29th June 2017 – Whistler Bike Park

Got a day off today, and decided I’m going to take advantage of some of the perks offered at Whistler Blackcomb for staff and have a mountain biking lesson.  I haven’t been on a bike in years, and definitely don’t know what I’m doing on a downhill bike park, so it seems like a very good idea.  Been on a waitlist for a while, but finally got a chance at 10:30 in the morning for a one on one session with Steph – with only two additional people.  Another perk is a one-time offer to get a bike for 2 hours for only $20.  It’s a little awkward in that you need to get the voucher from The Springs (where one gets their uniforms), and can only get a bike if there’s a free one – guests come first.  There was no guarantee I could get one in time, so I decided just to hire one for the day.  However, when the staff at the bike shop realise this, they give me the bike for free with the promise that I’ll get a voucher and bring it after the lesson.

Sanction Bike

The bike I’m on is a small Sanction, which is completely different to bikes I’ve been on before.  For one thing, it’s aligned so that I’m standing on my tiptoes, and the brakes are ridiculously sharp.  You have to press them so gently or you’ll slam to a stop – index finger on them only.

Our first stop is the training grounds at the top of the Fitzsimmons chairlift, and naturally I mess up at the first hurdle.  There are bike rails you need to slide your bike into, and you’re not meant to go outside the plastic cones.  I misunderstand, do just that and get the thing juddering to a halt for 30 seconds.

This chairlift also goes a little bit fast than the others, so it’s a bit of a rush to get the bikes on, and less chance to enjoy the scenery.  However, it also means you get to the start of the trails quicker.  Our first stop is just to the right of the lift, a small rocky dirt area cordoned off for us to practice the bike positions and get used to the bikes.

For basic mountain biking, there are 2 positions to remember, neutral and ready.  Neutral is for whenever you’re on a flat or uncomplicated surface, and used mostly to keep yourself from getting exhausted from using ready.  Legs are straight, and arms are bent while your head leans over the handlebars.  Ready has a similar upper position, but the legs are bent to give you more control.  When Steph thinks we have a good idea of what we’re doing and can at least turn a corner, she cycles out to the easiest trail in the park, Easy Does It.

The first lap should always be slow, just so you can learn about its quirks.  We also stop along the track regularly to get a few additional pointers or just to rest.  The biggest issue for us is corners, as we have a tendency to take them too low and start skidding on the loose dirt.  I start getting the hang of it, but some of them just completely knock me.

My biggest problem however, is definitely on loose gravel.  There are 3 spots on Easy Does it where it’s a significant obstacle, and on my first lap I struggle with all 3.  By the second I can handle 2 of them (I had my feet in the wrong position the first time), but the last one drives me nuts.  It’s at a spot where you need to stop, because all the trails merge here on the way back to the village, and you have to make sure you won’t crash into anyone.  The ground is so uneven and unsteady I just can’t control my bike, especially as I have no speed or time to get into position, and I keeping going careening into the grass or other trails.  It’s very frustrating.

In the two-hour lesson, I get about 3 laps on the bike, and at that point I’m ready to quit for the day.  My hands are KILLING ME, and the area just under my thumb is bright red from the amount of work my hand has had to do (to say nothing of my arms).  I thank Steph for the lesson, promise to come back to the park to practice again, hand in the bike, then jog over to The Springs to get the voucher I promised the boys at the bike rental.

This evening there’s a staff party for the Rendezvous staff, so I have to get ready for that.  However, I’ve also started toying with getting a second job since the hours at the restaurant are a little all over the place right now.  Print out a few copies, and start wandering around town whenever I see a Help Wanted sign.

Not 20 minutes after handing one into the Grocery Store, I get called back for an impromptu interview, and although they like me, it’s not quite what I was looking for.  I was hoping for a 6-10 job a few nights a week, and they need people to start at 5:30.  They’re also desperate for people to work Tue-Thur, which means I’d have to work on the two days off I know I get from Rendezvous (and be consistently late on Tuesday).  It’s also a 6-hour shift, when I was only looking for 4, and a till job.  I figure I’ll think about it, and then decide later (decide within 24 hours that it’s more than I want and decide not to pursue it).

Head back to Glacier housing and quickly get dressed so I’m ready for the party.  Only Rhonda and I from this flat work at Rendezvous so we plan to go together.  We also get Jessica wanting to follow…however, when 7pm rolls along and I’m ready to head out, I realise Rhonda’s missing.  Never told me where she was going, so I figure she and Jessica have already headed down, and wander down Staff Hill myself.

