So one of my dreams has come true. I am working in a ski resort for the winter season and I could not be more excited. I am a rental cashier at Big White Ski Resort and I started nearly two weeks ago.
I wasn’t super thrilled about leaving Vancouver behind. I had set up a whole new life there. I had a job and my friends. I knew Vancouver, I had been there for nearly 17 months and I loved it. But I have wanted to work in a ski resort since I can remember. I had to apply and take the risk. Although I was sad at the time, I am now happy in my new place surrounded by new people.
Big White is close to Kelowna, about a 4/5 hour drive from Vancouver. It is one of the largest ski resorts in Canada and I feel so lucky to be here. The resort itself opened last Thursday and I’ve been here over two weeks. We have had 187cm of snow. The snow bank outside my house just keeps getting higher and higher.
I’m not earning big bucks, I don’t have the dreamiest of jobs but I do get to ski for free for nearly five months. I have access to free lessons so I can learn snowboarding. I get free rentals on equipment and most importantly I get 50% off at some of the restaurants. Like most people say I’m definitely here for the experience and not the money.
So far I have learnt to budget my money wisely. It really doesn’t go far when you are working part time and earning just over $10 an hour. It is best to buy food in Kelowna and save your money for those essential alcoholic beverages at Snowshoe Sam’s or Session’s. My inner foodie is already struggling with not eating out as regularly as I’m used to. The advantage of this is I’ll probably lose some weight during the season, I’ll let you know how that goes.
Money is something I worry about a lot. I’m not very good at saving, when I have money I’d rather spend spend spend. You only live once, right?! Saying that it would have been more fun and less stressful if I did put extra dollars away before coming here. After paying rent, spending $100 on food and getting across to Big White I had about $100 to last me until my next unknown payday. My first payday was Friday and I spent my last $3 on carrot cake the day before. It is definitely do able but if you want to drink a lot and keep up with everyone else I’d say come with more than $100 to your name. The Big White website advised me to arrive with $3000 to get set up with. I was $2900 short but I made it work.
Accommodation is hard to come by in Big White. Luckily I kind of knew someone who was a massive help and got me a bed. Staff accommodation is sparse, my manager could only offer 7 beds for 40 members of staff. I’m sharing a room for the very first time. It was quite daunting arriving and not knowing who my roommate will be. However all is good because my roomie is lovely. Sharing a room is very common here. In fact having your own room is pretty impossible, unless you want to pay over $1000 a month.
Apart from my money troubles and accommodation struggles, the mountain lifestyle is something else. I take a gondola to work. It has snowed non stop for nearly 3 days. I don’t have access to McDonalds or a Starbucks. I know what you’re thinking, how is she coping? You unexpectedly lose half your leg in deep snow every now and then. Walking in snow is an effort, I haven’t seen a clear sidewalk in over two weeks. The snowy trees are out of this world. Snow makes everything look so pretty and magical. WiFi is everywhere, no need to use that whole 1GB of data I get every month. I can’t not mention the skiing too. We’ve had so much fresh “Okanagan champagne powder” (a phrase from one of the VP’s here) that the conditions have been unbelievable for an opening week. The amount of fresh powder makes up for the lack of visibility. Here’s to many more ski days and afternoons.