Working a ski season at Blue Mountain Resort: Case Study

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Meet Steve. In December 2015, he was seriously fed up with his career and his routine London life. He had a bit of an epiphany whilst at the theatre (read about it here), and then quit his job to start his BUNAC journey on Work Canada Ultimate. He moved to Canada to work a ski season at Blue Mountain in Ontario, and he's become a true free spirit ever since! So sit back, relax and read about his time at Blue Mountain Resort. 

BE LIKE STEVE: get a winter job this year at Blue Mountain. Attend our Work Canada Ultimate Job Fair on 11th and 12th August 2017. 

First things first - why Canada? 

Canada has always been a place I was interested in since I was very young. Compared with my home city London, UK, so much of the Great White North offers a completely different terrain with the infamous mountains, lakes and sprawling landscapes.  I love exploring new places and seeing diverse cultures anyway, but I had always heard that the Canadians were also fairly liberal in outlook and particularly polite - so far so true, my kind of people!

Why did you choose to work at Blue Mountain? What made it jump out to you amongst other resorts? 

I had not previously worked in hospitality, and once I signed up to the BUNAC Work Canada Ultimate package I was excited by the prospect of taking on such a challenge within a hotel or resort environment. Each of the resorts had their own merits, however the combination of Blue Mountain's year round facilities and excellent staff benefits was a big draw. Notably the resort was also especially encouraging of beginners in winter sports, giving them time to practise on the slopes (that was me!) The opportunity to go on BUNAC's Group Flight via Iceland with other visa-winning friends only cemented the decision to begin the Canadian experience via Toronto and Blue!

What was your job at Blue Mountain? Describe your typical day. 

As a Service Express Agent for the Westin Trillium House, my role would see me interacting with guests either in person at the hotel Front Desk (for check-ins, check-outs and general assistance) or via email / telephone while handing queries regarding in-house, future or potential reservations.  Each working day could be so different depending on the in-house guests and the respective challenges presented in overseeing their stay.  Naturally there will be some tiring and difficult shifts, but overall the experience has been extremely rewarding.

What activities, travelling and socialising did you get up to on days off? Were there opportunities to use the resort facilities? 

During the winter season there was no shortage of events or social outings to the village with Jozo’s a popular option for those residing in staff accommodation.  I took the opportunity to feel the thrill of pizza-slicing on the ski slopes for the first time, while on occasion relaxing and discussing life in the Blue Mountain hot tubs...bliss!  Blue also has the Gondola and Ridge Runner will have been sampled during my final weeks at the resort, not to mention wider trips to the scenic caves, nearby beaches, local breweries and other places of interest in local towns Collingwood and Thornbury.

What's the staff accommodation like? 

Staff accommodation can be rather varied from one house to another! Some of my fellow BUNAC friends lived in an incredible winter chalet which became the envy of staff housing, whereas mine was sharing living quarters in a group of 12. Bottom line though, the challenges presented by being under the same roof meant you were all in the season together, making friends and making memories! 

What were your highlights? 

So many! From nights of bbq’ing at 1 AM with housemates, to some very jovial interactions with guests and back-office de-stress banter with colleagues, my highlight has been the social experience. In the future I'll look back and laugh, remembering everyone that has made the experience so incredible!

What skills have you learnt or developed at Blue Mountain that you'll be able to use in a future career path or job? 

My role at the Westin presented my first dealings in the field of hospitality and it has truly opened up new options for a meandering career path.  Previously a volunteer host for a web-based social group, I have enjoyed the opportunity to further develop my communication skills while engaging far more diverse and personable interactions with guests than in any previous employment.  I will continue to sample fresh job types for my resume but would definitely consider further hotel, resort and customer-engaging roles in the future.

How has your life changed since working at Blue Mountain? 

The mind is a powerful tool. My lifestyle is very different at Blue Mountain compared to a city commuter’s routine back in London, England. My mindset towards life has changed more than anything. I once placed great emphasis on an established career path to form the backbone of my lifestyle decisions – I have now learned that there is no greater wealth than the interactions with new and diverse people, places and cultures, which requires no formal structure or plan to achieve. Call me a free-spirit in training!

What are you up to now? 

My initial contract at Blue Mountain covered the winter season (Nov – Mar), but I found the experience was so amazing that I opted to extend my stay not once, but twice, being at the resort until end of June! Overtime I have become a more experienced seasonal worker and also enjoyed being able to apply gained skills and knowledge towards additional tasks, i.e. creation of staff reference material and training of the new summer intake. I have an upcoming brief hiatus from Canada during July when I attend a friend’s wedding, however shall return to the Great White North in August with a renewed zest for the travel and adventure that my visa promised!


Has Steve's experience convinced YOU to work a wonderful ski season at Blue Mountain Resort this year? Luckily for you for the FIRST YEAR EVER representatives from Blue Mountain are flying over to London to recruit international seasonal staff in a variety of job roles at our big Work Canada Ultimate Job Fair on 11th and 12th August 2017! Read the Blue Mountain resort profile and search the jobs they are hiring for at the Fair. Remember, to come along, you must be booked on to our incredible Work Canada Ultimate programme. Prepare for your life to change.