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The restaurants on the mountain host dozens of staff events, but this is the first of the summer season.  It’s being held at the Giribaldi Lift Co Bar, and is mostly just a drink/eat meet and greet.  When I get there, I see a few familiar faces…but no Rhonda.  Even when I grab a seat and message her, no reply.

She, Jessica and Molly all arrive a few minutes later.  Turns out Rhonda went to one of their flats and never bothered to tell me, and hadn’t heard the messages I’d sent them.

The food and drink has been paid for, but it’s all alcoholic, so James wrangles me an ice tea that I nurse for a few hours, and head up the main table to steal food for the small number huddled at the end.  It’s mostly nachos, poutine and a few fries, so hardly a meal, but enough for a small party.  I admit the WHC girls mostly cling to themselves, but we do manage to talk to a few people.

Around 9:30 I duck out.  I’m working at 9:30 tomorrow and by the time I get up Staff Hill it’ll be at least 10 and want a good night’s sleep.  Rhonda decides to stay out (for the first time, woot!) and goes to a bar or club with some of the others who don’t have to be in so early, which is pretty great.  She hasn’t managed to socialise much so this is a good step.

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27th June 2017 – Orientation

I’ve had some interesting scheduling issues this week.  I was original scheduled to work Tuesday, only to get an email saying I needed to go to an Orientation on the same day.  I contacted my bosses soon as I found out, but by Monday the problem hadn’t been solved.  I’d been given another shift, but my Tuesday shift hadn’t been fixed.  As such my boss had to frantically run around to find someone to do the shift so I could make it.

The Orientation was happening at 1:30 at the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural centre’s theatre.  I head out at 12:50 with Rhonda as I’m not 100% sure how long it’ll take me to get there.  As it happens, it’s maybe a 20 minute walk, and we end up arriving much earlier than necessary, so hung out on a balcony until it was closer to the time.  We can’t explore the centre because it has a ticket price, but it looks really interesting so will be coming here again.

The Orientation is necessary because Whistler Blackcomb has recently been bought by Vail Resorts, and we need to be acclimated to the new ‘owners.’  It’s mostly looking at Vail’s promotional videos and looking at its key values, which to be honest are pretty much the same as any resorts.  The one thing everyone seems to remember about the day was the Safety video, as it was recited by a woman that had an extremely dull voice (seriously, I had to fight to stay awake) and never blinked once in 3 minutes.

Afterwards, a group of the WHC guys decided to head into the village for lunch, and I dragged Rhonda along since she hadn’t socialised too much since she got here.  Also covered her for lunch since she was broke, and we were going to El Furniture Warehouse which is cheap enough for me to do.

Warehouse is a franchise in Canada that is the godsend of the backpacker, because every food item is $5.  Plus, it’s relatively good food.  I went to one in Vancouver, but had a less than fantastic experience because they mistook my mocktail order for a cocktail, and I didn’t realise until I’d drank a quarter of the drink (never had a virgin mojito and just assumed it was a very sour drink).  No worries this time at least, and grabbed the BBQ chicken burger, which was nice enough for the price.  No doubt be coming here a lot since it’s the clear price choice for a lot of people.

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24th June 2017 – Whistler Blackcomb

After my one proper shift, I get two days off.  It’s definitely good timing, because Whistler has been hit by a major heatwave.  It’s 30-31 degrees for the next few days, and shows no signs of leaving.  Admittedly I end up wasting my first day by sleeping in and meandering around town.  Do get around to using my blender for smoothies and hummus though (smoothies are a success, hummus is not) and whip together some bruschetta.  All of which is great in this temperature.

My roommate however, has the best bear story as of the evening.  She hadn’t seen a bear since she arrived, while just about everyone else has spotted at least one on the chairlift or gondola.  Then, as she headed out the exit door of our accommodation to make a phone call, she stops dead when she spotted a black bear just ten metres away in the bushes.  Got to give the video caller a look too.  Kind of jealous (haven’t seen one that close yet!).

I don’t want to waste the next day, but I also don’t want to spend any cash if I don’t have to, so I decide I’ll do the walk available on Whistler.

Course, by the time I wake up and head down into Whistler Village, its 11:30 on a Saturday, so the gondola is mobbed.  I wait in the queue a few minutes before scrapping the idea and walking to Upper Village to get the Wizard chairlift up to Blackcomb.  It’s a good choice, because the Wizard is practically empty, and I don’t have to wait at all (plus I see another bear on the way up).

Unlike Whistler, Blackcomb is pretty quiet when I make it up, but the heat is almost as bad here as it was on the ground.  It’s insane considering there’s still a significant amount of snow on the ground – you’ve got skiers and snowboarders wearing nothing but shorts and tank tops.

