Spending a Season as a Ski Bum

Those of you new to this blog (a.k.a. almost all of you) may not know that I started this project while I was living in a ski town for a year. That’s why you’ll see chairlifts in the header. I never ended up writing much about my experiences as a ski bum, after I discovered my passion for travel, but I still have friends chasing that lifestyle. Here’s my friend Jazzmin’s take on her attempt to live an interesting life in a ski town. She found, as I did, that it’s more about the people than about the place.

You can find Jazzmin on Instagram

Read on for her thoughts:

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Should You Work For Vail Resorts?

Vail's Blue Sky Basin

UPDATE: Here is an updated 2018 version of this post.

Or: Why I Worked for Vail (and Why You Should Work For Vail Resorts Too)

guest contribution from a ski town friend. They wanted to remain anonymous. But for those of you considering a season as a ski bum, with Vail Resorts in Vail or elsewhere, I hope the perspective’s helpful!

Although there seems to be a lack of snow nationwide, the 2016-2017 Ski season is about to kick off. Some resorts, such as Arapahoe Basin, are unbelievably already in full swing. People, just like you and me, from all over the world are therefore looking for ways to get their very own taste of some champagne powder – without paying $1000 for a season pass. Or maybe you’re like I was and have never skied or boarded before but are ready to give it your best shot. Either way, there’s an alternative to buying a pass.

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The Evil Genius of Vail Resorts

Vail resorts logo

I recently bought stock in Vail Resorts.

Here’s a fact I bet most ski bums don’t know: Vail Resorts is a publicly traded company. It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker MTN. You can buy and sell shares in the company using any online stock-trading tool.

Another fact many skiiers may not know: Vail Resorts owns not just Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek in Colorado, but also Breckenridge and Keystone. The company also owns Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood in California, and plans to combine Park City and Canyons in Utah to reclaim the crown of the largest ski resort in the U.S. next year (the record is currently held by Big Sky Resort in Montana).

Vail Resorts also owns much of the real estate and many of the businesses in the town of Vail. I suspect it is a similar situation near their other resorts.

To put those facts in context: Vail Resorts is a large corporation with well-diversified assets. They are positioned as an industry leader in a luxury market.

10 year MTN stock quote

The stock market is rewarding them.

All while the Vail Resorts empire is built on the backs of employees who are treated like shit.

But the brand standard persists for one simple reason:

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Sun Down Bowl

Sunset behind the Sun Down Bowl sign

The Sun Down Bowl, Sun Up Bowl and China Bowl are now open on the back side of Vail Mountain.

The early-season openings mean that three of Vail’s seven Legendary Back Bowls are now open.

Game Creek Bowl is open; Blue Sky Basin is also open as of 12/4/2014. Lots of terrain opening up very early; this 2014 ski season is looking good!

Photo taken on the ridge between Game Creek Bowl and Sun Down Bowl. Snow was a little icy today (first day of December, 12/1/2014) due to sunny conditions and a lack of new snow. More snow is expected in Vail on Wednesday (update: did not materialize), although as my father always says: you can’t predict the weather.