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Question for Whistler Locals

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
My wife and I are considering a possible move to Whistler. We have many reasons for moving which includes: the beautiful village, two great mountains, the beauty of the area, the location...etc.

We are basically tired of living in Louisville,KY and are ready for a drastic change.

What can you locals tell me about living there? I know housing is very expensive....is there such a thing as a reasonable priced home? Are there any permanent jobs to be had there? I am a software consultant/Tech Support Manager and my wife is a CPA...I would hope there would be some positions available.

We are ready to "get away" from it all....are we being stupid?

We are going there for 8 days in January for vacation (we went last year and fell in love). This possible move would happen in the next year or so I guess....if it happens.

I would appreciate any feedback from you locals.

Thanks.
post #2 of 24
Let me start by saying I'm not a Whistler local (yet) although have much the same idea as yourself. Went last season for 3 months and going back this time for 6 months ... and trying to emigrate (from UK). Absolutely love the place to bits !!
Any way ... lots of the locals stay in Pemberton which (correct me if I'm wrong) is 32km north'ish of Whistler ... about a 20 min commute. Property prices there are far more reasonable compared to being in resort and it's not quite the same Disney atmosphere of the Whistler village.

There are a couple of on-line real estate agents with property in Pemberton (just do a search in www.google.ca).

I'm also in the IT business so thinking along the lines of relocating to the Vancouver area (if I opt to stay in the business) or give it all up & become a full time ski bum. I met a guy last season who was doing a bit of PC support for Intrawest and a bit of teaching. I reckon Vancouver's a better bet for IT work.

Any way, best of luck ...
post #3 of 24
Have you considered the interior of BC at all?

I live in Washington State. When I moved out from Minnesota, I was determined to buy a place in BC. I did alot of skiing and sight seeing to get a feel for ski areas and driving times, etc.

While Whistler is number one if money is absolutely no object. I chose to invest my money in other BC towns that were extremely cheap compared to Whistler.

Nelson, for example, has been dubbed "the most liberal city in North America". They have 15% unemployment. Living there would probably be 30% the cost of living of Whistler with all the picturesqueness.

If I were single and wanted room mates, I probably would have chose Whistler but, as a place to live, I vastly prefer the BC interior.

It is amazing how many people in the Nelson or Rossland (where I have a home) are ex-Whistler residents who left the hustle and bustle.
post #4 of 24
Do you have work Visas/Green cards for canada? Are you willing to take the pay cut of Canadian Dollars from American dollars?
post #5 of 24
I'm not a local in whistler but have lived there and spend time there and have numerous friends there. One friend put a deposit on a new project sometime back. After 2 years they finally moved in last February for about $550K. Nice open design 4 bedroom townhome in a beautiful location. For whatever reason they listed it pretty quick for around $850K and last I heard had some offers close to their asking price. Define affordable. Things are kind of going off again/still there. Another friend bought the first guy's place a little out of the village. They promptly got an offer through a realtor from someone who HAD to be in that community. One of those offers you can't refuse. Both of these friends have bought in Squamish 45 minutes south. Squamish real estate is apparently really hot too but at this point much more affordable then Whistler.

I would think there would be work for a CPA in one form or another. Tech less so. Lots of mobile tech guys who want to live in a ski resort I think. If you were in Squamish you're midway to Vancouver and the job opportunities are far more numerous there for either one of you.

Supposed to be a new lift to function junction in a couple of years. (Should be a solid go with the Olympics coming). That will make day use access from Squamish easier. Also with the olympics there is a lot of work going to happen on the road from Vancouver to Whistler. Squamish to Whistler has been worked on for a while and I think the bulk of that should be done in about a year. I think they're really going to go to town on the Vancouver to Squamish portion between now and olympics time. In the long run that construction will help access and market values, in the short term there will be some headaches.

