Category Archives: Powder Mountain

How to be a ski bum

Step # 1: Choosing a location

The biggest factor that you should think about when choosing a mountain is the terrain. If you’re a park rat, then you should choose a place that is built for exactly that. There are mountains (Park City for example) where 90% of the mountain is one big park, but if you’re into steep cliffs, powder, easy rollers, or back country, then be assured that there is a mountain that has been built especially for you.

Another thing that divides the interests of the people is how corporate vs how laid back the mountain is. At the big wig places, such as Vail, you get the perks of having a huge community full of more people than you will ever have the time to meet. At these corporate places the lifts are almost always top notch fast tracks with covers the protect your balls from the wind as you traverse these sprawling mountain domains. On the other hand, corporations treat employees like dirt and even more so since you are a dispensable ski bum. Corporate owned places also don’t give out free beer, free rentals, free kitchen slop, or really free anything like the smaller family owned places will. At the smaller resorts you have a chance to meet and remeet people all the time. This is why I am a fan of the “fuck corporations” ideology and would highly recommend choosing something that is more off the beaten track.

Step # 2: Finding a place to live

Make sure you have a place to crash for when you get there. If you are truly rugged, then you can just bring a warm bag to sleep in and clear out a spot in the forest to sleep. I knew a guy that lived in an igloo for the winter and he turned out the be mostly sane after I got to know him. To do this you would need some tough winter gear and a bit of igloo construction skills which can all be found online. I would recommend finding a place to crash before you get there. You could go on couchsurfing.com or craigslist and finding a place to crash for just a bit while you get set up in the new city. Once you have had time to meet people on the mountain and you have made some solid friendships then you can start couch surfing through the social network. Trust me, this works. I wound up couch surfing at different people’s houses for almost two months before I found my own place to live. Depending on others for a place to sleep wasn’t always the most reliable thing and I did find myself without a place to sleep once or twice throughout the two months, but it was more fun than what you might expect.  It gave me access to a deeper part of the lives of the people that work on the mountain where by I was able to make great friends with kind and giving people. When there is a mountain party it is assumed that there will be at least 5 people crashing and you had better be sure that you are one of the 5. When I eventually did get my own place I was sure to have a party where I could give back to all my friends that had helped me throughout my time as a bum.

You will need to find a place to live and if you have been going without a home for a good amount of time then you should know the workings of the mountain and be able to pick for yourself the best of the best. I ended up getting a basement just below the entrance of the mountain and would hitch hike to work reliably every day. Keep an eye out for houses that are home to only people that live on the mountain. These houses are a focal point for social activity and often are some of the cheapest and most fun places to live. If your not forced into living anywhere you can generally find a good spot for cheap so long as your not living in a corporate owned town like the one in Vail.

Step # 3: Go Pro

Now that you have the first two steps down there isn’t much more to do than to enjoy the mountain. Be sure to explore every inch of the terrain including places you have to hike to. You are going to want to be the master of your domain and while there will always be that guy that has been riding the slopes since before you were born, you can still become worthy of the title of expert. Honestly, if you’re not worthy of the title of expert by the time you’re done with the season then your next journey should be to a cave in the woods where you can sit and rethink your life. Your time on the slopes will be one of the greatest time of your life. Be sure to get out to all the parties, make sure to talk to everyone, and be willing to stretch your comfort zones. Riding pow is an exhilarating experience that can push the most basic of instincts right to the limit. Get out there and get hurt. If you wind up without a scratch by the end of the season then you had better get to that cave and start thinking because getting hurt is part of the game.

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Impermanence

The winter season is coming to an end. The snow feels like rubber and the lifties and disappearing in droves. I recently learned that there is a bonus for lifties that stay until the end of the season which is only weeks away. This has changed my mind and now I want to stay so that I can collect this bonus. There are many more perks about staying right up until the end but this is the main thing that would give me a little boost to get to the next place.

The main point of this paper is about a girl that I met about half way through the season. Early this morning I told her that I loved her. She told me that I shouldn’t say that and that its probably only infatuation. I disagreed. What’s great about this type of interaction is that I don’t care that she didn’t say it back. The fact that I said it in the first place was enough for me. I don’t need it back, I just want to give. It was difficult to make those simple words come out of my mouth. I have not told anyone besides my mother these words for longer than I can remember. It felt so good to get out and now it’s all about action. I will not press this further as she is clearly not ready to move forward with these types of emotions and so I will wait. I will keep on kissing her and taking her out to magical places. I will continue to sex her so good that she will not want to go anywhere else.

Now I feel great about the relationship that we have though I do get nervous about what will happen later. Presently I don’t mind if there are other men involved so long as I hold my own. It’s something of a challenge to keep a solid frame of mind despite these shadows lurking in darker places of my brain. It’s something of a primal instinct to protect the things that you desire. Rationally I can say that I believe in freedom and will never make a demand on another to save themselves for me. It may drive me insane but I will never flinch; so says the mind to the self as the self-chuckles with the wisdom of imperfection.

Getting kicked out of my house was a setback that has made life a bit more difficult but a lot more fun. Instead of spending my nights reading on the futon near a fire, I instead am thrust back into the furnace of the city without a place to go but never searching for a place to be. For now, I am content. I can read and I can write and while it is raining outside currently I am not afraid of where I will go. At any time, I could take off on my journey to the next place but instead I feel a sense of wanting to complete what my current situation is missing. My season at powder mountain and the girl that has done more than any have done for so long.

