You have finally done it; you have made your dreams come true. You quit your corporate job or just graduated highschool or college and moved to a mountain town where you can chase endless pow and ski every day with all of your new best friends and everyone goes pro and life is cake.
Well, not quite.
In reality, moving to a mountain town can be very hard. It can be isolating, it can be lonely, it can be difficult to find community. However, with some planning and a little luck, a mountain town can be the best place on earth, and you may never leave. Here are a few tricks and tips to make sure your first year is an absolute blast.
Planning is absolutely essential
Before you come, think about what you want to get out of living in a mountain town. Sometimes the grandeur of living in such a beautiful place drowns all reasonable judgement. I have personally seen it over and over since moving to the town I live in: People move here without doing their due diligence and end up having a bad time. Here are a few main things to consider when planning to move to your dream town.
- Financial Situation
Are you in a good spot financially to move to a mountain town? These popular destinations are notoriously expensive, the jobs typically don’t pay a lot and the housing and rental prices are ridiculous. You don’t want to move here with loads of debt and have to spend all your time working just to get by. Speaking from experience, you always spend more on gear than you think. It might be wiser to wait a year to make the big move so you can be a little more financially stable when you do so. The mountains will always be there.
Think about your needs/wants and get a job that caters to those. It’s 2022, and everyone and their mother is begging you to work for them, so unless you are a complete degenerate, work will be easy to find. It’s worth it to make sure it caters to what you want.
Do you value COMMUNITY? I would highly recommend starting out in ski school or ski patrol. Both give you excellent community of people your age who typically share interests, it’s a really great way to make friends.
If you value MONEY above all, maybe the restaurant scene is for you. You can make really good money if you have any serving experience in mountain towns. The perks are good, you have the flexibility to ski all day, meet cool people and make some good money. Be careful with this scene though, it’s really easy to miss first chair on a pow day because your one free drink after work turned into a night on the town and its 7:00 am, you haven’t slept and you’re in some guy named Baltezar’s van who is trying to convince you the earth is a simulation created by the Spaghetti Lizard Monster who lies in the dark dimension. I personally have no idea about that… but ALL HAIL RIGATTONI THE DARK CREATOR.
Do you value RIDE BREAKS? Do you like talking with eager customers? Do you have a predilection for touching people’s feet? Maybe a rental shop is the place for you. Most let you ski every day but they don’t typically pay super well. You get to learn a lot about ski equipment, maintenance and… you have to deal with a whole lot of Texans.
The infamous hurdle for everyone trying to live in a mountain town. It’s 2022, everyone has decided how AWESOME skiing is, COVID forced major companies to allow remote work and unregulated AirBnb’s are running rampant. What does that equal? Not a whole lot of options. I have lived in a Colorado mountain community for 6 years and have never met a single person who found affordable housing from a distance without knowing someone in the community. At this point, you have to live here to find a decent spot or at least be in driving distance, otherwise people will not take you seriously. Housing is scarce and the people who do long term rent, typically like to rent to established locals.
This is where planning is essential. IF you think you are going to work at a resort, figure out well in advance because though resort jobs are not always the most enticing or highest paid, they typically offer affordable employee housing close to the mountain. Mountains start hiring people in the spring for the following season, and you should be ready to register for employee housing the minute it opens. That’s the easiest way to secure housing, and it will surround you with fun people as well.
If that’s not an option for you, shoot your shot on community message boards on Facebook or elsewhere. You might get laughed at and you might get discouraged, but it’s better than nothing. Plead your case well in advance and expect to pay $1,000 per month for a room. It might be half your salary, but it’s not permanent. Or you could rent a VRBO for a month and look for housing in that time. Being in the area is essential.
Living in a mountain town is AMAZING and thinking about things before you move to one can make your transition into the community just a little easier. Best of luck and hope you find some deep turns.
Images Courtesy of Julia Ordog Photography