We understand that when you’re making an investment in a ski or snowboard instructor/improvement course, you are likely to have a lot of questions. We’ve put together the ones we’re asked the most, but if you have any different questions, don’t hesitate to contact us on +1 604 905 2560 or email email@example.com.
Will I need a visa?
To participate in one our Improvement or Instructor Programs, you only need to enter Canada as a visitor/tourist, as these are NOT considered to be study.
Citizens of many countries around the world are able to enter Canada as a tourist without needing to apply for a visitor visa (although most do need an eTA, see below). Check here whether you need to apply for a visitor visa.
Most visitors to Canada arriving on a flight now need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) prior to boarding their flight. Please check the following website – https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada/eta/apply.html for more information.
Be sure to apply for the eTA at least a week prior to your flight as it can take a few days to process. You can do it earlier too, it is valid for 5 years. You will not be allowed to board a flight to Canada without it!
If you plan to work or volunteer in Canada, you will need a visa. See the section below about applying for a work visa.
If you have any prior convictions, you may not be allowed to enter Canada as a tourist. See the next question for more information.
Visiting New Zealand
Australian citizens do not need a visa to enter New Zealand, and UK citizens are entitled to stay for 6 months without a visa. Citizens of many other countries can visit for 3 months without a visa – follow this link for more information: http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/visit/visitors/quickcheck.htm
For citizens of the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (and many other countries) a visitor’s visa will be issued on arrival in Japan, valid for at least 90 days. Citizens of some other countries may need to apply in advance for a visitors visa, follow this link for more information: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/novisa.html
Will I be allowed to enter Canada?
This depends on your passport for most people, but even if you are from a country with a visa waiver agreement, there are a few other criteria that could prevent you from being able enter Canada! The most common issue is if you have a previous criminal conviction (even if it is for something you might think was very minor, like a driving offense). If that could be a concern, have a look at the Inadmissability information here.
Do I need travel insurance?
In a word, YES! We strongly recommend all clients arrange travel insurance as soon as you book onto our program. After all, safety never takes a holiday and snow sports do carry a risk of injury.
We recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, cancellation, baggage loss etc. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you’ll be away and check what circumstances are included in your policy to ensure your on-mountain activities are covered. Remember, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel!
If you’re planning on venturing into the backcountry (heli skiing, Catskiing, AST Level 1 or 2 courses etc) then you should also take out extended coverage for this. Not all policies include backcountry/ off piste/ out of bounds skiing/boarding in their standard coverage. Please check this with your broker. See below for what Whistler Blackcomb covers.
The standard of health facilities in Canada, New Zealand and Japan is comparable to Australia or the UK. However you will generally be expected to pay for treatment up front, which can be very expensive, so ensure you have sufficient travel insurance coverage.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organisation (WHO) provides information for travellers: http://www.who.int/ith/en/index.html
MONEY & VALUABLES
Before you leave home, organise a variety of ways of accessing your money overseas, such as credit cards and cash. Check with your bank whether your ATM card will work overseas and what fees are associated with using it to avoid nasty surprises later. Whilst travelling, don’t carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
Make two copies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets and visas. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to your original documents and leave the other copy with someone at home. You can keep photos of your important documents on your phone too.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage.
TRAVEL INSURANCE OPTIONS
We can recommend the following companies, but as the applicant you should fully investigate the coverage to suit your individual requirements.
World Wide – WorldNomads for travel Insurance. With WorldNomads you can extend or change your policy while you are overseas.
United Kingdom / Europe – ERGO Insurance (previously ERV) – Great insurance company which offers options specifically for instructor courses!
WHISTLER BLACKCOMB COVERAGE
In case of an accident on the mountain while in Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb Ski Patrol will cover:
- first aid on the hill, within boundaries
- transportation off of the hill (with the exception of helicopter transportation)
- transportation to the medical facility, unless the injury requires an ambulance
Whistler Blackcomb Ski Patrol will NOT cover:
- ambulance transportation from the base of the mountain to the medical facility
- any medical care that is not administered on the hill – this is the expensive part!
Note too that there under our terms and conditions there is no refund from YES Tours if you are injured while on program, so you should ensure your program and accommodation is covered by your insurance also.
What should I do if I lose my passport?
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, contact the nearest Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of your country of citizenship as soon as possible. They will be able to provide you with advice on replacing your passport.
