Have you ever wanted to trade it all in and go live in a ski town? Give up your job, buy a beat up truck and ski a hundred and fifty days a year? Sounds good to me. If you have the means to just ski and skip the whole employment thing, then it’s simple; you just have to pick somewhere on the map where they get lots of snow. I would recommend Jackson Hole, Whistler or Chamonix.
But if, like many of us, you actually have to work so you can pay your bills, don’t despair. There are some pretty cool jobs out there that will give you the opportunity to shred 150 days a year. Some of them even require you to actually ski at work and come with daily faceshots as your bonus.
So here are my top five ski jobs:
5. Lifty: Ok, terrible pay, and I mean terrible, but no experience or skills required. And being a lift attendant isn’t all bad…you do get to ski at work every day. And if you’re in your early twenties it’s a little like living in residence at university. Cool factor on the ski bum scale is high.
4. Ski Instructor: This one does require some qualifications, but if you can get those, whether you’re teaching beginners or kids, you are getting paid to ski all day. The pay is commensurate with experience. The only downside is that you’re cool factor as a ski bum is a little low. Ski instructors haven’t been cool since the eighties.
3. Tree Planter: Not strictly a winter gig, tree planting is one of the last great jobs where you can make heaps of money and actually be able to afford to live in a van all winter and shred pow all day. Cool factor is high on this one as it gives you license to not shower for months on end, and people generally accept you as being at one with nature.
2. Ski Patrol: Pretty much the ultimate ski job. Cheat death, save lives and blow stuff up. All while skiing every day. Be warned though, the pay is mediocre and the job is dangerous. And yes, patrollers are still the coolest of the cool.
1. Bartender: Yep. This is the number one job, and in a place like Whistler, one of the few jobs that you can actually make a good living at. Big money, most of it cash, and your days are free to ski neck deep blower as much as you want. Plus there’s the added bonus of creating an instant social life and having the ultimate cool status in a ski town.
So far, I’ve managed to do numbers 1 and 2 and both had their pluses. The only other job that compares to that and requires only that you have courage, a deep sense of not caring whether you hurt yourself and the skiing abilities of a ninja is being a pro skier. Tough gig to make a living at, but if you can, you’re in for a pretty nice life. Redbull sponsorships, travel budgets, film premieres and shredding untracked lines across the globe are just some of the potential perks.
So quit your job, buy an old Toyota truck and move to a ski town. Take it from me, there are worse ways to live your life.
Be safe, ski hard.