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The Winter Resort Survival Guide (Shangri pt 3)

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I left Shangri. I was tired of living at work. Not to mention Shangri's for family's and that really just wasn't doing it for me. Plus I found a clutch apartment on fucking main street in Brecca. Well, the apartment itself is dated as hell, but goddamn my location is fucking fantastic.

I'm going to attempt to keep this running from the point the snow flies. Well, the fun snow. This weekend's forecast probably won't amount to anything. This will also serve as a lingo guide so you don't look like a fucking gaper when talking to some steezies on the hill. I fucking hate this place sometimes. And now the opener:

If you're reading this you're either bored as fuck or somewhere along the lines your interest has been piqued about the ski bum lifestyle. For the record, I hate this term. There's really no bums that I've encountered, just a lot of hard working broke motherfuckers. The closest thing we have to bums are trustafarians. These are the trust fund kids who live off their inheritance and do nothing but smoke themselves stupid and then play on the snowy mountain. I'm sure they piss and shit somewhere in there too. Cost of living in a resort town is stupid high. You will never become wealthy working on a ski resort. But you can have a lot of damned fun.

To give yourself the best chance of a job you need to know the hiring schedules and how the seasons work. I am speaking solely for Colorado in this. There are four distinct seasons: Summer, which starts around the 4th of July and ends early September. Shoulder, which starts early September & ends as soon as the mountains open and jobs are available (you can hope and pray for early November). Ski Season, which is AKA winter and runs from November until about Cinco De Mayo.  And lastly, Mud Season, when the snow all melts and everyone gets laid off and the friends you've made dip out unannounced because they couldn't cut it. Now that you know these, when's the best time to come out for a gig? Honestly, late in Shoulder season. Once you arrive you'll be faced with two major options: Work for the beast (big ski resort corporation that chews up and spits out seasonal workers like it's nothing, and somehow isn't even phased when just under half of their entire housekeeping force gets deported the week of thanksgiving in a huge ICE raid) or work for small business. The beast has it's perks no doubt: they hire a lot more people (increasing your chances), they offer shitawful housing on resort as a benefit (imagine a terrible, awful dorm full of the families of all the migrant workers), they comp your ski pass, and they allow you to qualify for unemployment when you are laid off at the start of Mud season. And you will be laid off. Your other option is small business. These can offer you full year employment usually, but the benefits and perks will be nowhere near what the beast offers you. At best your pass will be paid for. But hey, you don't have to move home to mommy and daddy when the snow melts like a loser townie, so you have that going for you. If the beast sounds appealing, all of them usually offer job fairs late october & early november. Just showing up to these job fairs is a virtually guaranteed way of getting hired. Keep this in mind.

Stopping here for tonight. Will cover more about shoulder season at next update, which I really intend to do soon. Swear.

Winter Resort Dictionary:

This is not in alphabetical order because fuck you. This will be updated throughout the season.

Steezy - a term meaning style and ease. It's become synonomous with being a badass at either snowboarding or skiing, while also dressing in the hippest way possible. Wardrobes include huge saggy winter pants, tall tees that cover your ass, vibrant almost neon colors, and proform (expensive and the best on the market) gear.

Clutch - Nice, tight, awesome, spiffy, fucking fantastic, whatever.

Trustafarians - Trust fund kids who lives off said trust funds and do nothing but smoke themselves retarded and ride as often as they please. Usually they pay no rent and live in their parents condos.

Hill - The mountain, the slopes. You have a home hill. Be prepared to tell people you meet where it is on top of your favorite runs.

Runs - I thought you were a fucking snow sports enthusiast. Slopes. Jesus.

Pow Pow - Powder. In colorado it's champagne pow. White, fluffy, perfect bliss. Powder days are bragging rights.

Lines - The trail one makes in powder. These can also be referred to as turns in passing, such as "yeah, i took some turns on my lunch break..."

Gnarly - Fuck if I know. It means sick gross but somehow it almost means incredible, crazy awesome? I fucking hate this term.