As the snow melts I find myself more deeply committed to my position in this world. I love what I am doing and yet I know that it can’t last. This is something that I have learned from traveling in the way that I go from place to place with much more thought put to the future than the past. There is an insatiable need to explore the world that drives me away from each ecosystem I create. Like the heartbreak that comes with finishing a great book and a beautiful looking back at what was accomplished. This is just the way things are, impermanent, which then causes me to contemplate the feeling. It’s as if there is a portion of love that comes from the yearning to keep what passes. After this discomfort passes a certain thresh hold we call it love. 

It seems to be less painful to be detached from the past but then there is something so melancholic and satisfying about having moments to cling on to. My past experiences are a source of fulfillment and a way to find meaning in this onslaught of sensory bombardment we refer to as the experience of life. Through pain we grow, and through the willful acceptance of pain do we grow strong. The real currency of this world is the experiences that we carry with us. How we feel these experiences add up into a human being is what give meaning. While it’s sad that these things come to an end I can’t say I would change it for anything.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. There is still at least two weeks left in the season and no way am I about to let this time go by without burning a fire so bright that it will sear a hole so deep into my mental retina that I will be plagued with the greatness of this time for the rest of my life.

Just a Powder party

Last night was real. It all started out with the dancing on the tables at the Powder Keg. A hot and sweaty time up there where everyone was getting rowdy with the band A-Mac DZ. I was dancing with women and hitting on other girls. Ended up hitching to the party from my house and the band picked me up, so I got to know some cool guys and we all showed up to the party together. The party was great. There could have been some more girls there but we still all had a good time chilling with the powder people.

It was near the beginning of the party and everyone was passing around their own brand of THC. Bowls, pipes, bongs, vaporizers of all sorts. At this point in the party I passed on everything being that I prefer to smoke at the end of the night as getting high tends to make me not give a fuck about other people and so I go off and do my own thing. Not the best party drug. So as everyone else gets high I sit back and try not to drink too much. We all then intermingle with each other and between the guitars and drums, the pool table, the bar, the TV dance party room.

At one point I end up sitting down with a guy that I somewhat know from my job on the mountain as a lifty and we start to chat. To me this guys wasn’t making much sense and we were all a bit off as it was just the start of the party so I’m clowning around his ignorance; a risky move that I make all too often. He keeps on asking me what I mean by that and I keep going into more cryptic descriptions. Eventually I start to make some nonsense rap up- “Here I am in chilling in a new place, ready burn it up and ignite this race.” He puffs up his chest and asks me “Are you ready?” Thinking that he is actually a decent rapper I lean my head in attentive to listen to what he has got to say. This kid winds up and clocks me strait in the nose. I fall over but am on my feet in moments with blood gushing out my nose. “What the fuck did you do that for?” I’m yelling at this kid and he is trying to take me outside away from the party but for sure unable to answer my question when I confronted in front of everyone in the house. Not being aggressive most of the tension is defused and I go outside to talk with this kid who claims it’s because of his own fucked up head. I’m at a loss and tell him it’s all good and that we should go back to the party.

Back inside I clean myself up and go to defuse the tension with everyone else. It works out too. I mean, I need to take some shit from the ski mechanic about not kicking his ass but other than that it all seems good. I’m playing drums with my friends, pool and dancing with the girls, listing to my good friend talk about how much trouble he is having because he doesn’t know how to juggle three girls at one time. God this kid is so into himself. A good friend and extremely socially intelligent person. So I sit and tell him he is a bitch for not fucking them all at the same time. There are other people there that I would like to have as friends and I am making progress on all of them. Trying to say the funniest stuff and entice them with just the right information that will allow all of us to be friends and hang out at each other’s houses.

The band is still here at the house and near the end of the night when everyone is decently fucked the hell up, the saxophonist member of the band starts rapping and gets me to get me to start rapping too. I do and it’s not half bad. For being someone that just started their professional rap career last week, I can hold my own. I am more inhibited than he is and so he takes the show. After the kitchen rap battle I see my friend Danger Dan heading outside with his guitar so I follow suit. When we get outside the band lead is waiting for us. Danger Dan starts playing Clint Eastwood on the guitar and with only the three of us in the night we start to spit.It was beautiful. Man it was a song, we sang about good friends and troubled times, about overcoming challenges and the glory that comes because of it, about the universe and our small places within this grand thing called existence right until the end. It was something special switching versus between the two of us while Mr. Dan held it down on the guitar. A memory worthy of a press to say the least.

As the night wound down I must have had one too many drinks because very quickly all the girls got swooped without my knowing and the rest of us were left dancing awkwardly with just ourselves. I made sure to say goodbye to everyone that I had met at the party and Mr. Danger Dan drove me home, along with the lead singer and a girl, who made out in the back seat the entire ride home.

Today my nose hurts but I feel good about what happened. As always, I am left with a strong urge to make up for weaknesses that prevented me from being more,which is exactly why I write this post. If you took the time to get this far into the article, then please feel free to leave a comment. I love advice and would for sure check out anything anyone leaves below. Until next time.

Wishing you enough.