Then the work permits. There's nothing in that that is a given. One of you would probably have to get sponsored by a company for a visa and that still leaves the other one with a long process to get a work permit. CPA probably a lot easier to get a visa then tech in this work force

[ September 25, 2003, 10:07 AM: Message edited by: L7 ]
post #6 of 24
I am not a local either, but live close by, and have strongly considered making the move before. It would have meant big lifestyle sacrifices, and we would still be working 9-5, so would be skiing only weekends anyhow, just like we do now. A house on a lot on a local bus route will cost from about $600,000 to sky's-the-limit. With the Olympics announced for 2010, I would expect that prices will be rising fast, so buy now or never. As well, Whister is starting to reach it's planned development capacity, and when that happens, I would expected housing prices to be similar to Aspen. You could live in Squamish or Pemberton I guess, but that kind of defeats the purpose, in my opinion. Whistler is a wonderful place, and a model town to demonstrate how nature and development can co-exist. Comparisons to Disney are ridiculous... everything about Disneyland (or all of LA, for that matter) is totally fake. Whistler has merely brought a taste of luxury to an environment that is very real and wild, and made it accessible to the world.

If you are an American, you will need to go through an immigration process... contact Canada Customs & Immigration. Wages tend to be lower here, but more evenly distributed... minimum wage is higher, execs make less, so much less of a class system than in the US. Many Americans do not like our anti-gun laws, anti-war and some anti-US sentiment, or liberal attitudes towards homosexuality, marijuana and other issues. Because Canada provides health care to its citizens and we have a huge piece of real estate with few people to pay for it, taxes are much higher than US citizens are used to. Goods and services are about 30% higher than Vancouver, but still a bargain by American standards. Good paying jobs in Whistler for immigrants are few... most successful people in town are entrepreneurs.

Consider as well that you would be living in a mountain environment. If you like gardening, the growing season is much shorter and soil is rocky and less fertile. Except for summer, temperatures are much colder than at lower elevations, and you will get more cold & miserable wet weather in late spring and fall than you will experience most anywhere in the lower US. October is completely depressing, with very few shops and restaurants open. Of course the winter is cold, which is great for skiing, but shovelling the driveway daily and not going anywhere without muddy boots and gortex clothes gets to be a drag. Valley snow is heavy and wet to shovel, and even 4wd vehicles get stuck sometimes. Of course you will need season passes ($1700 this year) and lots of ski gear & clothes, which add up fast. There is no hospital in Whistler, high school, or large retail stores. There are more services 40 minutes away in Squamish, but for Costco, Home Depot, etc you need to drive a couple hours to Vancouver. The Sea to Sky highway can be treacherous, made worse by rental car tourists that are not winter-driving savvy. It can be a very slow trip indeed, and the highway sometimes closes completely.

But if you can swing it, all the more power to you! I love Whistler, and if I could, I'd move there in a minute!
post #7 of 24
Like JR says you need to check into a visa. But I don't know what you'll find under Customs now. The new name is HRDC (human resources development commission of some nonsense I think). Nothing like a new name to make a tired bloated government bureaucracy smell fresh and new.......or not. If you go to government of canada site you should find a link for HRDC.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the quick responses.....there is lots to think about. It would be well over a year before we moved....so there seems to be lots of research to be done before then.

maybe we should just move to Utah
post #9 of 24
Funny - while looking for info on Red Mountain I saw this thread. Do you still want input? I spend half my time in North Van and half my time in Whistler.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yes...still looking for any sound advice. Everything I am hearing is $$$$$$$$ for moving to Whistler. My wife and I would be giving up very good jobs and a comfortable living to move there...so it's a tough decision.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by LeeL:
Funny - while looking for info on Red Mountain
Another thought is to move to Northeastern Wash. State, like Northport, Wash., close to Rossland. You don't need a visa and the skiing is the same: Red, Castle and Whitewater add together is even better than Whistler and less tourist spot lights. Maybe better job opportunities in Spokane.

[ December 29, 2003, 01:10 PM: Message edited by: JackW ]
post #12 of 24
It is important to realize that Canada is not in the US. If you move there you will no longer be in America. The people who live there are not American even though they may appear to be. They are very well behaved and polite, but they are also rather dull.

I lived there and had fun but as an American I'd pick the USA.

By the way there is a bar called The Boot - hung out there and had a good time.

If you need a SSI number you can have mine.
post #13 of 24
Having Lived/commuted from Pemberton, I can say it is definately the go. Great atmosphere around the village and extremely easy trip to WB.

[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Not to bring anyone down....but my wife of 12 years just left me for another man. Looks like the move to Whistler may be something I may really do in the next few months. I need to do some deep soul searching and decide what is really right for me.....but right now the thought of "getting away" from it all sounds really damn nice.
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by Spaceace414:
My wife and I are considering a possible move to Whistler. We have many reasons for moving which includes: the beautiful village, two great mountains, the beauty of the area, the location...etc.

