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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Life of a Ski Bum | Pros and Cons of a Winter Working the Slopes

By Megan Maxwell
Have you been pondering the idea of becoming a ski bum, but you’re not sure if you're ready to pack up your snowboard travel case and head to the mountains yet? There are upsides and downsides to living and working in a mountain town.

Pros to Being a Ski Bum
  • Resort employees are a tight-knit and eclectic group of people. You’ll likely make friends immediately from all over the country (and world).
  • You get a free season pass, which would normally cost about $1000, which means you can hit the slopes as often as you like.
  • By mid-season, you will be pretty damn good at snowboarding. You can impress all of your friends when they come to visit.
  • You get to use cool words un-ironically, like “shred”, “gnar”, “powder day”, and “ski bum” (which is just an umbrella term for all mountain bums, including snowboarders). People really do use those words in a serious manner.
  • Most people just sit inside and be lazy all winter. When you live on a mountain, you always have an excuse to get out in the sun, be active, and get away from the “How I Met Your Mother” reruns on Netflix.
  • Snowboarding (or skiing) is a lot of fun once you learn the basics. There’s nothing like zooming down a mountain on a thin piece of wood to get your blood pumping.

Cons to Being a Ski Bum
  • Mountain towns are small communities, so you can’t really leave your apartment without running into someone you know. While this might be fine most of the time, it can be annoying when you’re in a bad mood or you just want to go buy some milk from the market without changing out of your pajamas.
  • There are way more guys working at resorts than girls. If you’re a girl, expect random dudes to flirt with you daily. If you’re a guy, the odds of finding a girlfriend are against you (it’s possible, just not likely). If you like being flirted with or you like being single, these might fall into the “pros” section for you.
  • What was that thing you came to the mountain to do? Oh yeah, work. Working sucks, especially when there’s a fresh coat of snow on the mountain. Don’t try calling in sick to shred on a powder day. Your boss will deactivate your ski pass for the day when you call in with the flu.
  • Being a ski bum means you’re poor. Sure, you’ll be able to pay your bills, buy a few beers, and save a little cash to move onto the next place when spring rolls around. But that’s about it.

Despite the cons, I do think being a ski resort employee for a season is worth it. And hey, if you decide you don’t like it, you can always stay home next winter.