Photo credit: Big White Ski Resort
BC’s second most popular winter destination requires over 1000 staff members to run its day-to-day operations during ski season. It comes as no surprise that most of the staff come from Australia. What does it take to work up there if you live over 14,000km away?
Here are 5 things for Australians to keep in mind if they want to work at Big White.
1. Plan Your Working Holiday at Least a Year Ahead
Big White might also require for you to have travel insurance before your employment begins, so look into this before you arrive. And make sure to apply for your Social Insurance Number as soon as you land.
2. Apply for Work Directly or Through an Employment Company
You can work both directly on the mountain (as a ski instructor, for example), at one of the many small businesses in the Big White area, at some of the independently owned chalets, or at the local market.
Australians can also use the services of the International Exchange Program and The Working Holiday Club to help with securing work and accommodation. But this is a pretty pricey option, with costs exceeding $1000.
Keep in mind that some departments and managers might prefer an in-person interview rather than a Skype or phone interview. This is where your savings will come in handy.
Live up at Big White Rent or Buy
Plan to spend at least $500 a month on rent with shared accommodations. In 2017, Big White also began a huge project on building staff accommodation at the resort, so there’s plenty of options out there.
If you plan on returning year after year to work at Big White it is a great idea to begin to look at buying. In the summer months you can rent it out and have it ready for your return in the winter. Mortgage qualifications are a little different when it falls as your primary residence and work place. You can have your own space and a place to call home after a long work day on the hill.
There are some great resources to help you find a place to stay. Join the official Big White Facebook group to inquire about accommodations, check out the Urban Retreat Hostel at the mountain, and visit Castanet, Kelowna’s homepage, for information on rentals. Check out my listings www.joanwolf.ca to live where you play.
4. Perks of Working at a Ski Resort
Why not have fun where you work?
Seasonal staff receive a number of great deals around the mountain:
• Free season pass
• Free group ski and snowboard school lessons
• Free snowshoe tours
• Up to 50% off food and beverage at restaurants, cafes, and bars
• Up to 50% at the Elevation Day Spa
• 40% off on rentals
• 15% off at retail outlets
• And more…
On a side note. Because of the short duration of the season you’ll likely get some of the taxes deducted from your paycheck back. How awesome is that?
5. You are a Part of a Team
Big White values its employees and the effort they put in their day-to-day work. Around mid-season, the resort has a staff Christmas party and each department usually throws its own party.
Staff also get to go to hockey games in Kelowna, BBQs, film nights, and countless other fun activities on and off the mountain. Not to mention making lifetime friends.
Whether you work a season or two, or more, the resort will surely have a special place in your heart. You might even decide to stay a bit longer. Live where you play and get in touch with me anytime if you want to make Big White your seasonal or forever home.