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Since the weather’s beautiful, I hop on one of the buses that will take me to the Seventh Heaven chairlift – just recently opened this week – so I can check out the top of Blackcomb.

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This is both a ski slope and a sightseeing point.  There’s a small café at the top too, known as Horstman Hut – possibly the highest eatery in Whistler.  This high up there’s no running water, so it’s drop toilets and a limited menu consisting of a barbeque and pies.  Still impressive considering everything up here has to be delivered via chairlift or snowcat.

I decide to try one of the pies, going for a beef one.  My employee discount doesn’t apply here, so have to pay the full $9.50 for it, and sit out on the balcony to enjoy it.

It’s really beautiful up here – the sun makes the snow painful to stare at, but you can see for miles.  Considering most of the days I’ve been on the mountain fog has wrecked the view, this is pretty spectacular.  The sky is insanely blue.

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The pie is a little bit disappointing – the inside is fantastic, the beef and veg is really nice, but the pie crust is dry and a little hard to swallow.  Maybe it had been out too long, but not something I’ll try again.

I head downwards after that, returning to Blackcomb and heading for the Peak to Peak to try reaching the summit of Whistler too.  The weather has allowed Pika’s Traverse – home of the infamous ice walks – to be open, and they’ve also opened the Peak Express this weekend, so I don’t have to walk down as well.

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It’s getting ridiculous how out of shape I am.  This is not a steep slope, or a particularly hard climb – it’s a basic road that’s been ploughed out by machines, and I’m still struggling to make my way up.  The climb is definitely worth it though, not only for the views, but to check out the insane snow banks along the way.  It’s called the Ice Walk, and within a few minutes, the banks are as high as houses.  By the time I get close to the top, it’s easily 20-30 feet high.  In the weather it’s dropping fast, but its still pretty impressive.  Glad I managed to get up here before it vanishes.  Plus, the views from the top are INCREDIBLE.

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Check out this view!  It was painful on the eyes because of the bright sun, but totally worth the hike.  The sun however, is being an issue for the lifties, who have been stuck out here all day and have been lacking sunscreen.  They’ve gotten to the point that they have to ask guests for any spare because they’ve ran out and are currently frying this high up.

Part of me wants to walk down again, but my head is starting to hurt and I’ve done so much walking that taking the very steep Peak Express just seems like a smart idea.  It’s the steepest of all the lifts I’ve done so far, and almost sets off my vertigo.  But I’m less elated when I get to the bottom and realise that I have to go uphill again to get back to the roundhouse.

At this point I figure I should head back into the village because my headache is getting past the point of irritating and straight to painful, even with the water and glasses.  Figure seeing both peaks is more than enough to call the day successful.  Plus, I desperately need to do laundry and will probably need some sunlight in order to dry things considering how much needs to be done.

There are laundry rooms in each building at staff accommodation, but in order to use it you need a card rather than coins.  We get it when we check in, and need to upload cash via debit cards.  It’s a little frustrating because wash and dryer costs $5, but you need to put at least $10 on each time.  That said, I’ll be using it a lot, and this time I need to do two washes since I’m doing the duvet I bought at the recycle centre too.  Dryer ends up being frustrating because clothes aren’t fully dry, and have them strewn about the apartment for a few hours.

Tomorrow I’m back to work, and if this weather keeps up, it’ll be MUCH busier than my first day.  Wish me luck.

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22nd June 2017 – Rendezvous Blackcomb

First day of work, and although one of my roommates doesn’t start till 10, she decides to come down with me and another girl starting at 9:30.  It’s a bit of a rush at the start though, because I underestimate how long it takes to get down the Wizard hill and we get there at 9am sharp, so get straight on the chair upwards.

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Turns out we were supposed to wait for the supervisors, and they ended up being late because they didn’t know where we were (in our defence, nobody said we had to wait for them, and at 9 there was nobody there, so we made a judgement call).

When we get there, we head to the changing rooms and grab chef blacks.  One of the benefits of working at Rendezvous is that I don’t have to worry about cleaning my uniform.  Each shift we grab a new set from the staff room, and afterwards, dump it in the laundry.  The only part we have to keep are the hat and name badge.

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When the supervisors arrive, they separate us into our stations.  The restaurant isn’t fully open yet, so it’s the fries, hot grill and the Mexican stand.  Maddy and myself are on Mexican with the prep cook Nick, who gives us the quick rundown of what’s required.