Losing your passport can cause all types of stress, especially if you have to spend additional $$ to change flights etc as your replacement passport may take time to issue.
We don’t recommend using your passport as your main form of identification while you are in Whistler. Leave it at your accommodation in a safe place. Instead, make sure you have a government driver’s license or age identification card to carry with you.
Are there currently COVID-19 restrictions in place in Whistler?
There are no restrictions currently in place. Note that restrictions can change without any prior notice, on either a local, provincial or national level. See below for links to the most current information.
As with all businesses in Whistler, we are required to operate within current COVID-19 health orders from Vancouver Coastal Health, the Province of British Columbia and the Provincial Health Authority. We ask that all of our guests also comply with the restrictions mandated by these orders, which you can find here. Another helpful resource is Tourism Whistler’s ‘Know Before You Go’ page.
Are there restrictions when I’m on the mountain? See the COVID-19 operating plan for this winter for Whistler Blackcomb here.
Check out this link to find out more about current restrictions for international visitors travelling to Canada.
Can I stay in my own room?
YES, single rooms are available dependent on availability. You should arrange this prior to arrival as YES cannot guarantee availability once you arrive.
When deciding if you should spend the extra money on having your own room you should consider a few things:
1. Am I a light sleeper? If so, then you might want to consider booking your own room.
2. Do I snore? If so, then you also might like to consider others by arranging your own room.
Remember, if you’re used to having your own space and have never shared with someone before then we would ask you to consider booking your own room. After all, we want you to have a memorable experience with us and don’t want it affected due to your sleeping arrangements.
We also have a selection of fully equipped Studio units as well as One-bedroom suites available for those that prefer to have their own living space.
How do I get from Vancouver to Whistler?
The trip up the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver airport to Whistler takes about 2-3 hours (depending on weather and traffic) and is a very scenic trip. It’s 30mins quicker from downtown.
If you choose the Skylynx option, you will be dropped off at the Whistler Village Gateway Loop in the heart of the village. Alternatively if you are staying in Creekside you can request to be dropped off in Creekside when booking your transfer.
At the gateway loop there should be taxis nearby. If there are no taxis around (or if you get dropped off in Creekside), we recommend you use Whistle! or call Whistler Taxi at 604-932-3333. If you are choosing to ride with Whistle! you will have to download the app in order to make your booking, so we recommend that you do this in advance. There will be wifi on the bus for you to use the app.
Ridebooker offer a variety of transfer methods from coaches to limos, and they can also arrange a door to door service so you don’t have to stress about trying to get to your local accommodation. Ridebooker will meet you at the airport and will modify your shuttle timing if your flight is delayed to ensure you have a smooth journey to Whistler. If you choose to use Ridebooker, use the code YESTOURSSNOW to receive a 5% discount on your booking. Please book the door to door service for your arrival transfer – this means you will be collected from the main terminal at Vancouver airport and dropped right to the front door of our accommodations.
To make a direct booking head to their website: http://www.ridebooker.com
Fill out your journey details under “Find My Ride!” and they will show you all the options and prices available. The journey by shuttle bus or coach costs about CAD$110 each way plus 5% GST and adititional coasts to get dropped off at a personalised location CAD$40, with the shuttle leaving more often than the standard coach timetable.
You can save 5% with the promo code YESTOURSSNOW when you book. If you are staying in YES accommodation, be sure to select the “Personalized Location” for your drop-off and enter the accommodation address from your confirmation details below so they will take you directly to your chalet. NB: if you don’t select the Personalized Location option you will be dropped in the Village and will have to take a taxi to your accommodation. Save yourself the hassle and cost by booking it directly! Once you have booked your transfer, be sure to send your arrival time to us so that we know when to expect you in resort.
If you will be arriving late at night (after 10pm) or very early in the morning (first transfers start at 8.30am) please let us know – we can organise a hotel at the airport if you would prefer not to travel up during the night.
Am I good enough? What level of skier or snowboarder do I need to be to join a YES program?
If you’re a low intermediate to advanced skier or boarder we would love to have you on the program and work with you to take your skills to a whole new level! We guarantee your improvement!
Another awesome aspect of our programs is that we have sufficient numbers of guests to create groups at all ability levels, giving you more options to fit nicely into an appropriate group. Our peak improvement weeks are from early January to end March.
