1. We love big events. Bring on another!
I’d bet my mortgage that there’s not a single person in Aspen who can’t wait for the X-Games to be over within 24 hours of the first drop-in. By week three of the Christmas holiday rush, every employee of a ski hill starts to look like Peter from Office Space (but with more facial hair), questioning their decisions and longing for a day when they don’t have to play ‘catch-up.’ The catch 22 is that pocketful of extra drinking money.
2. It’s impossible to have a good relationship.
The guy-to-girl ratios in mountain towns are pretty harsh and you may have heard about how everybody is sleeping with everybody else. This isn’t entirely false, but there is more to the story. I’ve found that when working and living in an environment of like-minded people, mutual attraction is all the more likely to spring up and because your interests are so similar, getting the ball rolling isn’t much harder than a few chairlift rides and a happy hour.
3. Those wide smiles at the end-of-season party are genuine.
Closing day is at best a bittersweet moment. The end of the season means the end of profitable work and for many, the termination of their job altogether. Anybody that’s acting like they saved properly and can coast through the shoulder season is kidding themselves. These next two months are going to be stressful.
4. The restaurant is slammed — these servers must be rolling in dough!
Maybe they are — but even if so, it’s only a few short months until the next shoulder season. Looking for a job? Take a look at the staff — how long does it appear the average employee has been working there? That’s usually a good indication of how much money they’re making, which is usually a good indication of how well the management/ownership takes care of their employees, which is usually a good indication of how good the food and service are.
5. “Nobody actually lives here.”
I know, I know. Those oversize mansions on the hills surrounding town don’t paint a good picture in the minds of average people looking to make the move to a mountain town. But it IS doable. It may require having multiple roommates or sacrificing square footage, but if I can pull off living in a mountain town, so can anybody else.
6. On the other hand, working in a ski town means living in a ski town.
As the cost of living in mountain towns goes up, landlords turn to Air B&B to rent their places instead of traditional leases. The result is more and more of the town’s workforce is being forced to live outside of city limits, often quite a bit of a commute away. Summit County, Colorado is a prime example of this.
7. This is just a temporary thing until we join the ‘real world.’
I’ve said it time and time again: if you’re not following your passions you’re wasting your life. There are many ways to craft your own ‘real world,’ and the longtime ski-town local that raised kids on the hill can tell you exactly how to get started.
8. You have to talk with tourists constantly.
Outside of Christmas, Spring Break, and other major holidays, the main patrons of ski areas are locals and die-hards, especially during the week. I’ve met people from all over the map while working at a ski resort, all of whom bring a unique perspective and passion to the mountain.
Contrary to popular belief, there are also office jobs and back-of-house roles in ski towns. Even when you do get stuck with a table full of tourists, taking the time to have a good conversation can make things easier for everyone (and I’ve heard multiple accounts of servers landing awesome new jobs from out of state restaurant guests, largely because they took the time to be friendly).