Simon Clarke nails it with his description of life in Whistler Blackcomb staff housing: "We joke it's a university residence. The only difference is we don't have homework, so the time for studying is literally more drinking time for everybody."
Simon joined Whistler Blackcomb back in mid-November as a parking host, or "parkie" as they call themselves (as in "liftie"). Shortly thereafter, he moved into building 2 of Whistler Blackcomb's Base II staff housing, his first home away from home. Everything at home No. 1 was cozy and comfy, but it was a case of "like, I've gotta move out. There is so much to see when I'm 19 in Whistler, and I can't do it at home."
No doubt you've run into one of the 14 or so parkies - not literally, I hope. Wisely, they're decked out in flashing, high-viz safety vests as they guide you to the best, most accessible parking spot and generally keep things flowing in the eight mountain lots.
When parking settles down, usually around midday, parkies can also be found doing 101 other things, like shoveling snow at the Tube Park or off the bazillion wooden stairs at Wizard.
"Parkies are pretty much the handymen of Whistler Blackcomb," says Simon.
While residents in staff housing do like to party, the reality is most of it happens on Friday or Saturday night, just like university. And with shifts outside in the cold that may last 10 hours (four days on, three days off), they quickly learn how to keep the calories piling in to keep themselves fuelled up.
While the beige, 8- x maybe-12-or-14-foot room with two sets of bunk beds offers tight but reasonably priced accommodation at $315 monthly for Simon; his buddy, Nick; and, soon to come, two more roommates, unlike a university dorm room it actually has a full-sized fridge. A GE with a white vinyl exterior, in this case, covered with stress marks that come up to the base of Simon's neck on his lanky 6-foot-1 frame.
Besides the plethora of electronic toys, the dorm room, I mean, the staff housing has a surprising amount of space for food and its prep, with eight cupboards, three drawers, and a four-burner cooktop (no oven).
But it's the fridge, located outside the kitchen near the front door, that's our focus here. And for the first time in the history of the "what's in your fridge" series, we are checking out the freezer, home to a lonely, empty ice cube tray and one of the highlights of Simon's food life - frozen chocolate chip Eggos.