Woke up ridiculously early considering that I don’t have to go to training until 12:30. However, everyone else in the flat is equally excited and nervous, so come the morning we’re all awake and hanging around for the time we can head down the hill for the gondola.
Today we get Back of House training, with both Whistler and Blackcomb employees being told to meet at the Roundhouse for 1pm. In order to get there in time, we have to be on the gondola for 12:30, and to miss the rush, my flat decided to head out at 12 so we could hop on at 12:15. Given that it’s lunchtime, it’s a smart idea because there’s quite a few guests in line and staff do NOT get priority.
I’m in a gondola with my roommate Rhonda, who hasn’t been up the mountain yet, and two guests. As an ironic twist, today happens to have the nicest weather I’ve seen since arriving in Whistler – its beautifully sunny with only a small overcast on the mountain. Typical considering it’s the first day I don’t have free – but we did get the small consolation prize of spotting our very first black bear on the mountain as we climbed upwards.
We got to the Roundhouse for 12:45, and managed to run into a group of other new workers hanging around the entrance. We hadn’t been told where to go, so we were depending on numbers while we waited for someone to appear. Although we did slip up to the roof for a short time to check out the view.
On the way back to the ground floor, we run into Dan, one of the supervisors at the Roundhouse, who guides us to the meeting room we’ll be using. There’s brownies, coffee and tea, and everyone hangs around while waiting for the last of the group to appear.
Nobody really told us what was going to happen at BOH training, but it’s mostly an induction followed by a physical tour. When we’re all seated, we go through Whistler Blackcomb’s important rules – the Three R’s (Reliability, Responsibility and Relations), and TOFU (Take Ownership and Follow Up). These are the mantras that everyone at Whistler Blackcomb needs to follow, even if you’re back of house.
We also get 20 minutes with the woman in charge of Waste Management. Whistler Blackcomb takes recycling very seriously, and at the moment, their methods and organisation means that 70% of all waste on the mountains is recycled or composted. It’s hoped to reach 100% in the next ten years, but it’s still very impressive when you think just how many people come through this mountain in a season.
This is when the groups all separated for their physical tours. Us Blackcomb workers were led out by our boss Fraser (or Frae as he seems to prefer) and hopped onto the Peak to Peak gondola to head to our mountain.
The view this time is amazing – the lack of fog or clouds means you can see for miles, and just how impressive this gondola is, becomes obvious. It’s insane to see – the entire thing had to be helicoptered up, and even knowing that, I can’t wrap my head around how they managed to do it.
Weather’s good at Blackcomb too, and this time I get to see some of Blackcomb’s resident furry mascots – the marmots. These are adorable bundles of fur that hang around the Rendezvous area, and are some of the creatures that give Whistler its name thanks to the high-pitched whistle they often give out. They’re found all over the mountains, but are often mistaken for beavers.
When we get to Rendezvous, we get our first look at the kitchens, which are much bigger than I expected, but full of thin corridors. You’re expected to be loud and announce whatever you’re doing to avoid causing any collisions. Considering how many I suffered at Samesun, it’s going to be hard to get into the habit of shouting, but it’s that or risk getting whacked by boiling hot water or sharp knives. I also see my old friend the slicer (which I haven’t used in almost 8 years), as well as a bunch of fancy pieces of equipment I’ve never used before. None are to be used without training, but I’m expecting to get acquainted with the gear in a few weeks.
The storeroom is downstairs, but has an elevator so we don’t throw out our backs, and then we head to Christies. This is a sit in restaurant in Rendezvous that’s a lot pricier than our section, but hosts some of the best views on the mountain, and according to Frae, has some of the best food you can get in Whistler. Sadly, we don’t get a lot of benefits to use here, so it’s something to save as a treat. It’s not going to open until the end of June, so we can enjoy the balcony views until then though.
Once we’ve had our tour, we’re sitting in Christies for the Safety speech. Whistler Blackcomb take safety very seriously – out in the mountains there are deaths every year (usually in winter, but summer incidents do happen) so minimising what happens in the facilities is very important. That said, you get injured on the job, the job will take care of you (you need insurance for any injury, but you’ll get paid for whatever time you miss off work so long as the injury happens on the job). It’s not likely we’ll get badly injured, but the safety speech is the first step to guaranteeing it.
The induction finishes around 4:30, and most head back down on the chairlift. I need to go to IGA though, so I hop back on the Peak to Peak to take the gondola back down to Whistler rather than trying to get from Blackcomb to Whistler (way too many hills).
I did plan to cook tonight, but honestly it seems like too much effort, so while at IGA I grab a baked potato with chilli, and decide to have it with everything. Unfortunately, it also comes with sour cream, and I’ve learned the hard way I cannot eat sour cream in Canada. It’s very tingly, and I always feel nauseous when I eat it. Frustrating considering I love sour cream and have eaten it dozens of times in the UK and Australia without issue. Don’t know what they’re doing to it in Canada to make me so repellent to it.
Tomorrow is a very dull day of Food Safety training at the Cabin. It’s from 9-5, and I’ve been warned it’s a bit of a bore. Once it’s over though, I’m ready to start working, so roll on training day!