Having done both a winter and summer season in Whistler there are some things that would have helped us out massively before going there to settle in. Whether you are going for a holiday or to spend the season there here are a few hacks, tips and information on Whistler that we gained from living there that will hopefully help you too!
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The housing situation in Whistler is or seems to be gradually getting worse as there is still so much property being snapped up privately & rented on at a high price. That being said do not fret too much as there are always apartments and rooms popping up all the time. Business’ have been clocking on to this for a while and a lot of them now offer housing for staff throughout the year. Many of these places will be subsidised to allow staff to live and stay around the village where most work can be found.
Whilst you are on the search for accommodation here are some great hostels/hotels that are the cheapest to stay at while in Whistler…..
Accommodation / Job Resources
Facebook – Joining the ‘Whistler Summer / Winter’ pages and ‘Whistler housing for locals’ pages are a good starting point, there are a couple of different ones but just be ready as people post up when there is a spare room / place available and usually there is usually a lot of interest within minutes. My advice would be to get a small passage with some information prepared about yourself and your job you have in Whistler (if you have one) ready to send, and comment PM’d on the thread. Remember to stand out from the crowd with your message and show the person why they should be renting their place to you. I found my first place this way so it does work! Even if you hear nothing back from the first 5 or so, be persistent and keep chasing things up.
The links to the Facebook pages mentioned are as follows:
Pique Magazine – Local free Whistler magazine and great read for everything going on and happening in Whistler. Found in most coffee shops, hotels, in the library and some shops. Definitely pick up a copy to check the classified job listings in the back, for all different positions hiring around whistler as well as which jobs that may come with staff housing.
Craigslist – Although there are a lot of genuine listings on here there are also some fake ones so be warned! Definitely worth checking but a bit unreliable as sometimes some of the listings are scams that aren’t even real with people playing on the housing desperation. I have heard a few people saying once they had followed up on an advert and the apparent property owner wanted money upfront before viewing the property etc. as they weren’t in the country. If its feels a bit dodgy or too good to be true it probably is!
Word of Mouth – Already knowing people in Whistler before you get there can help a lot as there is always the possibility of them handing your resume / CV on to employers or keeping and ear out for potential accommodation with people coming and going so much.
As a rough guide you would be looking around $1000 and up for a double room for a pretty decent place. En suite bathrooms differ from place to place but generally you could be paying a bit more if you have your own that comes with the room. Single bed room around $650 and single bed in shared rooms also are around $550 (As a rough guide not including bills/hydro). It just depends really what you are comfortable with as a lot of the time you will be at work, out on the hill, hiking or out and about so if you are just looking for a place just to crash every night a room share or cheap single room could be for you.
Some places are not that great and even I went to see one or two places that was a small single bed in a tiny room miles away from the village and they wanted $800 for it. If you are not happy with the place, don’t go for it, I think some people do try to play on the ‘housing crisis’ desperation a little. just be firm and know what you can get for your money.
Not to fear! Whistler does have programs to help the housing dilemma. From chatting to people on holiday and owners of properties in Whistler, people buying new places go into a lottery in which they have to rent out the property for a certain amount of the year so there is hope!
Don’t get disheartened though if you are running our of money staying at a hostel still trying to find a place and a job. People are coming and going all the time from Whistler including mid ski and summer seasons as well so there is always rooms opening all the time. I have even spoke to people who have done deals with some of the hostels there exchanging working for a bed until they find somewhere to live or people some people just staying in hostels all season on a little reduced rate and working there as well.
Get a job with perks – With everything being so expensive in Whistler it is hard to go even food shopping without waxing your whole paycheck on a week or twos food. Jobs in the hospitality / restaurant areas are a massive help and usually have loads of perks. From cheap food to meals while on shift to free drinks or free coffee. I worked buffet breakfasts at a Hotel in the village and was allowed to take home any of the pastries / food items that were left or not used at the end of every shift. This helped massively as after eating free breakfast after my shift I also had snacks / lunch to take on a hike or up the mountain when riding!