High Ski/Board Ability Level
Trust us when we say ‘you’re never too good to continue improving’. We guarantee you’ll benefit from our program and our experienced coaches. Most of our clients are return clientele with some participating on the course over 20 times and some who have their CSIA or CASI Level 2 but they understand the importance to come back, refresh and keep learning. There is still so much to learn at every level. That’s the beauty of skiing and riding, isn’t it!
For those at a higher level we take the tack of a ski coach rather than rigid lessons and keep the pace up and the stoppage to a minimum. Goals take on a more “open-defined” approach in that the options are limitless (steeps, bumps, powder, trees, short radius, long radius) but the tactics for each situation are specified and focus for each individual is discussed. Sharing the experience with others is what skiing/riding is all about – we call it an “individual social” sport – lots of personal satisfaction from performing better, but not as fun if no one is there to share the experience with! After all, a good high five at the bottom makes for a great day!
Low Ski/Board Ability Level
As long as you’re linking turns on a blue run you should fit into one of our groups. If you are perhaps not up to that level then we will happily organise to have you join appropriate ski school classes during until you are at a comfortable level to join one of our groups. The days would be the same as the scheduled YES program.
Of course you will still be fully involved in all our après events even if you are in ski school for the first few days.
Where do you offer YES programs?
We also have special programs offered in South America and Europe – the dates are not set for these programs as they are more of a ‘one off’ style course.
We proudly offer the YES Ski and Snowboard Instructor Training Programs in Whistler only.
Do you go anywhere else apart from Whistler, Niseko and Wanaka?
YES! We often host improvement programs in Europe (roughly every second year).
We are always looking into new opportunities – if you have a group and you’re interested in receiving YES instruction drop us a line, we love travelling the world! firstname.lastname@example.org
When should I plan to arrive and leave?
Great question! The dates listed for our programs are always Saturdays, these are your arrival and departure dates.
Saturday is the arrival day – meaning this is the day you can check into the YES accommodation. There are no scheduled activities on the Saturday. Arrival day is the day that the YES team will be on hand ready to assist you with buying any equipment required, collecting your seasons pass etc.
The first day on snow is Sunday, which we refer to as guiding day.
Departure day is the day you need to check out of the YES accommodation. Departure day is the last Saturday of your program. The program wraps up on the last Friday evening so you can leave on the Saturday. You will need to check out of your room by 9:30am at the latest.
Additional nights/weeks are not generally available due to popularity of our courses. However do check with us for more details or recommendations if you need extra nights before or after your program.
How long are YES programs?
All our Improvement Programs are a week long, they run from Saturday to Saturday and you can join together as many weeks as you like.
Our first day on snow is Sunday; we meet at the patio of the Longhorn at the base of the Whistler Village Gondola at 8.30am for a guiding day. This gives you a chance to find your skiing legs and lets us assess your ability so we can organise groups of similar ability for the rest of the week. Our instruction days are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. We meet at 9.30am for a 10am start each day at the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain. We have a break for lunch around 12 and the day on the hill finishes at about 3pm.
The majority of our clients stay for at least 2 weeks at a time to benefit from the weekend rest and to practise the skills they have learned in the first week. This allows them to capitalize on their improvements and make even greater strides towards higher skiing levels.
Our Instructor Programs range from 4 to 11 weeks in length, depending on your goals we will certainly have a program to suit you. Find out more about out programs here.
What is the average age of people on the YES program?
Our average age ranges from 30-50 years for our improvement programs and 18-25 for instructor programs. YES welcomes anyone, at any age who wants to improve their skills!
Should I buy ski or boarding equipment at home or in the resort?
If you are coming to Whistler, you should definitely make your purchases in Canada. There is an enormous selection of stores to choose from and we have great relationships with only the very best, so we’re happy to point you in the right direction to ensure you are well looked after. Also, you can benefit from discussing your need with our pros – they will be able to advise on what equipment from the huge range available will be best for you and your skiing/riding style.
The right equipment can make a real difference to your skiing or riding – particularly if you are planning on taking an instructor training program, you will benefit from help in making the right choice once you get to Whistler. You will also benefit from being able to demo equipment before you buy to make sure you are happy before you commit. The cost of a demo is offset against your purchase & then your exclusive YES Tours Discount is taken off at the end of your purchase. There is also a huge advantage in getting your boots here and having them professionally fitted – not only will you be more comfortable every day, but it will also improve your performance on the snow, and you can go back to your boot fitter if you need tweaks & have them adjusted while you are here in resort.
