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Whistler Winter Season: Experience, tips and BUNAC

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hey guys, my name is Sam, I'm 19 years old and I live in England.

So my plan. Myself and two friends are heading out to Whistler mid-September until mid-April. We've been browsing the web for a few months now finding out what to do and more importantly, what others have done.

BUNAC seems to be by far the best option for acquiring a visa, for us, as we've neglected University this year (I plan to apply through UCAS while I'm out there in the first month or two) we'd be down for a non-student visa, work holiday I assume. How has everyone's experience with BUNAC been? Also, reading through their PDF guide I found on the website, they offer insurance bundles and travel bundles too, are these worth doing to? It definitely seems to be the most painless way of getting winter sports insurance sorted out.

As far as jobs go, we've all registered through OWH (, and are going to go to the job fair in London, mid-July. Has anybody used OWH to get employment before you actually went to Whistler?

Bar work is by far the most appealing work, 'boarding all day and working all night is fine by me! Any other jobs work well with keeping a healthy skiing attitude of as-much-as-I-possibly-can?

Plane tickets all seem to be about 500-600 quid for a return, which we apparently need for the visa as we're not native North Americans. The travel companies I've spoken over the phone to have all said that changing the return date of our ticket shouldn't be a problem, should we need to. I called up BUNAC's travel agency GS World Travel and they quoted me with £628, after tax. They can only book flights up to 12 months in the future, but as I've said they said it's fine (and free!) to change the return date until April nearer the time.

Accommodation we've not had much insight researching it over the Internet. Currently we're aiming to stay in a hostel for the first week or two of arriving and work our asses off to find both employment and a place. Where did all you guys stay and how was it, how much, etc...? Also, prices and expected income for working minimum wage, full-time? Is CAD$1100 a month a realistic prediction?

On a more specialised note, I have been creating websites and programming as a slightly financial hobby, it's always nice to earn a bit extra in my spare time, even if it does go on drinking and enjoying myself! Does anybody know anything about working self-employed while in Canada on a working holiday / BUNAC visa? Paying tax and all that jazz...

Is the 2010 Winter Olympics gonna hurt or help us? I mean, is it expected to be much more people doing the same thing as us this year. And, as cool as it would be being there during the Olympics, how much of the resort will be off-limits during it?

And another thought that just struck me, how is the economical crisis affecting Canada and how will it affect what we're doing?

Thanks for any help guys, I can't freaking wait!!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
bump. Smile
ski holidays
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hello mate,

Sorry that this isn't quite the reply your looking for!

I'm interested in doing something quite similar to you and your friends and probably heading out to Whistler in January till about April/May time to try and find bar work and maybe have a crack at getting some ski instructor training as I've heard you can get qualifications for free at Whistler.

Anyway I was curious about the job fair you mentioned that is taking place in London in July. Would you be able to give some details on this?

I am probably going to go about getting work in a similar way to youself by using BUNAC to get a VISA and using the OWH website to try and find work.

I've been doing some research into the whole thing and should I find any information that I think you would find useful I wouldn't mind sharing it with you!

Thanks, and good luck in organising your trip!
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