Two jobs – Or even three jobs are not uncommon in Whistler and employers are usually very accommodating with fitting you in with shifts as they know you are all in the same boat. Having an extra two or possibly 3 shifts a week on top of your other job sounds like a lot but it definitely helps for some extra cash to maybe get a new backpack or pair of ski’s or just with the general cost of living. My advice would be to keep at least one or two days completely off to give enough time to go hiking, skiing or whatever else you would like to do. We made sure we had block two days off per week so we could go on epic hikes and also have enough time up the mountain. An early morning job was also amazing as granted I was up very early at maybe 5 or 6 am but to finish at 12-1 pm gave an amazing amount of time in the day to enjoy everything outdoors.
Working for the mountain also has a major perk, giving you a fee ski pass and the option of staff accommodation , so if this is your thing working up the hill everyday I’m sure you won’t regret it! Free ski passes are also given to Volunteers who work for the mountain, so if you don’t mind spending some of you spare time on your days off this maybe be for you too.
Some locally run shops in the village also give a free ski pass for full-time employees so always worth asking about the perks or advantages of a job as they may not initially seem that good in terms of hourly wage but can end up saving you loads of money!
Cheap Eating –
There are a few supermarkets around the village IGA Market place being the most easily accessible and walking distance. A little further is Nesters northbound a couple of km’s
out of the village but most definitely within walking distance with another supermarket just down in Creekside.
If you have a car the we would highly recommend travelling down to Squamish to Walmart and stocking up on all the essentials. This will save you a huge amount in the long run! If you are going for a bigger shop Nesters (if it’s not too far to walk) is cheaper just by a little, otherwise IGA maybe a little more expensive but if you are only getting a meal or two it might be a better option. Look out for the deals at IGA as they are actually quite good sometimes!
Furneys – El furniture Warehouse located in the center of the village next to Ruby Tuesday Accessories opposite BG grill and Carumbam is a great place to eat for real cheap. A favorite with pretty much all seasonaires everything is $5 and with a good range on the menu you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck! Be prepared to wait for a table here, especially on weekends.
Tuesdays Pizza Antico – $15 a beer and a pizza is a great deal and although not super super cheap the quality of the freshly made pizza and ingredients is definitely worth it! This place does get very busy on a Tuesday so going early or popping in to book a table and coming back would be recommended.
Wednesdays Dubh Linn Gate – Each day the Dubh Linn Gate Pub has great meal offers that are all worth checking out; our favorite was the beer, burger and fries for $12 on a Wednesday. Again not breaking the bank for a good quality hearty meal.
Fat Tony’s & Misty Mountain Pizza – Our favorite quick-lunch spots when we were in and around town, also great when you have just come off the hill. Cheap tasty pizza all for $3.50 a slice!
Low season deals – During low season many restaurants have some great dining in deals. It is definitely worth saving a bit of cash for these for the chance to dine at half price at some really great places. Two examples are Rim Rock Cafe our favorite and arguably the best restaurant in Whistler $50 for 3 course meal and Sushi Village $21 for 3 courses.
Other Saving Tips
Function Junction – South down highway 99 out of the village past creekside is an area called Function Junction were there is a thrift second-hand store that sells anything and everything from jumpers, to ski gear, to electrical stuff, to even belts and kitchenware! So if you are on a budget or fancy some new clothes or need to invest in some smart work attire, it is definitely worth taking trip down there. You can find some real bargains, the few times we went to function we ended up purchasing at least one item each! There are buses that run from the village to function and you can also grab the Cheakamus bus down there as well.
Hikes – There are SO MANY amazing overnight and day hikes you can do from Whistler village. Some require maybe a little bus ride out of the village but apart from that they are absolutely free (unless you want to camp, then it is a small $25 fee to BC parks) with epic views and trails everywhere we would highly recommend to get yourself out on a few if not all of them! You will not regret it! 🙂
You can check our Top 5 hikes from Whistler here
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We really hope you find this guide useful, if you have any questions please tell us in the comments as we’ll be more than happy to answer them 🙂
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