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Catching up with Shaz: An inspiring update with an ITC grad!

Posted on 21/05/2024 by

Shaz in their happy place – snowy Canada!

We often (ok, endlessly!) talk about how amazing it is to work in the travel and tourism industry. We write blogs and social media posts about all the places you can go and all the people you can meet when you study with ITC before heading out into the world.

And every now and then, we catch up with a past student who is living that unbelievable lifestyle.

Today, that’s Shaz Beardsmore, a graduate that we last caught up with seven years ago as they were doing the Disney Cultural Exchange Program and making big plans for the future.

“There’s just so much to explore, it’s hard to know where my travel list ends!” they said.

So when we recently heard from Shaz, we knew we had to share their updated travels and adventures!

Where is Shaz now?

Shaz has most recently been working at the Mike Wiegele Heli-Skiing Resortin Blue River in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Here, they welcomed guests on incredible outdoor adventures and made them feel at home during their stays.

“The last few months have been crazy busy but I’ve loved it. Plenty of guests to look after, staff events to attend (Christmas dinner, New Year’s party, craft and movie nights, discos, pub nights), and lots and LOTS of snow!!! It’s been crazy and beautiful. The amount of times I would just stand at the window and watch the snow fall. Never seen anything like it before in my life. It was just beautiful!”

“In January, the temperatures in Blue River plummeted. We suddenly woke up to -20 Celsius, and it just kept dropping. There was one morning I was WALKING to work and it was -38 Celsius!! I cannot even describe how that kind of cold feels. But you have every part of your body covered up, you’ve got five layers of clothes on and are still cold. Your nose hairs FREEZE (the weirdest feeling ever). Your skin burns. It’s crazy! And then the condensation on your glasses turns to solid ice, and you can’t see even more … It was wicked cool to experience all of that but oh boy. I wouldn’t enjoy living in those temperatures long term!”

“Back in February we had a week’s break due to no good snow for skiing, which is unheard of – a first in Wiegele history! But it meant I had the chance to go up to Jasper with some of my workmates and explore somewhere new. That was a lovely little place! Tried my hand at skiing again, but the snow was just a bit too icy to be enjoyable there too. Ah well! The rest of the season went ahead with no issues though.”

What’s it like doing seasonal work like that?

“I’ve discovered that the hardest part of seasonal work is saying goodbye to everyone at the end of it. It’s an incredibly intense period of work – and especially somewhere like Blue River. You didn’t just see someone for your shift and then be like “until tomorrow!” They were your housemates, who you sat with for dinner, walked around town with, and did game nights with. It was such a close-knit community and I see why it’s called being part of the Wiegele Family, because it literally is. One big beautiful, hilarious, dysfunctional family.

I’ve decided though that I had such a good time in Blue River that I really want to return to the Mike Wiegele Heli-Skiing Resort for next winter, circumstances depending! Very much looking forward to that, I came to adore the little place. Being out in the middle of nowhere amidst the mountains was truly something special.”

“Due to their one year work permits, I won’t be seeing most of my work crew again next season, but there’s still a few people who will be there again in November and I’m very excited about that!”

What’s next for Shaz?

“I was job hunting for the summer, and going somewhere as far out of the way as Blue River gave me the confidence to just go out there and try something new – and for me, that meant going as far north as I possibly can. Because why not!”

“And so, after an interview and selection process, I’ve been offered a housekeeping role for the summer at a hotel up in Dawson City! Right up in the Yukon!! I’m so very excited, and it means I’ll also get to experience the midnight sun, as well as a chance to see the northern lights (although that will be in August/September!).”

“The hotel is Westmark Dawson City, and the company is HAP – Holland America / Princess Line, and the hotel operates as part of the cruise tour segments of their Alaska cruises. This is very likely going to be my foot in the door to working on an actual cruise ship in future, so keeping my options open!”

“The hotel looks super cool too! The whole town is an old gold rush town with saloon style western buildings and the like. It’s going to be a super fun place to live in for a few months! It’s bigger than Blue River with plenty more amenities which I’m honestly looking forward to.”

“But first I’ve got a few weeks of travelling ahead of me. Going on an Alaskan cruise with my mum next week (Vancouver start/end), and then visiting Disneyland with my sister for our birthday after that – before flying straight up north for my new job mid-May! It’s all systems go, but very exciting.”

“I have also booked a trip to Europe for October this year! I will be doing a Contiki tour of the UK and Ireland, which is going to cross off a bunch of bucket list locations for me! And then, of course, will be doing a side trip to Walt Disney World on the way back to Canada.”

What’s it like living the most epic lifestyle imaginable?!

“Truly it’s been the adventure of a lifetime already – and I’m only one season in so far!! I know, I never would have seen this coming but it really feels like this is where my life is meant to be right now. Canada is also so perfectly placed geographically, it feels like I can just go anywhere.”

Do you have any advice for ITC students and those thinking of studying travel and tourism? 

“I would say to just go for it. You’re scared? Do it scared! What if it doesn’t work out? At least you gave it a go, and maybe learnt a little something about yourself along the way! Moving overseas (again) was one of the biggest leaps of faith I have ever taken, and I’m so glad I did. It can be so hard moving away from your family and friends, but it’s opened up my entire world in terms of both travel and tourism jobs. All it takes is that little bit of courage!”

A quick note from our employment Consultant Sarndra Stephens

I interviewed and enrolled Shaz in 2016 when I was the course advisor at ITC. I have loved following their adventures since. Shaz spent a year working at Disneyworld after their studies and worked at Rotorua Skyline on the luges along with lots of other jobs. Last year Shaz mentioned they wanted to do something different and I suggested a ski season. I was thinking NZ and next thing they are off to Canada. I love it!!!!!

Enrol with ITC today!

Shaz’s story is undoubtedly amazing and inspiring for anyone who wants to explore the world while they work. Click here to read their initial interview and see how far they’ve come.

If that sounds like your dream too, the first step can begin right here at ITC. Explore our available courses and enrol today to get started, or get in touch with any questions at all!

Campus Study – 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or

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