For many people, a ski trip to Canada is the dream scenario: you book in for a ski holiday at your favourite resort. You check-in at your preferred condo, the one you’ve stayed in for a few years, and you write to the group chat to tell them you’ve arrived safely.
The next few weeks are a whirlwind of seeing your ski community, full of old and new faces. People meet every morning to catch the first chair, explore the mountain and carve up the freshly groomed corduroy together.
Friends who encourage you to try a different run, or go for a sunset snowshoe through the forest, or invite you round for dinner and drinks at their condo.
Top tips on how to join the local ski community
If that all sounds idyllic, rest assured that it doesn’t just have to be a dream. Many skiers and snowboarders have built or found themselves ski communities within resorts, bringing together like-minded people from across the world and meeting up again year after year.
This is especially the case in British Columbia, Canada, where the resorts lend themselves to these types of networking environments. This is largely due to the on-mountain communities, and the amount of ski-in, ski-out accommodation available in the village.
Take Heather Robilliard for example. Heather, who is from Sydney, Australia, first discovered the magic of SilverStar in British Columbia in 1984. She has now been going back every year, skiing with old and new friends, for 33 years.
“Over the years, SilverStar has built an amazing community of like-minded people,” Heather explains. “It’s small enough to share stories and knowledge with the locals, but large enough to explore and enjoy the winter mountain culture.”
If you’re the kind of person who has always dreamed of finding your own little or big ‘ski crew’, but you’re not sure where to begin – here are the best tips.
1. Choose the resort and program that best suits you
There are plenty of ski resorts out there, but some are better designed than others for bringing people together.
That’s where Sue and her team from Ski Holidays and Tours come in. They know the resorts because they’ve skied them. The team knows exactly where to send you, or which ski program to recommend to best suit your interests, demographic and ski ability.
Finding the right program gives you more opportunities to meet like-minded people as well.
You’ll find yourself with an invitation to the first tracks crew or a dinner invitation in no time. And if you love it, Sue can look to book you into the same condo for the following season, ensuring that the consistency of your much-loved trip is there.
2. Tap into social media communities before you leave home
In the digital age, there is a mountain of online ski community forums to firstly become part of a digital family. Sites like Ski Australia, Snows Best and Facebook groups such as Miss Snow it All are the perfect place to start reaching out, learning and chatting to like-minded ski adventurers, travellers and explorers.
Filled with first-hand tips, sage advice and travel guidance, it’s a good online place to start before you travel.
3. Use the resort’s group programs
One of the best ways to make friends is through any of the programs offered by a resort’s ski school.
Heather gives the example of the Ladies Day offered every Tuesday through the SilverStar Ski School, and the Men’s Day every Wednesday. “This promotes skiers of the same standards to new people and locals every week and go skiing together.”
It’s the perfect way to network, particularly if you’re looking to potentially settle in the long run with investment in the area.
“Of the guests that I introduced to SilverStar from Australia, over fifty have purchased real estate and come back every winter to ski,” includes Heather, who runs Ski Adventures offering holidays to both SilverStar and Sun Peaks.
Just be sure to pick the class or ski program that suits you best and be friendly when introducing yourself to your fellow skiers and boarders on the chairlift. Don’t be afraid to get a little vulnerable when mentioning that you’re looking to make some new mates; an invitation to an après beverage goes a long way after all.
4. Sign up for a ski improvement program
If you’re interested in an environment that throws you straight into a group of like-minded individuals, there’s no going past a ski improvement camp. They are held all over the world, with some of the most popular options being in British Columbia, Canada, thanks to the variety of terrain and reliable snowfall.
Maya McColm is a Sunshine Coast local who has done the Yes Ski Improvement camp at Whistler quite a few times over the last 20 years, including a four-week stint for the winter season just gone.
Maya mentions that the programs have organized social events and that she’s met many of her best friends through her participation: “There is a great feeling of community and warmth. One never feels alone while on the program and it is a great opportunity to make lots of new friends.”
The experienced instructors play a big part in ensuring the ski improvement offering is the best it can be, but Maya also mentions that Whistler has a lot going for it as a destination to build up your ski crew.
“Whistler is just such a great place in so many ways. The ski mountain resort has so much to offer from great restaurants, shops, activities and, last but not least – it is a great place to ski with expansive terrain that includes both Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain for all levels of skiers.”
Ready to build your ski community in SilverStar, Whistler or somewhere else in Canada? Find out more about booking your holiday here with Ski Holidays & Tours.