I used the vacation example because I assume that’s where most working people get their most satisfying taste of The Life (you don’t hear a lot of people dropping that quote in their office cubicle). My parents, who are looking forward to retirement next year, have been putting the pieces together for a pretty nice version of what I’m talking about. Since they love to Golf, they bought property in North Carolina and they’re building a house on the 13th hole of a really nice Golf Course. Then, since they love the Adirondacks (but not necessarily the winter), they’ve been making renovations to their lake house to make it a more “permanent” summer residence. I’m sure they’ll finish plenty of days toasting to The Life.
I only bring this up because I read this amusing article on cleansnipe.com (which, incidentally, is a fantastic aggregator of the tramdock, bonktown, chainlove, deal every hour or so websites): The 10 Things You Need to Know about Being a Ski Bum. It seems that being a ski bum is not the most glamorous existence in the world:
Everything is expensive in a ski town: food, drink, gas, rent, entertainment, and all that shiny gear you thought you needed. Debt grows quickly where many jobs are seasonal and don’t pay enough to cushion existence with more than the bare essentials.Which is all true. I remember watching an over-the-top, hilarious documentary called Ski Bums about a bunch of guys living in the Whistler area in British Columbia, who mostly prove the second axiom of the aforementioned list (Many “ski bums” don’t ride very much but most can party with the worst of em’). “Crucial” Mike (he thinks his name comes from a “marijuana reference”) was able to “stylize [his] existence” after a spring thaw under-the-chairlift treasure hunt, and Johnny Thrash (a.k.a. “Johnny Two Stroke, Johnny Four Stroke”, etc.) was able to score a pretty sweet set of Salomons from a garbage dump. I don’t want to ruin the movie, but Crucial’s scene at the mid-mountain food court has got to be the emotional climax of the film.
To cut costs, ski bums pack into skid cribs that make frat houses look clean. Ski bums camp out over the summer months. Ski bums scrounge food and other essentials. A truly savvy ski bum knows every trick in the book for getting by with minimal dependence on “The System”. Unfortunately, after 40+ years of battling ski bum infestations, mountain town manifestations of “The System” know what it takes to keep things clean and pleasant for the tourists.
When I imagine The Life, I definitely don’t imagine digging through Garbage Dumps. But I guess I don’t really imagine being a “bum” either. I mean, sure, they’ll be some times of sweet, sweet relaxation. The requisite magazine shot of people chilling outside a snow covered coffee house with the newspaper comes to mind:
But I have too much energy to just sit around all the time (and I’m becoming increasingly annoyed with reading the paper). The question is what to do to support my existence (I can always stylize it later). I like ski instructing, but I also like to make ski movies. I like doing my blog, but I also like to party (Ommegang Brewery “Ommefest” tomorrow in Cooperstown). With that in mind, I think I have found the perfect job for myself:
[W]e at Canyons want you to come work for us. Not only will we pay you a salary but, we’ll put you up for free – at a suite at the Waldorf Astoria, no less, and give you full VIP treatment including heli-skiing, avalanche training, spa treatments and full gear! Read on to learn how to Apply.Hmmmm . . . Season Pass to the Canyons, $10,000 a month, “head to toe” ski gear, airfare, avalanche training, and heli-skiing. Sign me up!
ALL YOU DO:
Blog about your day’s activities 3-4 times a week with photos and video
Attend Canyons events
Participate in monthly Canyons activities
Shadow shifts with various departments: Ski Patrol, Food and Beverage, Lift Operations