Check out the Pros’ Picks for skis – YES PROS’ SKI PICKS FOR 2023/2024 SEASON
Get in touch with us at email@example.com for advice on where to shop and what to look for.
If you are going to Wanaka or Niseko, you may chose to buy equipment before your trip although there is a good selection available in resort and you can still benefit from the advice of our pros if you are not sure what to choose. You may also be able to demo equipment before you commit to buying to be sure you are making the right choice.
Where can I rent equipment?
There are plenty of choices in resort to rent equipment and we would be happy to point you in the right direction once you get here. We have some great deals set up with various stores around town. You can also demo equipment if you are thinking of buying – the cost of the demo is offset against your eventual purchase.
How can I pay for my YES program?
Whistler / Niseko / Europe Programs Payments
It’s easy! To reserve your place on the YES program we require a completed booking form and a CAD$1,000 booking deposit. We accept payment by major credit card, direct deposit to our bank account or Canadian cheque. For the initial deposit payment, you can provide your credit card details directly on the booking form.
FULL BALANCE PAYMENT:
MAKING A DIRECT PAYMENT INTO YES TOURS BANK ACCOUNT
Our preferred payment method is by bank transfer to our Canadian bank account as it saves you extra fees. You can arrange this directly with your bank or through third party currency transfer companies.
YES Tours has been using & recommending OFX to our guests for over 10 years.
OFX is more cost effective & we’ve secured a special offer for our guests: ZERO bank fees
OFX saves you typically 3% compared to your own bank or credit card’s exchange rates & no extra credit card processing fees.
Click on the link and sign up for OFX and they will get in touch with you to organise your transfer directly from your bank in The US, Australia, the UK, Europe & most elsewhere in the world.
You can get a quote before you sign up to give you an idea of how much better their rates are than any bank.
To find out more, click the link below:
Below are all the details of our bank account you will need for international payments. Note that Canada uses Swift/BIC & does not use IBAN. Please email us with the full details of your direct deposit to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can promptly credit your account and issue your client voucher.
Swift / BIC: ROYCCAT2
Branch Name: Royal Bank Whistler Branch
Branch Address: 101 – 4000 Whistler Way, Whistler, B.C., Canada, V0N 1B4
Branch #: 08500 003 or Routing #: 000308500 or Institution and Transit #: 003-08500
Account Holder Name: YES TOURS INC
Account #: 1004597
If you would prefer to pay by credit card, let me know and we will send you an invoice directly from our credit card system, Stripe with the details on how to complete your payment.
Please note that a 3.5% surcharge applies to all credit card payments.
The Wanaka program can be booked in either Australian dollars or New Zealand dollars. Your choice of currency will determine the method of payment. To confirm your booking, we require $1,000 deposit paid either into our Australian account (if booking in AUD$). See below for full payment details. Please email full details of the deposit to email@example.com so we can promptly credit your account and issue the client voucher. All payments are to be made out to YES TOURS INC.
Direct Deposit (Australian $)
Direct Deposit is preferred as payment method as we can confirm receipt immediately.
**Please make sure you use your surname as the reference when making your deposit
Branch # 013839
Acc # 589458048
Unfortunately we are unable to take payments by credit card or cheque in New Zealand at this time.
Can I pay by credit card?
Absolutely! You will see an additional 3% credit card fee added to your final purchase. You may find it more cost effective to arrange a direct deposit into our bank account, or use OFX & you can save the credit card fee & also up to 5%% on the exchange rate vs the rate your credit card plus you’ll get Fee-Free transfers. If you would prefer this option click on OFX or you can find full details here: How can I pay for my YES program?
Payments for Whistler, Niseko or Europe:
If you would prefer to pay by credit card, let us know and we will send you an invoice directly from our credit card system, Stripe, with the details on how to complete your payment.
Please note that a 3.5% surcharge applies to all credit card payments.
Payments for Wanaka:
Unfortunately we are unable to take payment by credit card for the Wanaka program at this time.
Do I need to tip?
We know that most of you come from countries where tipping is not common. In Canada, as in the USA, it is common to tip for most services such as: taxi drivers, hairdressers, bartenders and servers. The regular amount is 15% of your bill in restaurants or bars. For taxi drivers and hairdressers you can just add a couple of dollars to the bill. It is also customary to tip our instructors. We recommend $25+ per person per week for your instructor.
Instructor Program Questions
Do I need a visa if I plan to work in Canada?
Yes, unless you are a Canadian citizen, you must have a valid working visa if you plan to work after your program in Canada. The best option for most people is the Working Holiday Visa. International Experience Canada (IEC) provides young individuals the opportunity to travel and work in Canada. IEC is available in countries that have a bilateral youth mobility arrangement with Canada.
Countries that fall under the International Experience Canada catergory include: Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Chilie, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Rep., Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine.
To apply for a working holiday visa and you must be aged between 18 and 35 (depending on your nationality), have no previous criminal convictions and hold a current passport. Some of the listed countries above may also require additional documentation – you should view the website for more details on what might be required for you.
Visit the International Experience Canada website and follow the steps.
There is also a really helpful guide to the process here. You can also join a great Facebook group here if you have IEC visa related questions they are very helpful: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ocanada.iec.discussion.support
If you want to travel and work temporarily in Canada as part of International Experience Canada (IEC), your first step is to become a candidate in one or more IEC pools.
You can determine your eligibility by answering a series of questions using this link
You should apply for the International Experience Canada working holiday visa. The Working Holiday visa requires a job placement letter as the visa at this time because of Covid regulations.
For more information on employment and work visas, visit the International Experience Canada website here.
If your nationality doesn’t show up on the list above there may be other options for you. Please use this link: Canada working visa help to find out about your options.
Alternatively, if you cannot apply for the working holiday visa it may be possible to gain employment with a smaller resorts within Canada who may be willing to sponsor your visa – again a friendly reminder that neither YES Tours or Whistler Blackcomb will be able to offer any employment offer or documentation to assist with visa applications.
Will I be able to work in Canada after I do my YES Instructor program?
Successful candidates, on completion of the Instructor Training Program, may be able to arrange work with Whistler Blackcomb Ski & Snowboard School, provided that you have a valid Canadian working visa. YES have strong contacts with snow school and can introduce you to the right people to help you get started.
In addition to the work visa, to be able to work or do work experience, candidates must have:
- Social Insurance Number (SIN or proof of application) – we recommend you arrange this when you arrive in Vancouver (or other major Canadian city). Waiting to arrange this once in resort can be a little tricky.
- Bank account in Canada – this can be easily set up on arrival in Whistler with Scotia Bank, TD Canada Trust, CIBC or Blueshore Credit Union.
- A Criminal Record Check (CRC) – best to get one of these from your local police station before you leave for Canada. If you wait until you get here, they are much more expensive (over CAD$100) and can take up to 6 weeks to process. This means if you want to work for the Ski & Snowboard School, then you cannot work until you have your CRC approved.
Why take a GAP Year?
Why take a gap year? Taking a gap year between high school and college doesn’t mean you’re lazy, or that you’re skipping out on life, in fact, it means that you’re living life to the fullest and looking to broaden your horizons.
Firstly a gap year doesn’t need to be a full year. Regardless whether you join YES for 4 weeks or the whole season you can achieve so many goals: not only for your skiing or boarding skill set; but you’ll likely gain confidence in your abilities and talents, work experience and learn valuable life skills.
Taking a gap year is your time to refine specific skills, broaden your horizons, take yourself out of the comfort zone of home life which will allow you to sharpen your communication skills by interacting with people form all walks of life. You’ll be have the opportunity to integrate into a new society, a new group of friends, and maybe even new languages or cultural norms. College requires similar adaptation skills, and you’ll be much more ready to handle it if you’ve already shifted societies once before.
Oftentimes, a gap year involves staying in one spot and soaking up its culture, part of which means getting a job. No matter where you work – a ski instructor in Whistler or the embassy in London – you’ll have valuable (international!) experience for your resume and can explain your ability to communicate with customers and peers from different cultures.
I’m sure life feels like its unfolding fast right now, and in college, things only move faster. Give yourself room to think and breathe and be present right now. You’ll be surprised where your mind wanders when you give it free rein, let the creativity flow.
How cool would it be to go through life knowing you have a best friend in Italy or New Zealand? Their unique perspectives on life will hugely enrich yours as you compare all the major events that happen in your 20s and beyond. Learn about other cultures, learn to work with others, learn to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings, learn to stand on your own two feet and gain some independence. You’ll leave YES with some amazing memories that you will reflect back on for the rest of your life.
And if you didn’t take a gap year when you left school, it’s never too late! A gap after graduating college before getting into your career, or a break for a few months from your regular career can be beneficial in many ways, whether you’re 20 or 60!
Do you take 17 year olds on the Instructor Program?
We do take 17 year olds on the program!
For our youngest guests, we leave it to you (along with your parents) to judge whether you are socially and emotionally mature enough to come to Canada and live independently during the program. If you feel confident that you can do that, you can join us for sure.
We do have quite a few 17 year olds join us each season, and 95% of them do great, of course it’s more of an adjustment for some than others. Sometimes the bigger challenge for our younger guests in getting their certifications is the teaching side (leading the group, presenting and demonstrating to them etc), but we do all we can to you through that too.
So if you can see yourself living independently and confidently teaching a group of your peers, then you can definitely join us!
A couple of things to be aware of if you are 17 – you can’t apply for a working visa until you turn 18, so that’s not an option. Also the age of majority in BC is 19 so you may be limited in joining certain activities.
What skis should I have for the Instructor Program?
There are so many choices out there and our job is to help guide you in the right direction. Check out the YES Pro’s Top Ski Picks for 2022-23
Is the CSIA recognized around the world?
CSIA qualifications are recognised internationally in Canada, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Dubai, Switzerland, Austria and more.
The CSIA level 1 ski instructor course is the first stepping stone to get you into the industry. Focusing on beginner and teaching children tecnnique, the Level 1 qualification process is a 3 day exam with a 1 day Teaching childrens module.
If you’re looking to teach at a higher level then you will need to go for the CSIA level 2 which will allow you to teach up to an intermediate level. As your skiing progresses and you gain on snow experience you will then be in a position to go for Level 3 and 4 which are recognised internationally.
What is CADS?
CADS (Canadian Adaptive Snowsports) is a national organization with 2100 members living with with disabilities and over 3000 able-bodied instructors & volunteers from all regions of Canada, committed to the idea that “To give people living with disabilities the opportunity to eliminate barriers that have prevented them in experiencing the Joy and Freedom of Snowsports”. The CADS organization has touched thousands of individuals, both on and off the slopes, in its 40 year history.
In partnership with CADS the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program runs the operations and training courses in Whistler.
This course is a requirement for all CADS Level 1 instructors or those who want to teach skiing to people with disabilities.
To learn more head to the CADS page – https://www.yesimprovement.com/cads-level-1
How much does a Ski or Snowboard Instructor earn?
The Whistler Blackcomb snow school abides with the British Columbia minimum wage, as all employees in British Columbia are entitled to be paid minimum wage.
So for those that are joining us on the Internship program – you should expect that your starting wage with WB will be CAD$20 per hour.
The more certifications in skiing or other sports as well as any education credits you have, the higher your wage.
Happy learning … or should I say earning!
How much money do I need to bring?
We strongly suggest all clients have a credit card available to them throughout the duration of their stay as it is essential in emergency situations. Speak to your financial institution about credit card options that work for you and your family. Credit cards are very widely accepted and are the easiest route for most purchases. For larger purchases (eg over $200) you may be asked for additional ID if you have a foreign credit card, so the card should be in your own name.
While you are on-snow during the course, your group will eat lunch at one of the mountain restaurants. You should budget $20-$25 for lunch depending on your appetite. You can always prepare your own lunch at the chalet and bring it if you prefer.
You should also budget a similar amount for evening meals, less if you cook at the chalet or have arranged the catered option, more if you like to eat out in restaurants every day.
Catered accommodations – If you booked a catered package, dinner will be provided 6 days a week.
Other items to consider in your budget:
- Entertainment – bars / clubs / cinema / eating out etc
- Off-snow activities – we organize optional activities including bungee jumping, skating, spa visits, zip lining, snowmobile trips etc. If you would like to join any of these there are additional costs depending on the activity.
- Equipment – if you need skis / boots / snowboard then you should plan to buy those in Whistler and budget appropriately.
- Clothing / gear – you may find you lose a glove or need some additional clothing etc if you are here for more than a few weeks.
- Damage deposit – a cash deposit of $500 per person is required for guests staying in YES chalets / condos. This will be returned as you leave if there is no damage to the property.
Internship program - Where are my accommodations?
The WB Internship program (aka: Whistler Blackcomb Snow School University) is designed for those looking to be fully immersed in the WB lifestyle.
Some employees who work for the mountain live in staff housing, and this is also the case for some of the Internship program clients.
Staff housing has various locations in Whistler, however the property that you will be living in is called Glacier Staff Housing. It’s located in Blackcomb, ski-in ski-out! Yep it’s pretty incredible.
The first month’s rent (from mid Nov – mid Dec) is covered under your program fees.
The second month’s rent will be required prior to your arrival. This will help when budgeting while in resort, as you won’t have any more rent to pay until January.
The cost of accommodation (in Staff Housing) is approx CAD$550 per month for a twin share room.
As with everyone else working on the mountain, there are not enough places in Staff Housing for everyone who wants to come to Whistler to work, so we also offer accommodation in one of our own chalets, Creekside Chalet. The accommodation is still relatively affordable but it is a bit more expensive than staff housing. Otherwise finding accommodation yourself in Whistler is very difficult (and often expensive).
Improvement Program Questions
Can I arrange my own accommodation and still do a YES program?
YES! You’re welcome to join our program for instruction only if you have arranged your own accommodation. Price per week is CAD$899 including tax – this gives you 22 hours of top-level instruction and guiding per week. It also includes our weekly functions and the option to join additional off-snow activities (additional fees may apply). Also, we would be happy to arrange your lift ticket for you and save you some $$!
If you’re looking for accommodation that isn’t listed on our site please don’t hesitate to contact us and request a rate. We work with many of the hotels in town and we would be happy to assist you with all your accommodation needs.
What is the YES improvement program itinerary?
YES is all about improving your skiing or snowboarding while having a great time… on and off snow! You will meet lots of awesome new friends while you’re on our program, you might even go on to ski around the world with some of them!
Each Sunday YES will provide you with a weekly itinerary, listing the on and off snow activities. Which activities you choose to be a part of is completely up to you! We host a group dinner on a Tuesday night at one of the many amazing restaurants in town. On Wednesdays (our off-snow rest day) we provide suggestions of great activities in and around Whistler like Ziptrek, snowmobiling, wine tasting tours, bungee jumping, dog sledding to name a few. We also have discount cards for the Scandinave day spa which is a fantastic way to relax and unwind.
YES on-snow schedule – Our programs run from Saturday to Saturday and you can join as many weeks together as you like. Our first day on snow is Sunday – we meet at the base of Whistler Mountain at 9:30am for a guiding morning, and we work out groups by ability level. Our instruction days are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. We meet at 9.30am each day at the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain. We have a break for lunch around 12 and our day on the hill finishes at about 3pm.
** Please note that Christmas day (25th Dec) and New Years day (1st Jan) are rest days and therefore these weeks will differ from our standard week.
The majority of our clients stay 2 weeks at a time to benefit from the weekend rest and to practise the things that they learned the week prior. This allows them to capitalize on their improvement and make even greater strides towards higher skiing/boarding levels.
If you can only spare one week then we suggest making it the first week of your winter vacation, it will be the best decision you’ve made for your skiing or boarding career! You can then set off and use your new found skills during the rest of your holiday… you might love it so much you book another week!
What if I am a beginner? Do you have a program for me?
The YES Program is designed for improvement from a low intermediate level – ie: able to link turns on a blue run. However if you wish to join the program at a beginner level, we will book you into normal full day beginner ski school lessons on the same days as the YES Program runs (Sun, Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri). You will still be able to join us for all the other YES off-snow activities. We will monitor your progress throughout the week and as soon as you have reached the level of a suitable YES group we will happily bring you over and continue your improvement.
Do you cater for children/youth?
We do cater for children! Depending on the ability and age of the child we can accept them on the YES program or arrange for him/her to join Whistler Kids programs for the same time frame that the parents are on the YES Program. If you would prefer to have your kids ski with the YES program we are totally OK with that as long as they are at the required ability level. If you are unsure we suggest contacting our reservations team and discussing with them.
The Whistler Kids program cost will be similar to our instruction cost which is CAD$799 per person per week. They are very well looked after on these programs. Depending on the ages and whether they ski or board, we can direct you to the most suitable programs for them.
Lift Pass / Epic Pass Questions
How do I get my pass?
