Whistler Sabbatical Project
This winter, Tourism Whistler set out to find people who would unplug for a month to experience an all-expenses paid trip of a lifetime in Whistler. Thousands said yes. On February 20, one winner will be announced.
Meet the final contenders here, as they make their pitch for the ultimate Whistler Sabbatical.
Los Angeles, CA
Ever since I was a child, I have loved nature. I've always been happiest when I am outdoors...
Los Angeles, CA
Ever since I was a child, I have loved nature. I've always been happiest when I am outdoors. Even though I live the life of a busy executive in a large city, my heart is with nature and the outdoors. I am an avid mountain biker, skier, and hiker. At the age of 18, I spent a full month in Western Canada. I gravitated towards Western Canada because I knew it would provide the perfect place to unwind prior to attending medical school. At that time I had the opportunity to visit Whistler. I vowed I would return, but was swept up by the demands of work and family. Watching the most recent winter Olympics in Vancouver, that desire reawakened. I knew I needed to return to Whistler.
Whistler is one of the finest places in the world to experience the things I appreciate most. Besides having one of the best ski resorts in the world, Whistler has some of the most beautiful winter weather and scenery. I can pursue my love for mountain biking and skiing on some of the most magnificent trails at Blackcomb Mountain. Your campaign asks, "Would you do it?" I ask, "Why wouldn't I?"
The perfect antidote to my busy life is a month in Whistler. Some think Facebook is the way to reconnect. I say Whistler is the best way to get re-connected. After a month in Whistler I know my heart and soul will be warmed by the crisp air and majestic landscape.
I love winter and all that comes with it: The hush that comes over the world when the snow...
I love winter and all that comes with it: The hush that comes over the world when the snow starts to fall. Standing quietly at the top of the hill and then that second of breathlessness that I feel when I start down for the first run of the season. The sound of my skis as they cut through the snow and the whistle of the wind as it rushes past me. How the adrenaline flows through me as I barrel down the slope and the satisfaction I feel because I made it down the hill one more time without eating it. Getting to meet people from all over who love winter as much as I do, as we ride to the top to do it all over again. The comfort I get from curling up in front of the fire with a book and a cup of hot chocolate after a long day in the snow.
Unlimited skiing, powder, grand vistas, nature and community all wrapped up with a sense of peace is what I hope that I am lucky enough to experience at Whistler. Skiing about once a season is what I can usually afford, so the opportunity to be at Whistler and ski day after day while staying there is an amazing thought. I would love to be able to experience Whistler and share it with family and friends by posting photographs on a blog saying: "OMG, look what I did today!"
My name is Doug, I'm 44 yrs old and it's been four years since my last visit...
My name is Doug, I'm 44 yrs old and it's been four years since my last visit.
I've been hooked on Whistler since my first visit in 1996. To me, Whistler is a place where I've been able to test my personal limits, and expand them. Would I ski with an Olympian to make me realize I'm not nearly as good a skier as I thought I was? Yes, because it will only make me better.
The Whistler Sabbatical Project really hits home. You see, after a ski trip together in 2006, one of my best ski-buddies, decided to give up his life in Toronto to pursue his dream of becoming a ski guide. He quit his job, sold his house and headed off to Whistler. While my friend Steven is on a permanent sabbatical in Whistler, I'm tortured weekly by his facebook postings. "Top of the world! After a 4 hour skin!" was a recent one; and the picture – breathtaking!
I used to go to Whistler regularly. My friends and I from across Canada would meet there in early March; a pilgrimage of sorts. Now, with a wife who prefers vacations in the south, and a baby on the way, I wonder when I will ever be able to return.
To have any one of the experiences offered in the Whistler Sabbatical Project during a trip to Whistler would be amazing; to spend a month in Whistler doing them all, would really be a dream come true!
I've heard Whistler is like NeverNeverLand - those who go stay young forever. 'Tis an enchanting place where one can make friends on the chairlift instead of the elevator, where one's legs burn from pushing boundaries, not wearing heels. It's this sense of magic I want to share with friends and family worldwide, inviting them to the mountain-town that captivates me so. Did Ullr, God of Snow, draw my name in a case of divine intervention to help me spread the Whistler spirit?
My whole life, I've dreamed of living in Whistler – and a dream it has remained. I've followed the path set out for me by society – good grades in school; a top university; a promising job. I launched myself into an accounting career – but all I was counting were the fresh cm's I was missing. Quickly realizing that it wasn't the path for me, I resigned with the intention of becoming a ski bum and living out my dream. In a fateful turn of events, I received another job offer I couldn't refuse.
I try to live my life with no regrets. I know I'd regret leaving this career, but I'd equally regret giving up my twenties without ever living in the mountains - a stalemate between passion and planning for the future.
Then came the Whistler Sabbatical Project. My salvation. I have to believe this opportunity was sent from Ullr – and his omnipotent and benevolent powers are now in your hands to make my dream a reality.
My desire to ski is hard to suppress but I'm not long out of Uni, living and working in London...
My desire to ski is hard to suppress but I'm not long out of Uni, living and working in London, so it's currently filed under 'Daydreams'. Sport is my passion, and I can feel the anticipation building towards London 2012. To experience the Olympic spirit that is so clearly still alive in Whistler would be an incredible privilege.
Working in the events industry and as volunteer on the Search and Rescue Lifeboats on the Thames, I thrive on adrenalin and excitement; I'm always looking for the next challenge. To ski with Olympians, pull G's in a bobsleigh and experience the mountains at their steepest and deepest would be unique and exhilarating.
