Getting That ‘Locals’ Discount For Snowboard Gear

Today’s reader question:

What’s the deal with local discounts in ski resorts? Do I need to live in a place to get a local’s discount on snowboard gear?

Well the local’s discount is basically a discount you sometimes get if you live in a resort for awhile (or if you become friends with the people in the shop).

There’s no official definition of what’s ‘local’ and what’s not. I can ask 50 people in Whistler and come up with 50 answers as to what qualifies you as a local, but in general it just means you live locally.

My suggestion is just ignore the whole local/not-local thing and if you get a discount then hooray, if not, then whatever. It’s totally up to the person working whether they give you a local’s discount or not.

After many seasons in Whistler I get a local’s discount at some places, but none at others. I could probably get a discount in more places if I asked, but honestly it’s not a big deal either way so I never bother with asking.

If you shop locally you’re probably there to support your local store and not really there for a small discount since you can probably find the same gear cheaper online if you looked.

The last thing you want is to be ‘that guy’ who demands a local discount just because he moved to the area recently.

A vaguely (but not really) related story on ‘local’s discount’:

So here’s a story of the only time I insisted on the local’s discount. It’s not really that related to the topic, but whatever, let’s try something new today :p

Last season my girlfriend had to fly home to attend a wedding. I was seeing her off and neither of us have a car, so we both had to catch the bus to get down to Vancouver airport.

Now being a ‘local’ in Whistler, I remembered that one of the bus companies offers discount fares if you’re living in Whistler/Vancouver.

So I headed down to the ticket office and double checked if they still did the local’s discount tickets. The lady there said yes but only if I could ‘prove I was a local’.

It was an odd way to say I needed to show proof of residency, so I asked, “What counts as local?”

Her response, “If I have to tell you then you aren’t a local.” Wtf? Really? You’re going to give that line after I ask you what proof you need from me?

My response, “Well I do live here… it’s not like most locals are really locals anyway.”

Now keep in mind that this is an ongoing joke among many Whistler residents. Most of the ‘locals’ moved here in the last 5-10 years and there aren’t that many people that actually grew up in Whistler.

I guess she didn’t like me joking about being local in Whistler because at this point she starts getting mad at me and begins lecturing me on how she’s lived here for 20+ years and that she’s a true local unlike everyone else.

Turns out she doesn’t like giving the local’s discount tickets to people unless they’re ‘true locals’.

The funny thing is the bus company literally has it posted on their website that anyone living in the Whistler/Vancouver region can get these discount tickets and there’s no set amount of time you have to be living in Whistler to qualify to buy these discount tickets.

Yet she was trying to turn this into some exclusive local’s club that you have to jump through hoops to join. I didn’t care about being called a local, I just wanted the ticket advertised on the website.

The funny thing is I didn’t even care much about the local’s discount. It wasn’t a big deal to me whether they still did it or not, but she was so rude that I became hellbent on getting the local’s discount ticket just because she didn’t want to give it to me.

Eventually, I got her to tell me what she needs as proof, which it turns out is the same standard proof of residency as every other resident discount in Whistler: An electricity bill, driver’s license, mail or lease agreement.

So I say fine, I don’t have my lease agreement on me, so I’ll go grab some mail down the street from my PO Box.

Her response, “Nope. I can’t accept mail delivered to PO Box because it doesn’t prove you live here.” Yeah… because it’s not like some random person in Whistler for 1 month can get mail delivered to the house they’re renting for their holiday.

To her the person renting a room for a month in Whistler is more legit than someone who rents out a mailbox to save the convenience of having to update my Whistler mailing addresses every 2-3 years.

Not to mention I could literally just walk around the corner, write a random Whistler address on a letter and come back saying it’s mail I just received at my home.

But who are we to use logic when you’re talking to someone who’s hellbent on being the gatekeeper to local discounts offered by a company that doesn’t even employ her (she’s working at a help desk that also sells bus tickets, not for the actual bus company).

So now I say, “Fine, can I show you my electricity bill on my phone right now? That surely proves I live here.”

Her response, “Nope. It has to be physical paper.” At this point it’s obvious she’s being difficult for no reason other than to assert her authority as the true local of Whistler.

Long story short this difficulty continued for another 10 minutes as I listed my other proofs of residency which weren’t in paper either and got shot down for all of them not being in paper form. Apparently she also didn’t know that it was 2012 and most bills and things can come in an online e-bill version.

However, I did eventually find a solution, which was to waste more of my time to go to a computer cafe, print off my electricity bill (which is literally just printing the same online version I tried to show her earlier) and came back just to shove it in her face and get the local’s discount that I didn’t even care much about at the start.

So yeah… that’s the random story of the only time I actually asked for and fought to get a local’s discount. Some people are just crazy I guess.

- Jed

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