We are basically tired of living in Louisville,KY and are ready for a drastic change.

What can you locals tell me about living there? I know housing is very expensive....is there such a thing as a reasonable priced home? Are there any permanent jobs to be had there? I am a software consultant/Tech Support Manager and my wife is a CPA...I would hope there would be some positions available.

We are ready to "get away" from it all....are we being stupid?

We are going there for 8 days in January for vacation (we went last year and fell in love). This possible move would happen in the next year or so I guess....if it happens.

I would appreciate any feedback from you locals.

Thanks.
Places to live

These are all semi -nice places. Not sh&tboxes but nothing especially fancy.

Standard 3 bd 3 ba home in Whistler is going to cost you about $900K - $ 1.5m depending on choice of interior materials, location (closer to Village more expensive generally).

3bd 3 ba duplex 600 - 900k

2bd townhouse - 400 - 800k and as high as 2m if right in village

1bd townhouses, apartments - 300 - 500K

Most houses have garages have storage; some duplexes have garages; most townhouses don't have garages. See www.wrec.com for some representative listings.

Permanent jobs

Some jobs but usually expect a pay discount of between 20 - 40% for being there. Not many tech jobs - I know some people who telecommute but that will happen in every ski town I imagine. There's not much industry in Whistler other than tourism or ski-industry and no folks - Paradata doesn't count. Just for example I know a guy who lives up there who's a energy futures trader for BC Hydro; he gets paid about 50% of what he could make in say Toronto. But then he does get to ski 100+ days a year.

Some others have already touched on immigration concerns etc. Here's a link touching on some those concerns http://americanlaw.com/information.html
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info guys.

Anyway....the wife came back...we are working things out. I know...sounds like a damn Lifetime Movie.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by Spaceace414:
Thanks for the info guys.

Anyway....the wife came back...we are working things out. I know...sounds like a damn Lifetime Movie.
Good luck to you on the return and working things out. My best friend is going through the same thing. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #18 of 24
Three years ago my wife and made the same Whistler trip you did and came to the same conclusion. IMHO you have been given an excellent synopsis of the good and the challanges of making the move. I did some checking on immigration issues and unless you are basically clipping coupons (as in bond coupons) and need no work or can buy a business that employs others, a transfer can be about the only way to get a job.

No doubt the place has a great vibe, and I think the Canadians, Kiwis, Brits etc. would be a joy to live with.

Anyhow, our due dilligence lead us to what may be an acceptable compromise for you to consider. It has worked out well for us so far. Salt Lake City / Park City. We have no children and live dntn SLC. Moved out here abour 1.5 yrs ago Beverly Hillbilly style. A loaded down SUV with a dog, no jobs or job prospects, and did not know a soul here. Took the first few months to ski and had a goal of 100 days. Would have made it if I had not trashed a leg on this exact day last year, but my wife almost hit the bogey anyway. She landed a very good job that began the day after Alta shut down, and I stumbled across some consulting work that has turned into a great, long-term, flexible-time deal.

If a jarhead Okie such as myself can do it so can you or anyone else.

I figured pulling the trigger and possibly missing the target would feel better down the road than not taking the shot.

There are trade-offs here like anywhere else, and there is no question who runs the show, but for the reality that most of us have to live in this ain't a bad place if your goal is to ski/hike/bike/fish as much as possible.

Good luck with that wife thing.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by Spaceace414:
Not to bring anyone down....but my wife of 12 years just left me for another man. Looks like the move to Whistler may be something I may really do in the next few months. I need to do some deep soul searching and decide what is really right for me.....but right now the thought of "getting away" from it all sounds really damn nice.
Dude, same scene, took off for Whistler three years ago for the same reasons, 10 years wife input, her boss lust,...lets just say, the best choice I've ever, EVER made. I don't even try to pull a working permit,lets just say I'm a caretaker and a very happy, old, ski rock star in my own mind. From the dark hell I lived in, post wife, I HAD to do it...And for the rare, I highly say, DO IT! Take care, Space, see ya on the other side, mang, its all good!
post #20 of 24
.When you go: I don’t know your age, but “immigration” at the boarder was brutal for me: 2.2 hours, criminal check, bags all emptied etc. The first time I went I said I was going to stay 150 days, they DID not like it. They checked my bank accounts and even called my ex-wife. It was wild, especially hung over from a Seattle club.

