Volunteering at Pro Events: A Great Way to
Learn and Have Fun While Doing It!
by Mary Camilleri
For the FIS 2005 World Championships in Whistler, there were over 300
volunteers. I found out about the opportunity a couple of months in advance
of my arrival in Whistler by checking out the FIS web site for the
championships. There was an on-line form to fill in, and then they emailed
me back with work assignments.
I was responsible for my own expenses, but the perks were free lift
tickets (depending on how may shifts you worked), on-course positioning for
the competition, free beer after every shift, t-shirts, hoodies, and a big
wrap-up party at the end.
I worked as a "Sports Volunteer" meaning that I actually helped do things
like set up and maintain the courses before and during each competition.
There were tons of other administrative opportunities, athlete services,
etc. available too.
I would not recommend being a sports vollie unless you are comfortable
carrying things like shovels, rakes, and bamboo stakes while you snowboard.
Maintaining the race courses can be physically demanding, so be in shape too
if you want to volunteer to do this kind of thing. They also need skiers
too - so if you ski in addition to snowboard, bring your skis. Skiers are
used to "slip" the course after every few competitors. Basically they
side-ski or snowplow down the course to help rake out piled up snow an
smooth out ruts.
I stayed at a local hostel in Whistler, which was a short bus ride or
longer walk from the gondola. The shifts would begin as early as 6:15am on
some days, so the mountain provided bus service for free.
I did not know anyone when I went out there, but I met TONS of fun
people, and had an amazing time. There was a whole volunteer social scene
going - and I also had many opportunities to meet the athletes, doctors, and
local volunteers who work on the mountain all winter. It was a great way to
take a trip by myself, as it was pretty much guaranteed that I would meet
I got to spend plenty of time riding - although the snow was in bad shape
out there by the time I left as there was a lot of rain and warm weather for
the duration of my stay. In spite of that it was an experience that I'll
never forget. I'd definitely do it again.