When I was 17 I was lucky enough to be taken to Whistler by my uncle. It was the weekend of a lifetime. Only the briefest of visits, but the friendliness of the people, the variety of the skiing, and the stunning surroundings made me long for more. Whistler stands head and shoulders above anything in Europe.
Taking part in the Sabbatical Project, with the range of adventures and indulgences on offer, would be a chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at Whistler's workers and its culture, to be totally immersed in the place.
A glimpse of Whistler had me gripped; a month could change my life. Maybe the biggest challenge would be not who I'd bring with me, but how quickly I could persuade everyone else to join us.
Adventure, magic and excitement! It is super exciting to be a finalist in the Whistler Sabbatical contest!
For the first time ever, this winter is my own sabbatical for skiing. So far, I have experienced new places, met wonderful people and skied forty days in pursuit of those ultimate moments that making turns can bring. I am happy to have these experiences as part of my life.
Now the opportunity to be part of the Whistler Sabbatical contest brings a whole new level of excitement to my sabbatical! This contest is the perfect opportunity to make new friends in an amazing place all wrapped up in this once in a lifetime adventure. The Whistler Sabbatical activities are amazing, unique and very special. I love the Whistler Blackcomb resort and never expected to visit this year. I treasure the memories from the times that I have visited Whistler. If I am the lucky winner, I will share my new experiences with everyone!
A sabbatical means to take time away from everyday life for personal growth. The Whistler Sabbatical may make me stretch my skills and abilities – but I am ready to rise to the challenge. I can make the turns, I want to meet the people and, if I win this contest, it will truly be a high point in my life. The Whistler Sabbatical Project has given me the opportunity that every skier and rider wants – the chance to experience the magic of Whistler! Thank you for creating this contest!
Imagine an opportunity to take part in adventures people only dream about...
Imagine an opportunity to take part in adventures people only dream about. The ability to break free from my regular work routine and daily responsibilities and instead, push my comfort zone to a point even I did not know was possible. To experience my home province's backyard in ways most British Columbians would view as inconceivable, and to learn about different lifestyles, cultures, and activities that can only be fully understood through participation. This is what a Whistler Sabbatical means to me.
We live in a fast-paced world. Activities that previously occurred face-to-face, increasingly take place online. I for one am guilty of getting caught up in my day-to-day life and losing touch with what the outdoors has to offer. I want to break free from normal routine, unplug from the digital world, and re-connect with the real world, before it passes me by
As a student for six years, I acquired a great amount of knowledge. I earned an education and a rewarding job as a result. What I failed to acquire however, was the experience of travel. My appetites for spontaneity and adventure were never truly filled. The opportunity to fulfill the travel experience and sense of adventure I have never had the time, funds, or opportunity to explore would finally satisfy my hunger. To live in the moment and be freed of the stress of everyday life, while also taking my sense adventure to the next level, this is what a Whistler Sabbatical means to me.
I believe the enthusiasm I have for snowboarding will enable me to fully experience all that...
I believe the enthusiasm I have for snowboarding will enable me to fully experience all that Whistler has to offer and will show me a different way to live and experience the mountains. The passion and the culture really appeals to me and will put a permanent smile on my face whether it is while trying something new and challenging on my snowboard or the moment just before I get to try one of the many other exciting activities that the Whistler Sabbatical has to offer.
This contest gives me the once in a lifetime opportunity to travel further afield and to discover the spectacular scenery at Whistler firsthand whilst living in such a positive and energizing environment without the normal worries and stresses of a nine to five job for an extended period of time. I believe that my own fun personality complements Whistlers reputation of having a great community spirit and energy, which will make the trip so much more than just a holiday and is why I would want to share this unique experience with my husband on our anniversary.
I want to be able to come back from this trip and truly not know where to begin when describing it to friends and family because of the wave of emotion and the sense of enormity of the whole experience. The Whistler Sabbatical will be so much more than anything my family, or I, will have ever encountered on any other holiday.
Spokane County, WA
When most people think of Paradise, they picture palm trees and white sand...
Spokane County, WA
When most people think of Paradise, they picture palm trees and white sand. I agree that tropical breezes and sunshine are heavenly, but I find just as much Paradise in the mountains. Growing up in Spokane, where it seemed that every other person I knew was a skier, I always wanted to learn to ski, but never had the opportunity. As an adult I was busy raising my family and building a life, and skiing was just not in the cards. Many years later it began to come back to the front of my mind, and I finally took my first lesson on my 39th birthday. It was every bit as glorious as I imagined! Since that time my husband and I have managed to carve out a few days each winter to experience the snow on the mountains around our hometown. A few years ago we had the opportunity to join a family member for a few days at Whistler. Wow! I wished I could have stayed longer. Since, I have been wearing my souvenir hat with pride, and making plans to someday return. With our children grown, my husband and I can finally take a short breather from working to build our future, and create a few more memories. It will honor me to be able to share the things I experience at Whistler with my grandson, and teach him to find Paradise right outside his door.
Finalist essays will be judged by the Whistler Sabbatical Project judges. The winner will be announced on February 20, and will visit Whistler this spring to enjoy their dream sabbatical in Whistler, including these
Runners-up for the Whistler Sabbatical Project automatically qualify for the Fan Choice Award, launching February 20. Stay tuned for details on how you can vote for your favourite finalist and be entered for a chance to win a trip to Whistler!