When you go, take the Sea to Sky train (only in business class, add $20.00) from anywhere to Vancouver, BC. This Train is so cool make sure you take it for beers or bloody mary's (no drinks before like 11:45). Vancouver rocks with coolest people and beautiful women, like nothing...1st couple of days, man, make it Vancouver, before W/B. This city is hot! Once you settle in Whistler (I have a couple of suggestions) start with “owning” Blackcomb, think “Crystal Trees” and remember "cliff": here, means big, you die, stuff. Start by swinging the switches between In and OB, you’ll be safe. Talk to ski patrol, chat with instruct, bone & chill coldies with locals...God man, I wish I could do it again from the start of where your coming from, I wish someone told me this positive vibe before I committed. Be where Space, z fell in love many a time witha Brit. Then again, its Whistler, mount z free-rides and go West, its un-f'in believable, Mang, just F'ning......!!!

My main mission is here is to meet more people from Van/WB/Alberta who just want to ski & party harday [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] .
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by utah sooner:
...I did some checking on immigration issues and unless you are basically clipping coupons (as in bond coupons) and need no work or can buy a business that employs others, a transfer can be about the only way to get a job. No doubt the place has a great vibe, and I think the Canadians, Kiwis, Brits etc. would be a joy to live with....... If a jarhead Okie such as myself can do it so can you or anyone else.

I figured pulling the trigger and possibly missing the target would feel better down the road than not taking the shot.

There are trade-offs here like anywhere else, and there is no question who runs the show, but for the reality that most of us have to live in this ain't a bad place if your goal is to ski/hike/bike/fish as much as possible.

Good luck with that wife thing.
Too cool!
post #22 of 24
We were just looking into this tonight. Its pretty complicated. Keep in mind, you have to pay out about 1,000 dollars in application fees, and its non refundablee. If you retain your US citizenship, you need to pay taxes to both the US and Canada.

There's a test you take to determine eligibility. Age, profession and medical conditions are significant factors. Even in you want to move to an English speaking section of Canada, the ability to speak French gives you a higher score.

That being said, anyone know of any major fitness centers near ski areas that may be hiring? [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #23 of 24
If you want to move to Canada remember that it is not the 51st state. You have to prove that you are not taking a job that a Canadian could fill. If you were to move to the US from Canada and legally be able to work, a Green Card would be required - not easy to get. In Canada the Green Card equivilant is called "Landed Imigrant". Real hard to get.

When all is said and done you have to be careful what you wish for. Canada is a great place to visit but for this American, I'd live here.

P.S. SIN for sale.
post #24 of 24
Actually both LM's and my professions and work experience are qualified under Citizenship and Immigration Canada's<a href="http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/skilled/index.html" target="_blank">
Federal Skilled Worker Class</a>, and according to their online assessment tool, we have enough points to qualify under that program. I won't get into exactly how many points we score (because I'd be giving up my age ) but we do meet their points threshold.

Of course it's easier if you already have arranged employment, and that gets you more points. But it appears to be possible. We're just kind of preliminarily considering it. It would be something like a 2-year process anyhow. The Buffalo visa office, which processes all the apps from the US, currently is on a 66-week backlog for assessing permanent resident applications, from what I'm reading in the Usenet newsgroup misc.immigration.canada (Google Groups web-based link to newsgroup if you're not set up for Usenet). And then assuming you are granted the visa, I think you have 12 months to land.

There is also the possibility of the Provincial Nomination Program from various provinces. If your profession is designated as having a shortage in that province, it's possible that the province will nominate you, which gets you through the CIC process quicker and without having to meet the points requirements at all. Some provinces don't have that program, and what they're looking for varies. For example BC supposedly does need IT people, which could work out for me. OTOH, if you are a Hog Barn Manager, Saskatchewan is looking for you.

Work-wise for me, I'm more likely to find IT work in the Greater Toronto area probably. Great city, but not exactly the heart of ski country. But I could enjoy living there.

That difference from the US is part of the appeal. It's certainly not that I dislike the US, far from it. But I'm starting to think that I might like, and respect, Canada even more.

Anyhow, since in the US most of the jobs in my field are being sent offshore to other countries, I'm considering "Plan B". It would be nice to be working in a country that's looking for my skills rather than one where both public and private policy is looking to get rid of my profession.
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