concierge
- Night audit
- Maintenance technician
As you can probably tell, most of these jobs involve helping out the millions of visitors who come to Whistler every year. And that’s one of the best things: sharing the town that we love with people from all around the world who can’t believe it’s for real.
How Do I Find a Job in Whistler
With so many jobs on offer, it’s never too difficult to find something you love. In fact, if you don’t need to start working straight away, it’s normally worth waiting until you arrive to start hunting. That way, you can apply in person, and get interviewed nice and quickly. A few of the best ways to find seasonal jobs are:
- Whistler Blackcomb Jobs Fairs – if a free ski pass and cheap staff housing sound up your street, you want to get in with Whistler Blackcomb. They hold job fairs every Wednesday in Whistler. And if you want to lock something in before you get here, they also recruit all over the world – in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Europe!
- In person – honestly, the personal touch works in Whistler. Print out a smart looking resume, and do the rounds. It’s a pretty small village so it won’t take you long. Plus they’re more likely to remember you and call you back in for an interview!
- Craigslist – the classified website is actually a great place to find jobs here. New jobs are posted nearly every day, and most have a really simple application process
- Indeed.ca – another great jobs listing website that gets loads of updates from Whistler businesses all the time
We’d also suggest heading over to Whistler Survival Guide for more information on how to thrive in your very first season here.
Let’s Get To It: What Are The Best Jobs In Whistler?
There’s a job for everyone here in Whistler. But here’s a few of the ones we think are particularly awesome, and why:
- Ski instructor – I mean, c’mon, you get paid to ski and play with kids. Spending every day on the mountain? Yes please. And because all instructors work for Whistler Blackcomb, you’ll get your ski pass included too.
- Server – Servers work hard, but they also often only work evenings, meaning loads of time to ride. And they hands down earn the very best tips in town.
- Hotel Front Desk – Front Desk Agents get to sell all the awesome activities and restaurants in Whistler. That also means they get to try them all out. Think free dinners, free drinks, free bobsleigh tours (yes, for real). Plus, loads of hotels offer staff housing and epic parties!
- Axe Throwing Host – Throwing axes and hosting parties every day? Seems like a pretty good deal to us. We love working here at Forged, and we think you will too.
Finding a job might not be the most exciting part of starting your life in Whistler. But we’ve found that working in Whistler is (almost) as fun as playing here. You’ll get to know awesome people, have unforgettable experiences, and make friends for life in your Whistler job. So what are you waiting for?