The Mexican stand offers burritos, tacos and salads, as well as kids combos (smaller salads or one taco to go with 2 snacks and a drink), with beef, pork, fish and tofu meat options.  They’re also very big – the burritos could easily be shared by two people – so learning how to wrap them is easily the biggest challenge of the day.

Thankfully we learn on a relatively quiet shift.  Wednesday is their busiest outside of the weekend because the tour buses come up Blackcomb that day, so we only had to deal with regular traffic.  Next week the schools let out and it’ll get busier, so need to enjoy it while it lasts.  Only had a few rushes with maybe 2 people waiting to be served – Maddy and myself managed to keep up for most of it, especially with Nick keeping an eye on any prep and cooking the fish and tofu.  Poor guy was getting the run around since he also had to do the baking prep while training us up.

Since it’s quiet, the Mexican stand closes an hour early, and we start cleaning at 3:30 unlike the grill which keeps going, and we’re all packed and ready to go at 4:30.  Means we lose an hour of wage, but after a day on our feet we’re not complaining, especially since today is also the afternoon Whistler Blackcomb is having its first Staff party of the season.  It’s held at Base 2, and has a free barbeque and live music.

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I decide to head home and get changed before heading to the party.  By the time I get back, all the buns have gone from the buffet line, so I go for chicken instead of burgers.  Probably better than grabbing empty carbs, but feel a little disappointed when buns reappear.  Keep meaning to grab a burger and things keep foiling me.

I spend the afternoon nibbling on the dessert table and talking to other workers while listening to the band (who really aren’t bad).  Get speaking with a girl who works in the clearance store, and a few WHC members, and eventually get drawn over to one of the games set up.  It involves hammers and nails…

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From what we can tell, the game involves spinning a hammer, catching it, and then trying to hammer a nail down.  You can only hit the nail if you manage to catch the hammer.  Needless to say, this is a dangerous game – especially since most of us are wearing thongs or sandals.  Two of the girls were still really good at it though (nearly took out my feet on more than one occasion, as well as the girl next to me), which led us to having the two of them go head to head.  Got through more than one set of nails while we went through multiple rounds.

All things considered, it wasn’t a bad event.  My biggest dismay was the time – most people I knew were working and were in no mood to show up for the last hour after a full day of work (3-7 seems a weird time to – anyone starting early will only get out in the last few hours, and anyone starting at 1 misses it entirely).  Meant that I didn’t really get to socialise with people I wanted to, but least I met some new folks I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.

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21st June 2017 – Food Safety 101

Today is a full day of training, and at 8:45 Rhonda and I head towards Base 2 for our Back to School day.  From 9-4, we’ll be in classroom learning about Food Safety.  In Canada, you’re not really allowed to work in food and beverage without passing this, so it’s something we need to pay attention to.

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Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.  This class just drags on and on – I’m getting flashbacks to my History classes where I struggled to not fall asleep, it’s not the most engaging lecture I’ve ever been in.  Everyone prays for a break, and most of us seem to stay awake by doodling in the books we’ve been gifted that has all the information we need.

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The one bright side to the class is the videos.  Some of them are ridiculous and dull, but some are case studies, reconstructing incidents at restaurants that went badly wrong and retracing the steps to show how it could be avoided.  I like reconstruction documentaries, so these could actually keep my attention.

The biggest downside though, is we had to speed through several of the sections since they weren’t relevant to 90% of us, but they are in the test.  In hindsight, I should have just read the book (honestly think I would have retained more if I’d done that rather than try to pay attention).

Although had I done that, I would have missed Whistler F&B’s favourite acronym – WYFH!  Which stands for WASH YOUR FUCKING HANDS! (or, when there are guests around, ‘filthy hands’).  If you can remember that, most health issues will be happily avoided.

When it came to do the test, we were given 50 questions (randomised, so nobody could look at their neighbour’s answers), told to close our books and answer multiple choice.

This was a weird situation – most of the questions I was pretty confident about, but there were at least four that were focused on the parts of the book we sped over.  The teacher glossed over them and I’d never read that part of the book, so I had to guess the answers.  The worst part however, was when I was looking at 4 ‘C’ answers in a row, and my logic brain insisted that couldn’t be right.  Yet I would bet significant cash on the first 3 C’s being right, and it was 50/50 on the fourth.  I ended up asking for help (he couldn’t give me the answer, but he could agree with me), and the fourth C was right.

I checked and rechecked, but there were about 10 questions I was apprehensive about.  I know there’s at least one I got wrong, but will hopefully find out in the next few days if I passed, or if I need to retake the test in order to keep my job.

Pushing that worry out of my head for now though.  Tomorrow I’m finally heading up to Rendezvous for my very first proper shift!  Wish me luck!

