|Eat, Sleep, Snowboard, Repeat.|
Adapting to our first fortnight in the second largest ski resort in Canada, here is a summary of our experience so far.
Our studio room has served us well so far. It is convenient that we are a short walk from all the shops, restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as the chair lifts and the gym, not to mention being a 2 minute walk to work. We are lucky to be living here and not in the normal staff accommodation at the Burfield which is 30 minutes walk down to the West side of town.
Looking out of our bedroom window we can see 40m tall conifers climbing up Mt Morisey and icicles hanging down from the edge of our roof which get bigger every day. Somebody said they are likely to reach the floor at some point. Quite often we hear the jingle bells attached to the snowplow which we mistake for Father Christmas.
|We get ready to go out snowboarding at around 9.30am. I have been going more often than Shell because in her first week she was doing 9-5 but now she doesn’t start until 12 and we have both been improving every day. I have been up to the top of Mt Tod and completed the 5 mile run back down to the village twice. I’ve also been up Mt Morisey to do ‘The Sticks’ but I most regularly go up the Sundance chair lift to do ‘Homesteader’ or ‘Rambler’.|
The difficulty levels are different to Europe – green is easy and blue is intermediate, while black is still the hardest level. The names of the runs are often representational e.g. ‘The Sticks’ is through the trees and ‘Homesteader’ is the fastest route to the ski village. I will let you know when I take on ‘Intimidator’ for the first time. Some of the bars name their cocktails after the runs, with the stronger cocktails named after the harder runs. I have been improving my toe turning and I am getting more confident with my speed. Here is a map including all the runs, pink lines are the chair lifts.
|One or two hours a day is enough and we go back in time for Shell to go to work. We have a bite to eat and I do some work on my online program. I then go to the gym at around 1pm for an hour to do my bodyweight training plan. I am currently focusing on handstand, muscle up, planche, bridge and back lever at the moment and hopefully I will master a few of them by the time we leave.|
I get home and have lunch before starting my shift in the kitchen at 2.30pm or 3pm, I have never been a chef before but so far I am really enjoying it. There are 6 of us working in the kitchen: The head chef is Richard from Toronto, he is very chilled and has a dry sense of humour. Kimsley is the sous chef, she has a funny French accent even though she is originally from Milton Keynes and doesn’t speak French. There is another Matt who is from Aberystwyth in Wales, he is a Liverpool fan so I don’t like him very much at the moment. Clare is a Scottish girl who loves snowboarding and yoga, she already has permanent residency in New Zealand and is applying for it in Canada as well. Finally we have Paul, who is a 21 year old Canadian guy from Kingston, Ontario. He is by far the most polite and friendly person I have ever met – a true Canadian.
They all have a lot more experience than me working in the kitchen but they are very understanding and patient with me as a beginner. I am working mostly as a dishwasher but I am also doing food on the cold side where the main roles are to prepare appetisers, salads and desserts. There is a lot of prep work to do at the start of the shift and I have found that once somebody has shown me something once I am quite capable of repeating it.
The appetisers include braised pork belly, baked brie and an antipasto platter. The salads are the caesar salad, mixed salad with maple dressing, roast beet and chevre salad (pictured below), and a crusted goats cheese and mixed salad with fruit tea dressing. Desserts are chocolate brownie, apple crumble, creme brulee and Grand Marnier cheesecake.
|The restaurant is a steakhouse and the smell of meat lingers in the air. I watch carefully while Clare prepares the steaks, seasoning with salt and pepper, massaging them until tenderised and then cooking them partly on the grill and partly in the oven depending on the cut and the customers cooking preference. The steak cuts are new york striploin, ribeye, sirloin and tenderloin. We also have chicken, lamb, ribs, salmon and bison on the menu.|
Matt and Paul do the veg and carbs to accompany the meats. They pre-roast seasonal veg which gets fried in butter before service. The gnocchi is also fried in butter and goes underneath the chicken which in my opinion the most appetising thing on the menu. The mash potato is extremely creamy as are the seafood tagliatelle and mushroom risotto dishes. The presentation on the plate is then done by Kimsley and Richard who also prepare the sauces such as bearnaise, peppercorn and red wine veal jus. As you can tell, everything is very rich and it all looks and tastes amazing.
We have to wear masks for the duration of the shift but you get used to it after a while. It helps to stop me from nibbling on everything in sight because the smells are so tantalising. Luckily, the hotel owner Mario – who has a knack for popping up out of nowhere – said to us that we are allowed to eat a free meal on shift as long as we don’t pick the most expensive things on the menu which is fair enough. The other day Kimsley made a massive stew with all the offcuts of steak which we combined with the leftover mash to make a ginormous cottage pie.
My shifts generally finish between 9pm and 10pm. This is because it is very quiet in the resort and we assume that if COVID wasn’t around then we would be doing longer hours. Over 30 hours for me is good going round here at the moment and lots of people are doing multiple part time jobs. Shelley has been struggling in housekeeping to get hours because there simply aren’t enough people checking out. Strangely, we might end up getting more people come to stay in the resort because Whistler and Big White have both had outbreaks of the virus, so hopefully people might divert their Christmas vacations to Sun Peaks instead so we can get more hours.
|Our days off at the moment are on Saturday and Sunday, probably to keep the most experienced people in the kitchen on the weekend. We sometimes walk down to the West side of the village through the woods, where there is a nice deli and a yoga studio which is currently out of use. The other day I hired out the studio for a few hours to do some filming for my next 6 week online fitness program which starts on 4th January.|
If you would like some information about the program or any of my other personal training services, please do not hesitate to message me to book a free online zoom consultation. There is a 25% discount if you sign up for the challenge before Christmas and it could be a great present to a friend, family member, partner or even yourself to get a head start on your fitness in the new year.
Sign up here.
Today is our last day off until Boxing Day, we will both be working on Christmas Day and possibly New Years day but that is to be expected in hospitality. We will be missing our families but Zoom and WhatsApp will provide us with a virtual Christmas experience. It is sad to hear that the UK is going into a full lockdown over the festive period but keep positive and stay safe, look forward to the future, it’s going to get better. Understandably we are also not allowed to meet inside with other households or have parties here, but I will be on the slopes on Christmas morning tearing up the snow on my snowboard. Sorry to rub it in.
Merry Christmas and best wishes.