So, the yacht you’ve been working on needs a little TLC and is off to the shipyard for a few months. For some of you, this may give you a bit of downtime for the rest of the winter and the chance for a change of scenery. If you’re anything like us here at Yachtneeds, you’ll know that the perfect alternative to being out on the open ocean, is strapping a plank of wood or two to your feet and hurtling down a snow-covered mountain. We are, of course, talking about skiing and snowboarding.
Whilst we’re sure many of you have thrown on your salopettes for a weeks’ holiday on the slopes, have you ever considered what it would be like to work a season on a ski resort? We put a few questions to our good friend Jude, who did just that, when she left her role as a Stewardess on board a 50m yacht for the beautiful mountains of north America.
Which ski resort were you at?
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia.
What did a typical day involve for you?
I worked as a Ski Concierge at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, so my responsibility was looking after the guests’ ski equipment. The Four Seasons is a very expensive and luxurious hotel so, the job had many similarities with being a stewardess as everything revolved around keeping the guests happy. A morning shift would mean loading up a van with the equipment, delivering it to guests at the base of the mountain and sending them on their way for a day on the slopes. I’d then hang around at the bottom of the slopes to greet any early returning guests with a hot chocolate and help them out of their gear. An afternoon shift was the reverse of the above, hot chocolates first and then load up the van at the end of the day to return the gear to the hotel. There was also a split shift where I did both runs in the van but this gave me time in the middle to get some skiing in so was my favourite shift!
What was your accommodation like?
I was in staff accommodation that’s on the lowest floor of the hotel. You have to go through a side door to get to it as we weren’t allowed through the main door when off duty.
There were little apartments that were designed for four people, but mine housed five. Each apartment had two bedrooms, a bathroom, some storage and a shared kitchen / living space with several other apartments. If you’ve ever spent time on a yacht you will know what to expect. It was very snug and we got to know one another very quickly!
Any other fond memories of your time there?
The best memories are of skiing on my days off. We would go to areas of the resort that are little known by most tourists. There are loads of places within the main ski boundary that you can go to that aren’t officially marked on the map.
One particular day a group of us went off-piste taking a route through some trees. We reached a clearing where the snow in the centre was completely untouched. It was really beautiful. The main part of the resort is busy and quite noisy so it was amazing finding such a peaceful, isolated spot.
In the evenings, jugs of beer and huge plates of nachos at Merlin bar after a day on the slopes were amazing. Or huge piles of cheap chicken wings at Crystal Lounge.
One time I tried taking a shortcut through the woods and over the creek on my way to the base of the mountain from Whistler Village. There was a path but it clearly wasn’t often used. I soon found out why. There was a massive black bear blocking the way! Fortunately, it didn’t seem too interested in me and I was able to sneak back the way I came. Needless to say, I didn’t try that shortcut again!
Would you recommend working a season at Whistler?
Absolutely! Your skiing skills improve more than they ever will by going on one-week holidays every year. I would also recommend looking at the evening or night shift jobs on the resort if you want to maximise your time on the slopes. I loved my time there but of course, I’d have much rather been skiing during the day rather than working!
People referred to living in Whistler village as Never Never Land or The Bubble. It felt so apart from the real world and was a very care-free existence. Everyone worked hard and played hard!
Our sincere thanks to Jude for answering our questions. With that little taste of what life is like working on a ski resort, perhaps you’ll find yourself temporarily swapping superyachts and sun-soaked marinas for chair lifts and snow-covered mountains. And hopefully no black bears!