Jobs


So, you’re in town, and you need a job. Fortunately, there are thousands of them in Whistler. The trick is picking which one works for you. Most employers are here for the same lifestyle as you and will look the other way if you occasionally show up 5 minutes late with those telltale rosy cheeks on a powder day. This page is broken into 3 parts - job types, what to consider, and job finding tips.

Most common jobs in Whistler

  • Ski/Snowboard Instructors - get paid to ski all day, every day!

  • Lift operators (lifties) - Long days outside, usually 4 days on/3 days off.

  • Zipline guides - get to ride zip lines every day!

  • Hotel bellmen/valet - get tips for carrying people's suitcases to their rooms.

  • Ski valets - usually on a split shift pattern, allowing you to ride every day.

  • Cooks - access to free food, often evening-only shifts.

  • Housekeepers - decent pay, free guest leftovers!

  • Daycare workers/babysitters - often cash in hand and flexible.

  • Restaurant servers - earn loads of cash and get food discounts.

  • Bartenders - earn even more cash.

  • Night audit - the only job that you can legitimately sleep on.

  • Retail sales clerks - discounts on all your mountain gear!

  • Boot fitters/ski rental techs - often provide ski-friendly shifts.

  • Reservations agents/front desk - access to free tours like snowmobiling.

  • Shuttle drivers - meet lots of people and a comfy seat all day!

  • Maintenance - often 4 days on/3 days off, perfect if you want long

  • weekends!

Important things to consider before accepting a job


Before you send your email out to every restaurant on Whistler, it’s a good idea to think properly about what kind of lifestyle you want in Whistler, and what job will best allow for that. You have a few decisions to make, such as: do you want to work days or nights? Inside or outside? Do you prefer cash tips or job perks and security? We’ll talk to you through these options to help you get a better idea of what different jobs are on offer.

Days vs. nights.


Do you want to shred pow all day and head into work at 5pm? Do you want to work an early shift and be done by 2/3pm to catch the last few hours in the bike park or at the lake? It is not uncommon for folks here to have different summer and winter jobs with opposite work schedules that correlate to their activity choice. The preferred pattern tends to be to work afternoons/evenings in the winter and mornings in the summer.


Inside vs. outside.


Bagged that dream job as a lifty? Kids bike park guide? Dog walker? Keep in mind that whilst working outdoors seems fitting in a mountain town (and lots of people love it!), the weather can be unforgiving and change rapidly. Lifties often have to endure 10-hour shifts in double digits below zero, or in the high 30s (Celsius) in summer. Sunstroke, frostbite and health problems from poor air quality in the forest fire season are all issues facing outdoor workers. That being said, is there a more beautiful place to work outside than Whistler? Perhaps not. Those who work in Whistler Blackcomb's mountain top restaurants get first and last lifts every day, and the freedom to shred away from the crowds.


Perks vs. tips.


Let’s start with perks. Lots of hotels and companies know that you come to Whistler for the lifestyle, and will try to create fantastic perks to make your season way more fun and affordable. Some will spot you a ski pass or bike pass for the season in lieu of a higher wage. Starting salary for most hotel/retail jobs is in the region of $14-15 an hour, but they will probably hire you on minimal experience, buy you a ski pass, offer good discounts and potentially offer staff housing.


Whistler Blackcomb offers all of the above perks to their staff (although housing is very limited), however, they also start most employees on the B.C. minimum wage of $13.85. Hotel/retail jobs tend to offer a good variety of shift patterns and usually have a great social scene as well. Coffee shops often have good job perks (free food/coffee, discounts, ski pass, staff housing), and this combined with the expectation to tip on ​almost everything​ means you'll probably have a bit of cash to take home at the end of the day ($15-20). One of the best job perks you can get is a FAM tour (familiarisation tour) - this is when companies offer hotel staff (usually front desk/guest services) the opportunity to try out their activities for free so that they can recommend them to guests. This can include free dinners, snowmobiling, zip-lining, bungee jumping, ATVing, bear viewing, tubing, free spa visits.. you name it, you can probably get a free tour if you work on the front line of guest services.

Alternatively, you can work in food and beverage and have a below average wage but make heaps of cash. Serving, bartending, bussing... all of these positions will have you walking home with notes in your pocket at the end of your shift. Yes, the work is less reliable, but if you are okay with making the vast majority of your money in the peak 7-8 months of the year and significantly less in "dead season", restaurant work could be the way for you. Servers at busy bars and restaurants can make upwards of $300 in cash tips per night, and the same goes for nightclub bartenders. Even support staff (bussers, hostesses, etc.) can make an extra $40-100 on top of their base wage at the right venue.


However, these roles do have some drawbacks. Servers have to "tip out" their support staff a percentage of sales, (3-12%) so if you sell lots of food, but get tipped poorly, your take-home won’t be that great. Therefore you have to be at peace with the fact that the majority of your wage depends on your customer's generosity. You also have to declare your own taxes for tips, and if you don't, the CRA may catch up with you and gift you a nasty tax audit, billing you thousands in unpaid tax. Trust me, it happens. Thirdly, servers have their own, lower minimum wage of $12.70 per hour, and support staff get only marginally higher, so be prepared to make much less money when the tourists don't come to town. ​


Job-finding tips!

 

  • First things first, if you aren't Canadian, you need a work permit. Most people in Whistler are on the 2 year ​International Experience rCanada visa ​(IEC) and then attempt to obtain Permanent Residency in Canada.

  • If you find a job you REALLY want, hand in your resume in person. Presenting yourself and asking to speak to a manager will dramatically improve your chances of an interview as opposed to emailing. On the spot interviews are definitely a thing in Whistler. Most employers get inundated with emails, often from people who aren't even in town yet, so formally introducing yourself and letting them put a name to a face is a great start. If you want to do some online research and applications, use ​Indeed.ca​ & ​Craigslist​.

  • Go to job fairs and have lots of honest conversations with employers about which jobs will be right for you. These are great opportunities to network and figure out more about yourself and what kind of job you might like. The biggest event is the ​Whistler Blackcomb​ job fair, as they the town’s biggest employer. The Four Seasons, The Fairmont and many other large companies host their own job fairs multiple times per year, keep an eye out as these are posted on job sites and Facebook a couple of weeks in advance. Even the ​Whistler Public Library​ hosts an annual fair!

  • Big up your experience! Restaurant jobs are the most saught-after, and they can be quite hard to get. It is unlikely that you will get a serving job at an up-market restaurant with no food and beverage experience. Even if you have waitressing experience, most places will have you start as a "food runner", or "busser" to clear tables, and you will work your way up from there (this can take up to a year and is common the larger establishments). However, you never know how short staffed a restaurant might be, and they may be willing to train the right person.

  • Keep an open mind. Don't be afraid to try something new, or quit if your job just isn't making you happy. There's a huge variety to choose from and it's important that you find a work/play lifestyle balance that works for you.

Whistler Wedgemount Lake Hike
Whistler's Top Hikes
Whistler Hpusing Crisis
Housing
Making Friends
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram