PLANNING BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME
TRAVEL INSURANCE – Travel insurance is a requirement! Unfortunately accidents do happen on the slopes and medical treatment is expensive. Be sure to bring all the details of your travel insurance coverage including your policy number and your insurer’s contact details should you need to make a claim. It’s often a good idea to leave that information with a family emergency contact too. We recommend you double check with your insurance policy to ensure it includes winter sports (skiing, snowboarding etc) and other activities you might want to do (dog sledding, snowmobiling) as some policies may not cover you. See the section below for insurance recommendations.
TOURIST VISAS – Most visitors to Canada now require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before you can board your flight to Canada. Find out more here: www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada/eta/about.html
Depending on your nationality, a tourist visa may also be required to enter Canada to attend a YES Improvement program. Please check with the Canadian Consular Services in your home country or go to www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada.html for more information.
WORKING VISA – If you are planning on working after the program, you MUST have a valid work visa /working holiday visa. There are no exceptions!
Please note: you DO NOT require a working visa just to participate on our 11, 7 or 4 week instructor course. Working visas are only required for the Internship (WBSSU course) and for those looking to gain employment in Canada after completion of the program.
If you would like to apply or find out if you are eligable to apply you can visit the International Experience Canada website here and follow the steps.
USA citizens looking to work in Canada should contact SWAP. Please visit the SWAP website for more details.
REMINDER – DAMAGE DEPOSIT – YES Tours requires all clients staying in our accommodations on the instructor training course to provide a CAD$500 CASH deposit on arrival, which is to be held by YES Tours for the duration of the program. The deposit will be returned to the student in full at the end of the program providing no damage has to the property has occurred. Please have the cash ready upon arrival at the chalet.
You must have medical insurance including coverage for winter sports. Please ensure your insurance coverage includes all winter sports ie: skiing, snowboarding, and some extra activities such as snowmobiling, dogsled etc. We also recommend that you take out insurance for loss or damage to your personal possessions. YES Tours is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged personal belongings.
We recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance for all nationalities. They will cover your ski/snowboard adventure and you can buy, extend, and claim online, even if you are already on the road travelling. WorldNomads for travel Insurance.
If you are from Australia or New Zealand, Travel Insurance Direct offers low cost travel insurance for domestic and international ski and snowboard holidays.
If you are from the United Kingdom or Europe – ERGO Insurance (previously ERV) offer great insurance options specifically for ski and snowboard vacations – covering both off piste and backcountry terrain. They also offer cancellation coverage. For more information visit their website here.
**Please note that the above insurance companies are suggestions only, and you should always do your own research to select the coverage that best suits you.
If you are aware of any physical or mental health issue that may affect you and/or others during the course, please speak in confidence to a member of YES staff, before you arrive or when you start your program.
If you are prevented from completing your course due to injury or other medical reasons, there will be no refund from YES Tours for any portion of your program booking. It is up to you to make a claim on your personal travel insurance for any losses. We will be happy to provide a letter detailing your payments and date of injury to pass on to your insurer on request.
Have you booked your flights?
Please make your own flight arrangements. All flight arrangements are separate to your YES Tours program. Vancouver International Airport is the closest airport to Whistler.
The program start date is the day you should arrange to arrive in Whistler, usually a Saturday. There is no on-snow instruction on arrival day. Arrival day is allocated to arranging your equipment, pass, groceries etc ready for the following day (Sunday) which is our guiding day and your first day on snow.
For guests staying in YES accommodation, check in time is from 4pm on the Saturday. You will not be able to get into your allocated room prior to this time. If your flight arrives earlier, no worries, you can drop your bags off at the house and return at 4pm to check into your room BUT you must let YES know in advance.
We recommend RideBooker for your transfers from Vancouver Airport to your Whistler accommodation, see next section for all the details.
When you arrive into Canada, you will be asked for an address on your landing card to be presented to Canadian Immigration. If you are staying in YES accommodation, please use the condo address emailed to you a few weeks before you arrive.
If you are delayed in transit, please call or text YES Tours on +1 604 905 2560 as soon as you can to let us know.
Are you arriving into Whistler early? Or are you planning on staying on in Whistler after you finish on the course?
Depending on the time of year, we are sometimes able to assist our clients with extra nights’ accommodation before or after your program. Requests should be made to YES directly and are subject to availability. The price varies depending on the accommodation available. Long term accommodation extensions are often available from February to end of the season at a great rate. Email us for more details.
The trip up the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler takes about 2-3 hours (depending on weather and traffic) and is a very scenic trip.
We recommend using Skylynx for a more affordable option or Ridebooker for a more customisable trip to organise your transfer from Vancouver Airport (or downtown) to Whistler. 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 offers 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 Ride Booker, 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 additional costs 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 “Personalised 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 Personalised 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. Once you have booked your transfer, be sure to send your arrival time to us.
Your drop-off address will be emailed to you around 30 days prior to your arrival.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BRING?
The following items are recommended to ensure you are best prepared for your Yes Program:
Essential items needed:
- thermal ski socks
- good quality waterproof gloves
- warm hat
- anti-fog goggles
- neck warmer/scarf
- thermal underwear (top & bottom)
- second layer sweater
- third layer vest (if needed for those with only a shell jacket)
- waterproof pants and jacket (please see below for more information)
- snow boots (for walking in the village)
- a well fitted helmet is highly recommended for your safety on the slopes. It is mandatory for boarders doing CASI certifications to wear a helmet. A little FYI – Here in Whistler everyone wears a helmet. The days of ‘helmets aren’t cool’ is gone and helmets are awesome is in! Safety is a huge priority for all of us – after all, we want to be able to ski and ride for the rest of our lives and protecting our head is key to that
Your on-snow gear needs to be good quality as winter temperatures in Whistler can fluctuate from 5°C to -20 °C throughout the season and can at times be wet. We suggest a Gortex fabric that is at least 15,000mm waterproof and breathable for your outerwear. Layering your clothing is the best solution to staying warm. It will allow you to adjust to the varying temperatures and changes in the weather. All the items suggested above can be purchased at many ski shops in Whistler. If you feel you need some suggestions, it’s worth waiting until you arrive and we can happily point you in the right direction. Discounts at many of the local shops are available to all YES Clients!
We also recommend you bring: gym clothes, warm casual clothes for après and lounging around the house, warm slippers for your accommodation as it is custom to leave all street shoes/boots at the front door, towel for swimming/gym.
Optional items – Small first aid kit for your own use, high factor sunscreen, certificates for any ski or snowboard qualifications. It will also be helpful to bring an up to date resume if you are planning on working upon completion of the course.
Items provided by YES: all bed linens and a bath towel.
SKI & SNOWBOARD GEAR
You will need to have your own equipment consisting of appropriate skis and poles or snowboard, and boots. If you do not already have your own equipment, we HIGHLY recommend you wait until you arrive in Whistler. Our professional instructors will be able to give you valuable information and advice on the best equipment to fit you and your ability. You can also try before you buy to make sure you are making the best choice!
We work with many of the best boot fitters in town to ensure that you are fitted with the best flex, size, and style of boots possible.
GET THE RIGHT BOOT FIT THE FIRST TIME
If you are a skier, do yourself a favour and get your boots fitted right the first time. Enjoy the comfort, performance and balance of a properly fitted ski boot. Not only will it improve your mood at the end of each day, you’ll be a better skier for it. With a boot that is fitted properly, your skiing will change. Sliding around in a sloppy boot leads to a whole host of problems both in your knees, back and overall ski style and ability. The same is true in something too small, too stiff and too painful. Proper fit in your boots means better response from your skis, improved technique and being more efficient in how much energy you expend skiing. And believe me, it’s worth it.
YES we can suggest two great boot fitters in town and we would be happy to book an appointment for you.
Ski Connexions – Barry Allison (YES pro as well as experienced boot fitter)
The first step in boot fitting is to match a boot to the shape of your foot. All manufacturers and models are different. Some boots are wide, some are narrow, some boots have lots of volume, some have minimal volume, some have higher narrower cuffs and some have lower rounder cuffs. Sometimes it can even come down to the angle of forward lean in boots that can make your fit different. It is essential to see the barefoot in the shell before knowing what you need. Barry creates custom foot beds and will work with liners to make the boot right for you. Re-shaping the shell is common and these adjustments can make a massive difference in the way you get the best performance out of your boot.
Let’s face it; ski boots are not made to flatter one’s foot! It is one of the reasons why it is worthwhile for people to come and get a free and honest consultation. Contact Barry to book an appointment.
The George McConkey fit – He analyzes your foot, asks what type of skier you are and then recommends which boot to buy. A lot of the time, that isn’t a boot that he sells (but he’ll tell you where to get it). Once you have the new boots, you book a time to come back and the real work begins. Working the shell is where George’s experience and skill really shine. He will completely rebuild a shell from the ground up. Re-drilling cuffs, punching, twisting, heating and moulding until it aligns and fits everything from your calves down to your feet. Once that’s done, it’s time for custom liners and foot beds. Two hours later you have a set of boots custom fit for your feet. After a couple of days of break in that may or may not require a couple of tweaks, the results are incredible.
CAN I AFFORD IT?
Prices range from $900-$1200 for a custom boot fit. It might sound expensive but remember – you will be in your ski boots more than your casual walking shoes during the program! You want to be comfortable and get the best alignment from your boots to ultimately change your skiing!
If you buy decent boots from off the shelf you would still expect to pay anywhere from $500-$900! This is stock standard boot and you don’t have the confidence of a guarantee that you have been put in the right boot that will work for you.
Work with the experts! If you would like to make an appointment with either of these guys email me to let me know.
If you are thinking about renting your gear, prices range from approx $200-$350 per week depending on the time of year and standard of gear. Some shops offer a rent-to-buy plan. And in many cases, it may be cheaper and more cost effective to purchase. Again, discounts are available for all YES Clients with some of the best Ski & Snowboard shops in town.
If you choose to bring equipment with you, please check with your airline as there may be an excess baggage charge.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE IN WHISTLER
If you are staying in YES accommodation:
Entrance into Chalets: There are no keys necessary to enter. Instead, please use the door code that will be emailed to you along with your address details 30 days prior to the program start date.
Enter code into the keypad and the deadbolt will automatically retract.
To lock the door when you leave – press the middle button with the lock symbol and the deadbolt will activate, locking the door
Whatever your accommodation, please let us know you have arrived: If you are in a YES Chalet, in most cases YES staff will be there to meet you when you arrive. In case they are not available, or if you have your own accommodation, please contact the YES office immediately when you arrive. Phone or text 604 905 2560.
Please advise the YES rep immediately if you need to make any arrangements to rent, demo or purchase your equipment or clothing items so that we can ensure you are ready to go for the first day on snow!
Sunday is the first day on the snow. We meet at 9:30am in Whistler Village or Creekside (depending on your accommodation). Further details will be provided on the chalet notice board or by e-mail closer to your arrival.
WHERE TO SEND MAIL & CARE PACKAGES
*** Please DO NOT send any mail or packages to your accommodation address or the YES office street address – we are unable to access these mail boxes and mail will be returned to sender***
Whistler’s postal system is likely different to what you’re used to at home. Houses do not have personal mail boxes nor is there a regular postal delivery to all areas.
To ensure correct delivery please check with YES on your arrival for up-to-date recommendations. Generally most items must be sent to the YES PO Box address. Please be aware that mail in Canada can take a lot longer to arrive than you may expect.
Top tip – if someone at home wants to send you a gift while you are on the program, have them contact YES directly and we can set up an activity gift for you to use while you are here rather than sending a physical package. Have them contact us for more info.
Damage/Security Deposit – Upon arrival at the accommodations, each person is required to provide a cash CAD$500 deposit that will be held by YES until the day of your scheduled check out. The damage deposit is designed to insure against neglectful behaviour towards the chalets. Your deposit will only be retained in the event of damage occurring.
All condos provide basic wireless internet but you will need your own device.
If you are staying in a YES Self-catered Chalet, the kitchens are fully equipped with cookware so you can prepare your own meals if you choose. There are grocery stores in the Village and in Creekside.
If you have chosen to add the meals package, your meals will be delivered to the chalet chilled once a week for you to heat and eat as you wish.
All YES properties have a communal washing machine and dryer. Detergent will be provided by YES.
You do not need to bring any bedding, linens or bath towels – this will be provided to you when you arrive. If you are planning on going to the gym or the pool you will need to bring your own towel, YES linens should stay in the accommodation.
We expect everyone to be respectful of others in the accommodation and clean up his/her own mess. Cleaners are scheduled to come weekly. If the chalet host feels that guests are being particularly messy they may request that you tidy your room / bathroom or living spaces in addition to the regular cleaning schedule. If your room is so messy that the host cannot easily access it to clean, it will not be cleaned for you!
We ask that each participant put away their personal belongings (i.e. laptops, tablets, cell phones, wallets, travel docs etc) before you leave the house – YES Tours is not responsible for any lost or stolen belongings. While Whistler is a very safe place we strongly recommend that you lock the door behind you and do not provide the door code to anyone unless they are living in your chalet/condo.
At the end of the course you must be ready to check out by 9:30am on Saturday morning. If you have booked a shuttle transfer to the airport with RideBooker door to door service, they will pick you up from your accommodations. Refer to your transfer confirmation for your departure time.
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. During the 2021/22 season, Whistler Blackcomb only accepted credit cards for all purchases on the mountain.
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.
While you are on-snow during the course, your group will eat lunch at one of the mountain restaurants. You should allow $15-$20 for lunch depending on your appetite. You can always prepare and bring your own lunch too.
Catered accommodations – If you booked a meals package, dinner will be provided 6 days a week.
Photo: Whistler Fire and Ice show takes place every Sunday night and its FREEEEEEEE!
YES is all about having fun! We want to show you the best of Whistler and there is a lot to see and do, much more than just on the mountain! Each week you will be given a schedule which shows how your week will look both on and off snow. All off-snow activities are optional (unless stated) and these are at your own expense.
Activities vary in price but we always have the best deals set up for you. Snowmobiling, bungee jumping, cat skiing, ziptrek, NHL hockey games, tube park, ice skating etc etc… the list goes on. These activities can be booked and paid for once arriving in resort.
** Helpful idea for parents – if you are unsure of what to get your son/daughter for Christmas or a Birthday, why not buy them an activity pack? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
There are many shops, bars, and restaurants located in Whistler Village, the Upper Village and Creekside.
There are many reasonably priced options for eating out around the village including take-out options. These include El Furniture Warehouse, Pasta Lupino, Peaked Pies, Moguls, Main St Noodles, Avalanche Pizza to name a few. There are also a wide variety of quality restaurants to choose from, most are located along the village stroll.
The legal drinking age in Canada is 19. If you are planning on checking out the local night life while you are here, you will be require to show 2 pieces of ID, one of which will need to be photo identification. Note that you may be asked for ID even if you are well over 19 so be sure to carry it with you.
Whistler has a great bus system that can take you anywhere in the Whistler area. The price per ride is CAD$2.50. You must have the exact change when you get on the bus. Monthly bus passes are available for purchase at many outlets in Creekside and the Village. Be sure to pick up a map from any bus which lists routes and timetables. There is also a free shuttle bus around the village and to the Benchlands (the Blackcomb base area). For further information check out www.bctransit.com/whistler/home
The local taxi company is called Resort Cabs and the number is 604-938-1515. There is also a taxi rank located by the Welcome Centre in the village.
You can withdraw cash with most debit (or credit) cards from the many ATM/cash points in Whistler Village and Creekside. The main banks in the village are TD Canada Trust located in the Marketplace and RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) located near the conference centre. The TD offers longer opening hours and both will provide services such as cashing travellers’ cheques.
In Canada you are expected to tip in bars, restaurants, hairdressers, and taxis. It is also customary to tip your instructors on the mountain. The regular amount is 15%+ of your bill in restaurants or bars. In a taxi you can just add a few dollars to the bill. We recommend a tip of about CAD $20-30 per person per week for your instructor.
Whistler Hospital is located in Whistler Village.
** The number to call in an emergency situation is 911**
If you require emergency medical attention you will be required to pay CAD$700+ upfront, before a doctor can see you. All expenses must be paid for at time of consultation. You will then need to claim this back through your travel insurance. Some insurance companies require to be contacted before seeing a doctor, so please confirm with your policy as to their requirements. It is best to check this out before you need it!
If you do not require emergency attention but require a local GP we suggest visiting:
The cost for the consultation will need to be paid for in full at the time. It will be cost approx CAD$125 for a standard consultation. They will provide you with a receipt so you can claim this back through your travel insurance.
The local gym is conveniently located in Creekside. YES clients will receive a discount on visits to the Whistler Creek Athletic Club visit their website: www.whistlergym.com
The Whistler Recreation Centre is located in Alpine Meadows (North of Whistler village) and is called Meadow Park Sports Centre. You can catch the bus there easily or it is a short taxi ride. The centre has a large fully equipped gym, pool, hot tubs, sauna, steam room, ice skating rink, and squash courts. Find out more here: www.whistler.ca/culture-recreation/recreation/meadow-park-sports-centre
There is also a gym and climbing centre in the Village called The Core, located near the conference centre. You can find out more at their website: www.whistlercore.com/
Located in the village, Whistler Chiropractic offer soft tissue therapy and chiropractic treatment for better health and performance. Acupuncture also available.
There are a number of physios around Whistler, we are happy to recommend Back In Action:
2 locations on Main St, Whistler
Other physios and chiropractors are available, ask the YES staff or pros for recommendations, everyone has their favourite!
LUNA stands for Late and Unique Nighttime Alternatives. These are activities for young people that don’t involve alcohol. LUNA activities include drop in sports, concerts, films, and other activities. It’s a great way to meet new, interesting people from around the world. Visit www.lunawhistler.com for a list of the weeks activities.
SOCIAL INSURANCE NUMBER
If you are entering Canada with a Working Holiday Visa and plan to work while you are here, you will need to get your SIN before coming to Whistler. If you are not going to be working and are just doing the program, you do not need to do this!
The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. It is confidential and should only be provided to your employer / government agents / your bank. Do not give this number to anyone else.
You will see on the website that it is possible to apply for your SIN online or by mail. Neither of those options will work for you as you will want to have your number immediately – you can’t apply for it until you have your visa (ie have arrived in Canada). It can take up to 6 weeks to arrive by mail, and this could affect your ability to start work. You should go with the in-person option as they will give you your number immediately.
SIN in-person process:
You should allow at least 3-4 hours to get your SIN number as you cannot make an appointment time – you simply show up, get a number and wait. It can take anywhere from 10mins to a few hours depending on how busy they are. If you don’t arrange your SIN in Vancouver or Squamish there is an office in Whistler but the hours are extremely limited – view opening dates here. Note that these hours maybe when you are on-snow with the program, so please don’t rely on being able to get your SIN in Whistler.
Note that Service Canada offices are generally only open Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 4pm. If you arrive late in the day they may turn you away if you won’t be seen in time. Best to go in the morning if at all possible!
Please note: You will need to bring your passport and work permit / visa with you in order for Service Canada to issue you a SIN number.
There are various Service Canada offices in the Vancouver area, but the most central one is probably the most convenient location:
Check out the Service Canada website for more information.