The Hobo Guide to a Canadian Ski Season
Every year, hundreds of snow-hungry Australians kiss a stinking summer goodbye and jump on a plane to fly 9235 miles over the Pacific Ocean in a quest for fresh tracks, white powder and meaningless sex.
Enter Canada: the land of breathtaking scenery, maple syrup, ice hockey and the moose. A winter season at a Canadian ski resort for many could be classified as a sort of initiation – a right of passage, if you will. Arrive a semi-wealthy, well-presented young man/woman and return a poor, gnarly wild-child.
Please note, the following advice may be hindered by my ridiculously irresponsible amount of illegal substance abuse; however, if you follow these helpful hints you’re guaranteed a season you won’t forget and inevitably, moments you probably won’t want to remember.
Number one: Drugs are cheap and strong
Let’s be honest, if you’re planning a ski season and are anti-drugs, you’re probably in for a bit of an eye opener. The country is notorious for cheap coke, $5 caps and dope that would make Snoop high. If you are in it to win it, just make sure it’s the good shit and catch the chair lift to heaven.
Number two: Share Housing
Many rest their near-dreaded noggins on a shitty mattress in staff accommodation dorms, others in a shared room with 13 other smelly shredders. If you’re as lucky as I was, you could even score yourself a broken couch right in the village with five girls and one bathroom. Wave goodbye to a little friend called privacy, my friends.
Number three: Confidence is key
When you’re a beginner on the slopes and have no idea what the fuck you’re doing or what kicks, packing out or bluebirds are, pretend. Buy your lift ticket and the right gear, talk the talk and make out you’re a seasoned Shred-o-saurus Rex.
Note: Avoid going up the mountain with actual talented snow bunnies for the first few weeks and don’t be afraid of the magic carpet. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Number four: Know your limits
Regarding the above advice, do not take the confidence thing too seriously and become a cocky asshole. Read the signs, as I involuntarily learned “unmarked rocks and obstacles” apparently includes creeks. And folks, hypothermia is not ideal. Go up the mountain with a buddy or stick to the main tracks if you’re not Shaun White. There is nothing worse than unclipping bindings and crawling out of a powdery ditch alone with no one to laugh at your expense.
Number five: Poutine is a deadly and delicious motherfucker
Only to be eaten when intoxicated or disgustingly hung over, unless you want to return home the size of the mountain you were carving. Poutine will satisfy your calorie intake for the entire year in one meal. Consisting of mushy potato fries, thick gravy and chunks of cheese curd, this treat is one bad boy you might want to avoid a winter romance with.
Number six: Growers
Ahh, what a divine beverage. This sweet, two-litre bottle of cidery happiness costs a mere $7 (or for most struggling seasoners, a whole hour of work). Growers cider wins the award for it’s versatility, presenting itself in every delicious flavor you can think of and of course works a charm for après, beer-pong and Kings’ Cup. The inconvenience to transport the extremely large container forces one to down it during pres and therefore, save on overpriced drinks in the clubs. Kudos Growers.
Number seven: House parties
Snow seasons are notorious for their epic house parties, as the large six-bedroom homes in the village are rented by hundreds of feral groms who like to get crazy. These gatherings are generally open and spread like wildfire. If you’re lucky, kegs are supplied along with rowdy beer bong and hot-tub orgies. Be sure to take a paper bag up the slopes with you the next morn: gondolas have no windows.
Number eight: Repeat all steps
The best thing about Canada for Australians is that our visa is valid for two years: that’s two whole seasons people. Back to back, round two, return of the jedi, serial seasoner. If you do return to Aus safely with nothing broken and your liver intact (congrats), save up and do it all again.