Photo: The base of the lifts at Calabogie Peaks
Calabogie Peaks is a small two-lift resort ski resort a short one hour’s drive from downtown Ottawa. The resort overlooks the pretty Calabogie Lake and is very family oriented, with an easy going management and nice staff accommodation.
Depending on the snow, the season starts between November 15 and December 10 and finishes between March 20 – 31.
The closet airport is Ottawa International. Ottawa also has a train station with connections to Montreal, Toronto, Boston and New York.
Calabogie will pick up staff from the airport or the Ottawa train station at periodic intervals. You will need to arrange your arrival time with the resort prior to your arrival and you may need to stay overnight in Ottawa.
Once you are at Calabogie, there is a staff van which is available to take you to the nearby towns of Arnprior (38km – 30 minutes’ drive) or Renfrew (29km – 25 minutes’ drive) for shopping or other errands.
If you would like to get into Ottawa on days off and you don’t have a car, you can take the bus from Arnprior with www.octranspo1.com. This cost is $20 one way.
The resort base itself is walkable and you don’t need a car to get around.
Photo: Winter scene at Calabogie Peaks
Calabogie is a small resort mainly for locals. There are two main quad chairs to take riders up the hill with a number of runs fanning out from the top.
One long green run goes around the outside of the resort with some nice views of the surrounding mountains, while a few intermediate and slightly steeper on-piste runs cut closer to the lifts.
In total, there are 24 runs on the hill.
All the runs on the hill are below the tree line and there is nothing in the way of double-black big mountain riding at Calabogie, or even challenging expert riding on-piste as the black runs aren’t particularly steep.
There are, however, some nice runs through the trees if you duck off the main blue and black runs which will give you some tighter turns. There are also little kickers and bumps off the side of the main runs to let you jib and jibe to the bottom.
Calabogie is best for those looking to work on their carving and slalom technique on intermediate and beginner runs. You will find a lot of families who are new to skiing here as well as those just looking to have a fun and relaxed day on the slopes.
Photo: Smoke rising from the chalets at Calabogie Peaks
There are two nice terrain parks at Calabogie with some serious jumps, a few nice boxes and some nice rails as well. They are not the biggest terrain parks in Ontario, but there is enough to let you work on your technique throughout the season.
If you ride during the week, you will find a fairly empty resort. The weekends can get quite busy especially as there are only two base lifts to get you up the hill.
Average annual snowfall is 80 inches (203cm) which is topped up by snowmaking.
Calabogie is a relatively small operation so the number of jobs is limited each season. However, being a small crew, you will get to know all the other staff at the mountain and it makes for a good community of staff.
You should try to apply around August or September for the upcoming season. See Jobs Available at Ski Resorts for a description of ski resort jobs.
You should expect to work 5 days a week for a total of around 40 hours, although if there is less snow you might get less hours.
Calabogie takes on international employees each season.
It is very straight forward for foreign applicants to get a job at Calabogie. International applicants apply through the normal means and are able to do a Skype interview for a position.
You will, however, need to arrange your own working visa to Canada as the resort will not sponsor you. See Work a Season in Canada for further information on visas.
The jobs open to international applicants are limited to: lift operator, rental shop, housekeeping, maintenance and facilities management, food and beverage server, ski and snowboard instructor and cook.
Because the snow may not be reliable, your hours are not guaranteed and you should bring some extra money to the hill in case you need to dip into savings.
Standard jobs pay $11.25 CAN an hour while you will earn $9.80 CAN an hour plus tips as a restaurant server.
You also get a 10% discount on meals at the base lodge, as well as a free season pass.
Staff accommodation is provided on the hill for $11 a day which includes bills and internet.
The housing is shared with one to two people in a room in dormitory style accommodation. Each building is fully furnished and there is a shared lounge room, bathroom and kitchen. The location is right at the base of the resort and within walking distance of the lifts and work.
Photo: Staff accommodation
The staff accommodation is quite modern and has a fun atmosphere between the small number of staff.
If you are not in staff accommodation, the other popular places for staff to live are Renfrew and Arnprior. See Work a Winter Season in Canada for some rental resources in Canada.
Photo: Inside staff accommodation
Calabogie is pretty quiet, with just a few chalets and restaurants at the base. Black Donald’s Pub has a bit of après-ski with live music and is a nice place to catch up with the other staff after a day riding or working.
If you have a car, you can get into Arnprior on your days off or for a night out. There are a few bigger clubs and bars in Arnprior and it’s nice to explore a new town during the season.
If you get the chance, you should definitely try to visit Montreal and Québec City during the season. Montreal for the buzz and to catch the crazy hockey fans at a Montreal Canadiens game – Québec City to see some of old Europe in Canada.