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20th June 2017 – BOH Training

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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18th June 2017 – Whistler Blackcomb

Last night I tried sleeping on top of the blanket accommodation provided and used my throw as a blanket and it was a marked improvement for sleeping.  Definitely what I’ll do until I get the mattress protector.

Today I decided to head up Blackcomb to check out the Rendezvous Restaurant I’ll be working in, and then hop on the Peak to Peak Gondola to check out Whistler.  However, when I make my way down to Blackcomb’s village, I’m surprised at the sight of a market.

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It’s a farmer’s market that runs every Sunday in the summer (at least, I assume it’s summer only), but as it’s a resort town, this is an expensive farmer’s market.  Everything looks good, but the clothes and jewellery carry hefty price tags, and the food is a little more gourmet than I’d expect to see.  Did spot the Cannoli King stand that I saw at Italian Drive too, so finally managed to get a cannoli.

Once I’d given it a once over, I headed over to the chairlifts.  There are multiple ways to get up both mountains, but in the summer only a handful are open.  For Blackcomb, the Magic Wizard chairlift is the only option, so I scan my pass and hop on my first chairlift of the season.

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It’s a little bit terrifying.  I’ve never really done a lot of chairlifts, but the safety bar is only held down by your feet (and I saw quite a few people on my way down the hill who had just let it bounce back up) so it’s kind of nerve wracking when you start getting higher.

It takes some time to make it to the midway stop, where you have to hop onto the next chairlift up to the top of Blackcomb.  This lift is a lot steeper, and for today, a lot less picturesque.  The cloud is extremely heavy, and it’s hard to see anything.  The snow haze is so bad my eyes start burning and I wish I’d remembered to bring my sunglasses.  I have to look away to avoid the headache.

However, within ten minutes, I’m looking up at my first sight of the Rendezvous Restaurant on the mountaintop.  It’s difficult to see in the haze, but it’s a big building.

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I check inside, and I’m really happy to see it’s fairly simplistic inside.  I knew it wasn’t fine dining, but the setup looks like it’ll be easy enough to pick up even if I have to swap around stations.  I’ll be on the Mexican stand for the first few days, and pretty confident I can pick it up quickly.

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There are some things you can see up here, including a glacier, but the weather’s so bad I don’t bother, and instead hop on the Peak to Peak Gondola to go check out Whistler.

The Peak to Peak Gondola is the World Record holder for the highest and longest above ground cable car in the world.  It’s also one of the longest and comes with a handful of glass bottomed ones so you can see the land below.  I’m not in one of those since I didn’t want to wait and the weather is so bad, the gondola is basically running through cloud.  Right up until you get to the valley between the mountains…

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This is like being in the worlds weirdest airplane.  The clouds are just above your head and the ground below is crystal clear.  You can see the forest and the river, and the village in the distance.  It’s such a strange place to be.

Then it’s back into the clouds, and five minutes later I arrive on the top of Whistler mountain.

This is the more famous of the two mountains, and you can tell from the top – there’s a lot more to do.  There’s hiking, a free tube hill, and the Roundhouse, another restaurant where I’ll be doing some of my training.  It’s similar to the Rendezvous, only a lot bigger and with a slightly different menu.  I end up having lunch here and using the Wi-Fi, which is ridiculously good for how high we are, before wandering out to check out the tubing.

This is just a small hill still covered in snow with a bunch of inflatable tubes for people to slide down in.  It’s completely free and unsupervised, so basic etiquette is involved.

However, as I’m there, I find there are two groups who keep hogging the tubes.  I’ve had one shot and handed my tube to a kid whose been waiting, but you’ve got a lot of kids just hanging around trying to have a shot only to be told ‘their friend needs it’ or ‘one more go.’  I end up slipping into the line and asking for a tube to give them to the kids waiting.  Inadvertently, I end up starting a line and people start coming up to me asking if I’m responsible for the area.  I’m not wearing anything that could look official, but apparently me trying to get people to share tubes makes me the supervisor.  I admit I don’t make it any easier when I start yelling at people to ‘move to the left’ when they keep hanging around the bottom and holding up the next lot of tubers.

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I get about 4-5 shots before I decide to head on down the mountain.  I’ll need to come up when the weather’s nicer to try out the hiking, but for now I’ll just grab the gondola straight down to Whistler village.  It does technically stop mid-way, but you’re told just to stay inside and head to the next stop.  Again, the weather is pretty miserable and what I can see is lacking, but unlike the chairlift, I’m safe from the elements.  Not looking forward to the chairlift in miserable weather.

 

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