Little Cottonwood Shreddress Erin Bragg sent me this review of Jeremy Evans book on the evolution and extinction of the American Ski Bum. Sounds like a good read.
For Christmas I was given a copy of In Search Of Powder: A Story of America’s Disappearing Ski Bum by Jeremy Evans. Fortunately the Wasatch was pounded again before the New Year and I didn’t finish the book until yesterday. Skiing by day and serving High West Whiskey by night didn’t leave much room for reading. Because the ending is the last part I read (sometimes I read the ending first, I hate surprises) it has stuck with me and has the most pertinent information. Thus if I had to recommend a piece it would be the chapter Kodiak Courage. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, it was the most impactful as Evans laments about trying to get interviews with Tanner Hall and Simon Dumont but then relays long conversations with CR Johnson and lays down the difference between ski bums and professional skiers.
We have moved beyond a time when a few pairs of Smith Goggles were worth payment for meals, bar tabs and sometimes rent to non-endemic sponsors requiring athletes to be at their beck and call. Evans chronicles a few individuals from a few ski towns turned resorts including members of the Jackson Hole Air Force and the towns of Crested Butte and Park City. The ski bum is disappearing for a number of reasons the two that stood out the most are; workers from other countries taking the lower paying night jobs typically left for the bums and that ski areas are now ski resorts competing for families money just like Disney World and beach resort towns. Ski towns have lost sight of the skiing and that’s what fuels the bum; just ask Chris Tatsuno or Chuck Mumford who both live out of their vans and chase snow like bounty hunters. The book was a great read for learning about the history of resorts I’ve visited and seen change over the years. One of my favorite quotes comes from Powder magazine where Dick Barrymore says, “Anybody who sits at a coffee shop complaining about how there’s a new stoplight in their ski town should go spend a month in Cleveland and get a little attitude adjustment.” The world changes, yes, but any day on the mountain is better than a day in an office in my mind. Evans hand wrote in my book jacket, “I’m totally jealous that you get to ski at Snowbird. As you know there will always be ski bums. Let’s just create some more.” He’s right. On all accounts.