Gaper - The worst face of tourists. Think Texans skiing in jeans. Referred to as gapers because they stand on the slope with their mouth agape looking at all the pretty scenery. They also have the same reaction while driving on the fucking road. Be prepared to hate and loathe them.

Village - The area of the resort where all the shops, bars, & restaurants are. Usually situated near the Gondola or a main lift.

The park - The usually minor section of the resort dedicated solely to the people who want to play & showboat. Park has features including rails, boxes, jumps, jibs, wall rides, and if you're lucky, a pipe.

Park Rats - Skiers & riders who live in the park. Their day on the hill consists of sitting in a line for a jump, doing said jump, landing or bailing it, and then rinse/repeat. I can see the appeal, but it's not for me. At all.

Bro-Brah's - Take your typical fratty douche. Make him smoke too much pot (now legal here), have him fail out of college & said fraternity, have him dress in ridiculous clothing including XXXL t-shirts affectionately called "tall tees", and make his preferred home be the park. In his arsenal is some of the worst pseudo ghetto slang you've ever heard, as well as rufies. Bro-Brah's are the douches of your mountain town. Best to just avoid them entirely, and laugh when they inevitably get a DUI or are arrested for starting a fight with a competing bro-brah. 

White Ribbon of Death - What's that? You want to ride in October? WELL FUCK YEAH WE'LL TAKE YOUR MONEY! Here, ride this granular god awful man made snow for a quarter of the mountain for hours on end. Oh, just know that around 10:30 AM it's going to be chopped up all to hell and be like the worst combination of a mogul field and a kat track that you can imagine. Oh, and there's also going to be 60 other people riding this 45 second run, so be ready to wait longer in the lift line and on the lift itself. I just hope for your sake no beginners scrape our imitation crushed ice away. Nevermind those twigs, shrubs, rocks, exposed mud, and holes in the ground. Think of them as challenges to increase your fun. But hey, we're letting you board our shitawful runs in October. Stop your bitching.

Posts will be updated as I think of more aspects for them.

Index by relevant post by yours truly:

I.   Intro, Seasons, & Glossary

II.  Cost of Living

III. Winter Driving

IV.  Resort Drinking

-Or Kill Me

I'm liking where this is going.

Quite a lot of the cowboys/girls (the for real ones, not the FABULOUS ones) I know wrangle in the summer and work the hill in winter.  They're broke as hell, but the always seemed to be having a fuckload of fun.  Until their knees give out.


Things are coming back to life now, and with it has the positive and the negative. On the positive bliss side, 3 mountains in my county are open, with the 4th and final opening on Friday. On the negative side, fucking christmas has begun. The music, the lights, the signage, it's everywhere. I can't exit a fucking parking garage without hearing some stupid carol or christmas melody bellowing out over the entirety of the village. Side note: any term I use that needs to be on the glossary of my first post will be bolded. More for my reference than yours. ANYWAYS.

So I'm living the high life now in Brecca. It's a glorious change from Shangri, though I've yet to encounter the massive amount of Bro-Brah's that are hiding amidst the woodwork of my new town. To be frank it's already beating the hell out of my first two years. With one exception, which is going to be the center piece of this post.

Fucking Cost of Living.

It's god damned outrageous at times. Granted, you can survive here without spending hardly any money, but that is a miserable existence. I know because I just clawed out of that situation yet again. Moving's damned expensive. Then again, so is staggering to bars twice thrice or more a week. Back to the point. Cost of living in a resort town is stupid. There are many subtle things you take for granted. Chief example that was shocking to me coming from the unhealthy fast food nation of the south, there is no dollar menu in a resort towns. Sure, the major chains are here, but their menus are all devoid of the poverty enabling dollar menu. Cost of food and groceries in general here are marked up. I've become numb to it, but when my parents have come out to visit my mother has always been in shock over how much we pay for our meats and milk. Gas here isn't too awful, in certain places. If you buy it at any of the resort stations you're fucking stupid and deserve to pay the 80 cent mark up. Heat and electricity is killer, especially in winter. Ideally, you want to find a place to rent/live that has heat included, usually through baseboard heaters & boiler system. Like my current apartment. 28 dollar electric bill. Mwaha. Liquor seems to be about the same, though that's also something I've long lost touch with. Nice sit down dining restaurants all have crack tourist prices, though many do offer local specials or discounts. This goes back to the STFU line --- local deals for restaurants are a prime example of what you will learn if you just shut the fuck up and listen to what seasoned resort locals share with you.

