By Amy Fendley
New to Whistler for the season? Don’t have a place? Need to get off the couch and do something, but don’t know what?
The Whistler Survival Guide 1998/99 is a compact 40 pages of information, humour and helpful hints on how to go about living life as a "true Whistlerite" and your basic information resource on how to survive.
The guide, which has been published annually the last four years by Mountain Community Health Alternatives, is designed to help give direction to people new to Whistler. This year’s edition has some additional information on getting a place, finding a job, budgeting, medical care, resort repercussions and there is even a section on things not to do.
It’s easy to get caught up in the party atmosphere, to get sucked into it and get burnt out, while trying to maintain a balance between work, planning more partying, and wanting to keep active in Whistler’s athletic atmosphere.
"The main focus is to make sure that the kids coming here are familiar with the resources available to them, so they don’t get totally lost, and if they get into trouble, to know there is help. We want to help them stay healthy while they’re here, and to know that there are other options to the party scene," said Belinda Keech, Whistler Survival Guide co-ordinator.
"A lot of people come to Whistler perhaps unaware that the nature of work in Whistler is service-oriented. People are coming to Whistler too casually and are not presenting themselves properly," she said. "Many people don’t even have a resume, so the guide has information on this."
This is the five edition of the guide, and Keech’s second year as co-ordinator. She and her staff set out to gain some "real" suggestions on input for the non-profit guide, by offering workshops in the community before its publication.
But Keech says it’s not just people new to Whistler who can benefit from the guide, there are people who have been here for a while and have unfortunately not yet left the cave.
"Although it’s directed at people new to Whistler, I’ve also had comments from people who have been in Whistler a long time. I’ve had comments like, ‘oh, I didn’t know this was here’ and ‘I had no idea I was entitled to four hours pay’," said Keech.
"People arrive without much money and the guide gives ideas on trying to survive on minimum wage with the high cost of living, how to maintain it and have fun."
The guide provides a summary on tenant rights and offers practical words regarding roommates, counselling, banking and personal security with debit cards. There is a new chapter on outdoor safety and backcountry advice.
The guide’s artwork was done by David Hardy, a Whistler Secondary School student. The writing is by Pique entertainment editor Oona Woods.
Ten thousand copies of the guide were distributed last week. The guide is available at Whistler/Blackcomb, the Employment Centre, Whistler Youth Hostel and various other locations around town. The guide is also used by various hotels for staff orientations.