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Living in a Ski Town

The Life of a Ski Industry Worker

Before you pack the car and bid farewell to your friends and family for the winter, have you stopped to consider what living in a ski resort community will really be like? Sure, you've spent lots of time at ski resorts - but that was only for a week at a time and you always got to go back to the sunny beaches of Florida. Now you're headed off for several months with a ski industry job.

For every breathtaking benefit of living in a ski resort community, it's easy to come up with a drawback - and you should think about both of them before you make your move.

The majority of the country's 457 ski resorts are typically miles from the nearest major city - after all, they are in the mountains. So, if you're a compulsive shopper that can't do without large malls, hair & manicure salons and the Crate and Barrel, living in the high country may not be for you.

While it's true that you can always get in your car and drive to the "big city", you could end up devoting an entire day to buying just one pair of jeans. Fortunately, the Internet has leveled the playing field a bit and if you don't mind waiting a week or two, you can get just about anything you want delivered to you at home.

"If you don't like the weather in the Rockies, wait 15 minutes."

Then there's the weather. Around the end of October, fall mornings are rapidly punctuated with a harsh chill as temperatures begin to plunge into the teens. Get used to scraping the frost and snow off of your windshield before driving to work - you'll be going through this ritual every morning for the next six months. Around the end of November, you can add to that, shoveling out your car in the pre-dawn darkness.

About the time you've managed to extricate yourself from the three feet of snow in the parking lot, you discover that an 18 wheeler has jack-knifed, closing the interstate in both directions, which means that you'll be late for work for the third time this week. But don't worry - your boss is stuck a half a mile behind you.

After a long, stressful day of listening to visitors complain about the snow (how DO they think those runs get covered, anyway?), it's off to the supermarket where you discover that the visiting skiers have wiped out everything on the shelves. On the way home, you stop by the Post Office - mail is rarely, if EVER delivered to homes - you have to go out in a blizzard and get it yourself. Dragging the mail out of your post office box, you try to put off opening the envelope from the electric company - last month's utility bill was over $300.00.

Finally, you arrive home and park three blocks away because the out of towners have taken all of the good parking spots. After lugging your groceries over slick patches of ice, you notice that all five of your roommates "forgot" to wash the dishes again and something is beginning to grow on the inside of the glasses.

Seriously, almost everything you do will be more difficult in a place that gets more than 300 inches of snow a year. But, that's the price of living in a resort community. However, if you decide to stay, you'll be rewarded with more skiing or riding in a single season than most people dream of getting in a lifetime. Your buddies who operate the lifts will conveniently look the other way as you hop onto the chairlift ahead of the long line of visitors waiting to grab first tracks. And, when they've all piled into their cars for the four hour drive back home, you'll be ten minutes away from a steaming hot shower and a flop on the couch.

Living in a resort community also means building many long-lasting friendships. It's almost impossible to go shopping at the supermarket without running into someone you know.

"I stopped into the market for a quart of milk. By the time I got done chatting with everyone, it was an hour later."

And, while there is usually no shortage of night spots, concerts and entertainment that draws in the visiting crowds, locals find that they enjoy much closer relationships with friends who have made the community their home - a bond that you'll rarely find in larger cities.

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