Rent is a mother fucker, unless you're extremely lucky. Like me. I've managed to win the craigslist lottery TWICE. It's not uncommon for one bedrooms to be above 1k a month. Hell, most studios here are more expensive than what my best friend paid for a studio in fucking Chelsea. You won't find anything cheaper than 600 in winter, 500 in summer, unless you live out in the wilderness where you will be isolated come the first snow storm. Chances are you'll live off a non-paved county road too. Viva Colorado. Know that you will get what you pay for. In the county there's one god awful place where all the migrant workers live. It's NOTORIOUS for bed bug infestations. These are things you may want to research on google, or just ask people. Budget wise, it's appealing, but is it really worth bed  bugs? or lice?  One plus side of resorts is the population is extremely transient. This makes it incredibly easy to find rooms for rent for one or two months only, which may be just what you need when first moving. Alternatively, a cheaper and far shittier option is working for the beast & enjoying the benefit of the beasts employee housing. Of course, you'll have paper thin walls and floors and you'll be listening tot eh banging, screaming, and screeching of the oversized families of the housekeepers that the beast employs. They all seem to live in employee housing. I personally have never lived in said employee housing, but i've had more than a few friends that have, and their horror stories are enough to dissuade me. Should be enough for you too.

Tipping is a very delicate issue up here. Lots of people who get by through the year serving have to go a month or three of the year without working, as most businesses shut down for mud & shoulder season. Knowing this, if you tip below 10% at any place you frequent you will be blacklisted to the extreme. I've watched coworkers suffer this wrath, and it's unlike any serving experience I ever encountered in the south. Just don't be a cheapskate. Period. Doubly so for resort living. It's terrible form, especially up here.

Of course, if you're living on a resort you're enjoying the perks of skiing and riding on demand. As such, you're probably well aware how expensive the hobby is already. Gear can be gotten second hand for cheap...Thrift stores here have loads and loads of ski pants & old coats. It's insane. However this won't do shit for you come the -20's of february. Pro Form is what you want. All of it. But it's fucking pricey. I'm actually about to drop close to 800 on new gear for this season in the next 3 weeks. It's 400 less than what one coworker is spending and 700 less than what my roommate is spending on gear for this season. He tele-skis though, and apparently bindings and boots for proper tele-ing are fucking outrageous. Neither of those are taking into account necessities for back country either. Beacons, shovels, kits, and everything else imaginable. Backcountry is a fucking expensive hobby. It's also a ton of work with minimal pay off. Unless you REALLY enjoy being in the middle of fucking nowhere absolutely alone. Then it's pretty cool. Until a loose pack gives way. 8 minutes what?

I may come back to this post later with more tidbits of things to consider when making a resort budget. Not today/tonight though. I am on graves 2 nights a week now, so these updates should be far more frequent. I also take my first turns of 2012/13 in t minus 3 hours. fuck yeah.

One word: GoPro!

Loving this series. Wanna watch it, too 8)

Gnarly: First time I heard it, it was boardie slang - meant the wave was really dumpy or breaking over a bunch of sharp rocks can be awesome on account of EXTREME!!! but just as likely to rip one of your legs off


--- Quote from: P3nT4gR4m on November 07, 2012, 11:10:12 am ---One word: GoPro!

Loving this series. Wanna watch it, too 8)

--- End quote ---

Sorry to disappoint, but all pleasure money is going to bars, a new NeverSummer, bindings, new gloves, new coat, trips to Aspen & Jackson Hole, & then new climbing shoes & harness for Summer. No room in the budget for a GoPro.

If god loved me I'd win one at a bar raffle. Or GoPro could just give me a free one for no reason whatsoever. That'd be cool.


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