Wasted powder day | Photo:
Ski patrol hard at work | Photo: Paul Jerry

#1. Ski Patroller: The ultimate in ski town respect. Not only will they pull your ass off the mountain when you break yourself, but they’re scoring first tracks down your favorite run two hours before the lifts open. These guys and gals get to see a whole different side of the mountain day-in and day-out and as such are the tops in any ski town.

#2. Boot Fitter: If you want to make friends in the ski industry, there’s no better buddy than a boot-fitter. They hold the key to comfortable, hard charging ski boots and as such are coveted as a top player in the skier hierarchy.

#3. Bartender: Most ski town bartenders are a wealth of information. This is largely due to the fact that you can’t just walk into a ski town and instantly become a bartender. These are highly sought after, high grossing positions with some waiting years for their shot at cracking PBRs for the bro’s.

Hop in, I’ll give you a ride to the top! | Photo: Public Affairs Office Fort Wainwright

#4. Cat Driver: These Carhart wearing nocturnal animals can be spotted in rare instances sipping a post-work, 7am PBR while waiting for first chair. By noon, they’re asleep and getting ready for the night shift. Although they’re not very visible from November through January, once the water is all used up– they’re poor man rich and can serve out the rest of the winter as chief aprés ambassadors.

#5. Ski Tech: Sure you can put a half-assed wax your own skis and you might give your edge a decent bevel but the ski tuner is an artist. Their work speaks for itself and these callus-handed hardo’s are true to the sport of skiing. As such, they demand respect from the ski town community. Because at the end of the day– the ski patroller, the mayor, and the best skier on the mountain all need the best ski tune in town.

#6. Line Cook: Unlike others on this list, the line cook can make a decent living at the right restaurant. Not only are these folks great in ski town relationships as they keep the love flowing through their endless stream of hand-cooked, romantic dinners but this occupation allows for ample shredding as well. As for the single line cooks, who doesn’t love a roommate who brings home leftover Filet Mignon?

Don’t forget to alternate! | Photo: Richard King

#7. Real Estate Agent: The real estate agent has given up on the ski bum dream for the most part. A former rental tech, ski instructor, or bartender– they now sling houses and make good money. They’re even getting close to buying their own home in said ski town but unfortunately for them, this comes at the cost of their 100+ day ski seasons. Also, the annual backcountry hut trip has been replaced by a residential real estate conference in Las Vegas.

#8. Liftie: The liftie is locked into job as a result of getting a season pass through the resort. As a result, they get high AF to endure the low wages and horrible hours. The only piece of leverage they have in the ski community is whether or not they decide to bump the chair.

#9. Dishwasher: The dishwasher sacrifices self-respect, a good wage, and any shot at romance for the sake of a season pass. While it’s not the most glamorous, washing dishes can get you on the hill more days than 90% of ski town occupations.

#10.  Ski/Snowboard Instructor:

I wrote a blog on the subject. You can find it here… 

Another wasted powder day… | Photo: Ruth Hartnup

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