Move to a moun­tain town

Transworld Snowboarding - - CONTENTS -

At some point or an­other, we’ve all ex­pe­ri­enced the itch to drop ev­ery­thing and move to the moun­tains. It’s whether we scratch it that de­ter­mines our re­al­ity. I chuckle when peo­ple tell me how “lucky” I am to live where I do. It’s not a mat­ter of fate, and yes, you can do it. You just have to com­mit.

I traded my post-col­lege desk job for a life­guard­ing gig at a YMCA to make the move. They paid me $180 a week, pro­vided some hardly di­gestible meals, and a win­dow­less room be­neath a roller skat­ing rink. While wak­ing up to the sound of kids eat­ing shit on skates got old, and re­al­iz­ing Mon­day’s ham­burg­ers evolved into Fri­day’s mys­tery meat soup was rather disgusting, I wouldn’t have done it dif­fer­ently.

There are some things I wish I had re­al­ized be­fore­hand, how­ever. The fol­low­ing ten tips may help you make the move you’ve al­ways dreamed of. Be­ing sur­rounded by beau­ti­ful land­scape and hav­ing snow­board­ing down the road, can be down­right ther­a­peu­tic—even if it’s just tem­po­rary.


It’s com­mon to hear of moun­tain town servers, ski school in­struc­tors, or rental tech­ni­cians with a mas­ter’s de­gree. Maybe you re­cently earned a de­gree your­self, or maybe you’re hold­ing down a lu­cra­tive job wher­ever you call home. The truth is, if you want to make the move, you may have to swal­low some ca­reer-based pride. That’s not to say you won’t even­tu­ally land a gig that uti­lizes your skills or ed­u­ca­tion, but if snow­board­ing is your pri­or­ity, be con­tent with tak­ing an en­trylevel job at a cof­fee shop to fa­cil­i­tate the move.


Like ma­jor met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas can be starkly con­trast­ing in cul­ture, so too can moun­tain com­mu­ni­ties. Find one that suits you. Maybe you know from a first­hand visit or have bud­dies who can vouch for the wor­thi­ness of a par­tic­u­lar spot. Do your re­search. Vari­ables to con­sider in­clude ter­rain avail­abil­ity, hous­ing costs, job prospects, air­port prox­im­ity, and crowds. Breck­en­ridge and Crested Butte, for ex­am­ple, suit two types of rid­ers and life­styles. What­ever you’re af­ter, find a place that suits your de­sired lifestyle.


This is es­pe­cially true if you don’t have a job lined up be­fore­hand. Noth­ing would be worse than mak­ing the move only to run out of money within the first month. Ex­pect some set­backs to oc­cur, and give your­self ac­cord­ing wig­gle room fi­nan­cially. Whether a hous­ing op­por­tu­nity falls through or a sea­sonal job’s start date gets pushed back due to lack of snow­fall, it’s im­por­tant to have a cush­ion so you’re not re­treat­ing home af­ter what could’ve been a mi­nor in­ci­dent.


Is your closet over­flow­ing with clothes you don’t wear? Maybe you’ve got fur­ni­ture you don’t plan on tak­ing with you. What­ever clutter you’ve ac­cu­mu­lated over the years, un­load it. The less you have, the eas­ier it will be to pick up and move. Plus, re­mem­ber how we men­tioned sav­ing a lit­tle ex­tra cash? That mo­tor­cy­cle you bought a few sum­mers back could help with that.


It may sound out of or­der, but make find­ing hous­ing a pri­or­ity over a job. Or at least find both. Un­for­tu­nately, moun­tain town liv­ing sit­u­a­tions are prov­ing harder and harder to come by, so it’s not un­heard of for peo­ple to lock down jobs only to pack up be­cause they never found a place to live. While Craigslist and lo­cal news­pa­pers are great start­ing points, a lot of moun­tain com­mu­ni­ties these days have Face­book groups for post­ing avail­able op­por­tu­ni­ties—specif­i­cally rentals. Plus, get­ting on one of these pages may also lead to some crit­i­cal net­work­ing.


There’s a cor­re­la­tion be­tween long-term hous­ing’s in­creas­ing scarcity and the preva­lence of “help wanted” signs. With that said, try not to be too picky when ini­tially try­ing to find a job. Since rid­ing is your pri­or­ity, look for some­thing that’s con­ducive to that lifestyle. Whether it’s a serv­ing gig that starts at 4 p.m. or an overnight stock­ing job at the lo­cal gro­cery store, find some­thing that al­lows you to shred as much as pos­si­ble.


As much as you try to plan your move, some un­ex­pected events are sure to arise. Whether it’s a job that ends up pro­vid­ing less hours than ad­ver­tised, or a liv­ing sit­u­a­tion that doesn’t come into fruition, re­mind your­self to roll with what­ever comes your way. Moun­tain com­mu­ni­ties are full of sup­port­ive peo­ple who look out for each other, so find­ing help is never hard to come by. Some­one is al­ways look­ing for an ex­tra room­mate to al­le­vi­ate the cost of rent, and busi­nesses are al­ways look­ing for what­ever help they can get. When some­thing falls through, take a deep breath and adapt.


If work ethic is more than a sup­posed trait you com­pul­sively in­cluded on a re­sume once, you’re on your way to suc­cess. For bet­ter and worse, many re­sort towns have more than their share of slack­ers. While it can suck to work with these types, their lack can ben­e­fit you when that shitty gig that started at $11 an hour is sud­denly of­fer­ing you $15.


You moved to snow­board, right? It’s de­press­ing how many peo­ple move to moun­tain towns only to fall into the trap that is the lo­cal party scene. While nights on the town can be fun—not to men­tion a great way to meet some new friends— don’t let it spi­ral into a lifestyle. Sud­denly, you’re wak­ing up at 2 p.m. with a han­gover ev­ery day, re­al­iz­ing that it’s been a week since you last strapped in. Don’t be that guy.


While snow­board­ing it­self is al­ways a great start­ing point for meet­ing like­minded peo­ple and build­ing re­la­tion­ships, go the ex­tra mile to en­twine your­self in the lo­cal com­mu­nity. Hit up the lo­cal skatepark be­fore the snow falls, fre­quent a pop­u­lar snow­board shop. By do­ing so, you’ll not only make some good friends but em­bed your­self in the lo­cal scene and en­sure you’re sur­rounded by those who will have your back for years to come. Be­fore you know it, you’ll be bask­ing in that lo­cal sta­tus.

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