Welcome newcomers

It’s hard to believe that the event formerly known as Welcome Week is here again.

Now officially called Connect Whistler — a partnership with Whistler Blackcomb, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Whistler Community Services Society — the event serves, essentially, as the ski town equivalent of college frosh week.

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Throughout the week newcomers to Whistler will enjoy a pancake breakfast, dodge ball and a barbecue, to name just a few activities that centre on introducing seasonal residents to town, locals and each other.

Also as part of this annual slate of events, WCSS puts out a “survival guide,” complete with information on everything from how to find housing without getting scammed to how to secure a job (particularly if you’re from another country, as many seasonal workers are).

It’s hard to know if new arrivals understand the unique set of circumstances that shape much of life in Whistler right now. Frankly, the best advice for them is to seek out one of B.C.’s other resorts that are less expensive and crowded, but will still likely offer an equally fun winter.

But of course that would not help us with our ongoing labour shortage — which, as we all know, has been compounded by the housing shortage.

Given that young skiers and snowboarders are going to descend on the valley despite many warnings, here’s some solid advice that new arrivals can use to help them navigate Whistler life:  

First of all, don’t live five people to a bedroom. It might be OK for the first month — when everything is fresh and new and the excitement of the season is just building — but, eventually, you’re going to be worn out from a combination of skiing, partying and, likely, working too hard just to pay for your over-stuffed accommodations that the set up is not going to help you cope.

The second piece of advice — if you’re here for one season to ski or snowboard as much as possible don’t get roped into working 24/7.

Almost every business in town is hurting for employees. As a result, they often have to encourage the employees they do have to work as many hours as possible. It can be hard to set your limit and stick to it — but do your best.

Speaking of limits… realize that the province — and much of the country — is currently dealing with a horrifying overdose crisis. In fact, part of Connect Whistler events this year include a session on how to administer Naloxone, which reverses the effects of fentynal.

After all, the biggest goal of your season should be to make it all the way through.

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