I’ve spent most of this month working and recovering, but it’s finally time to move on to Whistler and start what I came to this country to do! I leave my short-term flat and spend the night in the Samesun Hostel using the WHC’s free night, and around 9:30 I drag my bags into the common room for the bus at 10.
Originally, I just had my normal bags and one additional carry on, but we’ve been hearing horror stories via Facebook about the state of the rooms in Whistler, being warned to bring mattress toppers/pillows and quilts, so a bunch of us went shopping at Walmart for new bedding. Thanks to this, everyone is lugging around several bags…much to the dismay of the driver who had to try and drag all of these cases and bags into his very small bus. Ended up filling the back of the bus with the cases and shoving shopping backs above our heads.
It takes about 2 hours to get from Vancouver to Whistler, and the drive is a beautiful route through the lakes and mountains of the West Coast. The best part of the trip for me though, was discovering my seat mate is an anime fan – at least one person I can gush about my favourite thing about!
Whistler is a small village, but designed for tourist’s right from the get go. All the buildings are brightly coloured and feel almost fake in their design. Like a cartoon rendition of what a snow chalet town would look like. Pretty, but kind of eerie.
As for us, the bus spiralled up the mountain until we came to a collection of yellow buildings, that look a lot like my old student accommodation. The staff are outside to greet us, and since we’re a small group of 20 or so, we get processed pretty easily (although I have an issue with my credit card that means I need to check out CIBC soon). I’m staying in one of the newer buildings that has a gym, but I am on the fourth floor (yay for stairs).
Okay, so despite searching the Internet for quite some time, finding accurate information on the staff accommodation is hard. As such I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but assumed it would be similar to student accommodation – and I’d have 3 flatmates as that’s something I could confirm.
I was more or less right on these – the flats are 2 bedroomed with a bunkbed in each, along with a living area, bathroom and small kitchen. No oven, just a hob – but there are ovens in the lounge areas on each floor. In the bedrooms, you have a set of drawers (3 drawers for each resident) and a chunk of coat rail to share.
All in all, it’s not a bad setup. It’s more storage than I expected (though gutted there’s no real option or space for a desk), and there’s only one roommate (in the room I share) which means I’ve got the top bunk, which I can live with.
Unfortunately, our roommate is new too, and that has resulted in something we didn’t prep for. The flats kitchen does not come equipped with anything standard. What’s left is what the previous roommates left behind. And our flat’s previous owners were frugal. There’s no pots, very little cooking utensils (although plenty of cutlery) and not many mugs or cups. We’re going to have to hunt down more by the looks of things.
The bedding is also a little terrifying – the mattress is more like a slab of foam. I can tell just by looking at it that I’m going to be in agony if I try to sleep on it, so getting a mattress topper suddenly jumps to the top of my to do list. Bedding seems fine, just very thin, so need to see about a comforter too.
Once we’ve dumped our bags, a girl from WHC who left last week shows up and offers to escort us to where we need to go for our staff cards. We need to head to The Cabin which is only five minutes away from these buildings, and sort of on my way for when I head to the chair lift. Only takes about ten minutes to get processed (basically give them ID, bank details, work visa, SIN number and criminal record check and they give you a temporary card for the weekend), and then we’re reversing and heading down something charmingly named ‘Staff Hill’ for uniforms.
This is the hill people working in town or at the Roundhouse have to walk up and down each day. It’s ridiculously steep since the accommodation is about 400 metres about the village, and an absolute nightmare to hike up afterwards.
The village itself is a little like Vancouver – it’s separated into separate villages, although I’m not sure if there’s a pattern to the design. The main area is obviously home to the chairlift and gondola, along with the end of the mountain bike trail. The second half is home to the cinema and a lot of restaurants and shops, and leads into Olympic Village, which hosts the silver rings and a children’s playground.
Our stop is in the first village, and I’m grateful for the guide because I’d never have found it on my own. It’s tucked into a corner, hidden behind a bike shop. As it turns out, I didn’t need to come anyway, because my job is classed as Back of House, and they only have uniforms for Front of House when it comes to the Rendezvous. I’ll get my uniform at work, or so they say. I’ll clarify at training next week.
I separate from everyone then to get my card issue sorted at CIBC (in Olympic Village), and then just wander around to see Whistler in its summer glory. First thing that strikes me is the prices – even a simple slice of pizza is a good 1-2 dollars more than I was paying in Vancouver. Even food in the shops is pricy. Really looking forward to getting one free meal a day at work – it’s probably the main reason I’ll survive.
I head back up to the room after that – and boy if I have to go up and down this sucker at least once a day I’ll definitely get fit pretty quickly. It’s also a great deterrent for buying sugar or chocolate. If you have to walk down Staff Hill to get it, by the time you’ve walked back up, you’ll have earned it.
I don’t start training until next week, so I have the weekend to get my bearings before everything gets busy.