In late fall, I received an e-mail from a friend of a friend, a guy who was packing up a ’93 Chevy Astro (he’d named it Sparkles) to head west with some buddies in search of snow. They’d been raft guides and kayakers in Maine all summer, a bunch of river bums drinking cheap beer, playing outside, and loving every second of it. They had only a vague sketch of what might happen out West, but they knew it would involve drinking more cheap beer and playing outside again— this time in the snow.
Whether you call it dirt-bagging or bumming, and whether your preferred mode involves rivers and boats or snow and skis, it’s a lifestyle you know intimately. Maybe you’re living it now, in a mountain town, holding down a few parttime gigs that pull in enough cabbage to keep you deep in powder and flush with gear. Maybe you once lived it, and despite the pesky distractions of adulthood—job, family, mortgage—it’s an ideal you still reach for. Because once you’ve sipped that intoxicating brew of friends, fun, snow, mountains, and gravity, you can’t ever let your can go empty.
You’ve got war stories, like the snowmaker in Aspen who had to chase down his coworker’s ghost-riding snowmobile after the guy got tossed when a deer jumped in front of him. Or like the Utah race-crew worker who, to the extreme jealousy of the rest of the crew, got seduced by the hot masters racer they’d been ogling all season.
You’ve got advice, like pro big-mountain snowboarder Jeremy Jones, who learned during his first winter of bumming in Jackson to be “small, clean, and provide lots of beer” when sharing cramped ski-town quarters with like-minded individuals.
I haven’t run into the guy yet, that friend of a friend, but I’m sure I’ll see him soon in the liftline or skin track. Maybe I’ll hear him whoop when a rope drops somewhere and he’s charging toward fresh tracks.
I’m sure you’ll be there too, you bum.
JOIN SKIING’S READER PANEL »
Want to have a say in the cover shots and stories we run? Help us make the magazine you want by joining
Skiing’s Reader Advisory Panel at
READ SKIING ON YOUR TABLET
Download the free Skiing iPad app to access digital issues, exclusive iPad-only content, and bonus freebies. Find us on
iTunes or at skiingmag.com/tablet. Non-Apple users can get digital replica
issues at skiingmag.com/subscribe.