If you have ordered an Epic Pass or WB Day Passes through us, you MAY receive an email from Vail with your pass details. This email is legitimate and you should follow the instructions to create an Epic account and activate your pass. You can read more about how to do that in this guide: Epic Pass set-up guide
If you already have an Epic account, they may NOT send you an email. In this case, just log into your account at epicpass.com and you should see the new pass details there.
Either way, if you have a photo on file (or upload one to your new account) and there is more than a month before your program, they will send you a pass by mail. This can take a few weeks to arrive due to the international shipping. You can bring the pass with you and you are ready to hit the slopes!
If you forget to bring it, or don’t have enough time to receive it by mail, no problem. You can pick up your pass from any WB Guest Services location (at the base of Whistler, Blackcomb or Creekside). Just bring some photo ID. We can provide your confirmation number also but it is not usually needed.
If you have ordered a WB Season Pass through YES, it will not be mailed to you but you will be able to pick it up at Guest Services once you arrive in town.
Should I buy a pass before I come to Whistler?
YES! There are a number of pass options depending where you are coming from and how long you will be in Whistler, but whatever your plans it is always cheaper to book in advance than wait until you get here.
As a bonus if you book your pass through YES we offer a discount on some programs as a package, just ask for more details.
What are the pass options?
There are a number of options to consider, here is a summary:
This is the everything pass – gets you unlimited access to skiing in Whistler and most other Vail resorts, including access to Australian resorts the following winter. The Epic Pass also gets you a discount of up to 20% in resort and on the mountain. Depending on the current price, it is usually the best option if you will be skiing more than 12 days.
There are a few caveats to be aware of:
- The pass is non-refundable, and so must be fully paid for in advance and make sure you have insurance in place!
- Passes are only available on sale until around the end of November
- The price of the pass goes up roughly once every month, so the sooner you buy the better the price
- If you have an Australian Epic pass, you can use it for up to 10 days skiing in Whistler but you may have blackout dates so please check to be sure.
WB Day Passes:
If you will be skiing 10 days or less, this is usually the best priced option for you. The day passes can be used on non-consecutive days, so fit perfectly with our programs. They are available for 1 – 10 days, with or without restricted days. They are about half the price or less vs regular daily lift tickets.
A few points to note:
- The pass is non-refundable, and so must be fully paid for in advance and make sure you have insurance in place!
- Passes are only available on sale until around the end of November
- The price of the pass goes up roughly once every month, so the sooner you buy the better the price
- If you have a restricted pass, you cannot use it on blackout dates so please check to be sure.
Available only to Canadian and Washington state residents, the best price for 5 or 10 days of skiing. We cannot buy these passes for you, so you do need to contact WB directly to order your pass.
Regular lift tickets:
If you are too late to buy one of the passes above (booking after November) you will have to buy regular lift tickets. The one advantage of this as that they are usually refundable if you don’t use them. If you are in this situation, we can still get you slightly cheaper passes with at least 10 days’ notice before you arrive vs buying them when you get here. Note that some dates may not be available to buy at the last minute if the resort is too busy, there may be restrictions in place. Contact us for your best options and to compare prices. If you are skiing more than a week we may have a better option for you.
I am doing an Instructor Program, what pass will I get?
If you are booking a 4, 7 or 11 week Instructor Program with accommodation, then your lift pass is included in your booking. For most guests we will purchase an Epic Pass for you. If you book later (after November) when Epic Passes are no longer available for sale we will order a WB Season Pass for you instead.
In both cases the passes are non-refundable, although in some cases WB will refund part of your pass if you go on to work as an instructor after your program. This is not guaranteed.
Help I forgot to bring my pass!
No problem! You can pick up your pass from any WB Guest Services location once you are in Whistler (at the base of Whistler, Blackcomb or Creekside). Just bring some photo ID. We can provide your confirmation number also but it is not usually needed.
I have to cancel - is my pass refundable?
Unfortunately most passes now are not refundable if you need to cancel your trip, or if it is cut short. We strongly advise you take out travel insurance to help cover the cost in that case.
If you have an Epic Pass it does come with some coverage which may help in limited circumstances. Find out more about this and how to make a claim here.
I am having trouble with my epicpass.com account - help!
If you are having issues logging into your account or finding your pass in there, have a look at this helpful guide from Vail about how to get it working for you.
We don’t have access to their system directly, so for password issues etc you are best to contact them directly. We can provide your pass confirmation number if you need it – just let us know.