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How do you ski town residents earn a living? - Page 2

post #31 of 64

Tahoe-Reno wouldn't work for me personally.  If I was going to live in the mountain town, it has to be drivable at least to a Hub airport.  Commuting to work via a an hour or two drive, and THEN an airplane ride would completely suck and waste your free time away.  So Breck to Denver would work, Park City would work, Seattle Suburbs would work...like Enumclaw, Issaquah, or something out towards Stevens Pass, or Hood River or Sandy in Oregon.

 

Bend to Portland is a little far.  Anywhere in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Spokane, are all too far from hub airports.

post #32 of 64

I know a guy that had a farm in southwestern Oklahoma and worked the airports in Dallas (Love and DFW).  He commuted to work M-F in a Cessna for about 20 years until getting a job managing the tiny Lawton airport.

post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

Unless you alreday have a career that allows remote work I think the chances of a Good Living that allows a young person to raise a family, give them a good education and live in middle class comfort would most likely start in a city Near a ski town. Denver. Salt Lake City, Reno, Boise, Seattle, Vancouver etc. Get close then get started in something that might allow you to move even closer - move to a real ski town later or get training that allows for remote from day one.

I'd say SLC (and I believe Boise) is as real as any other ski town.

post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

Unless you alreday have a career that allows remote work I think the chances of a Good Living that allows a young person to raise a family, give them a good education and live in middle class comfort would most likely start in a city Near a ski town. Denver. Salt Lake City, Reno, Boise, Seattle, Vancouver etc. Get close then get started in something that might allow you to move even closer - move to a real ski town later or get training that allows for remote from day one.

I live in Boise and it is quite the ski town. We have a rather large local hill 25 minutes from downtown with $200 season passes. It doesnt hurt that Sun Valley, and Brundage about 2.5 hours away.

 

By the way I make my living working for s ski company in a ski town. SVST to be exact. Its a pretty sweet gig. Pays well and because we have night skiing I have plenty of time to go skiing. To top it all off the cost of living in boise is far cheaper than the average ski town so people other than the super rich can afford to live here.  

post #35 of 64

So when did Bogus Basin open last year?

post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

I'd say SLC (and I believe Boise) is as real as any other ski town.

 

I don't understand his comment either.

post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

 

It may not be a difference to some folks. I was just thinking of the difference between a town like Whitefish, Steamboat or Aspen compared to the cities. You are a perfect example. In my example Logan (50,000 pop.) and Ogden (85,000 pop.) would not be considered ski towns but they are close enough to the lifts to allow you to ski all you want and still work a "normal" job outside the resort industry.

 

What would you say is the difference? I have friends who lived in Steam boat for a few years and both were school teachers. 

post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

So when did Bogus Basin open last year?

I think it was mid January... it was a shame, latest opening date in the history!

post #39 of 64

From over on TGR, some serious encouragement to Quit Your Day Job (NSFW lyrics):

post #40 of 64

If your outgo is greater than your income, your upkeep is your downfall. biggrin.gif

 

We try to minimize money we spend. When we have guests in town, we provide rooms in exchange for food and liquor. beercheer.gif. When they are asleep, we rummage through their pockets for loose change and coupons that aren't expired. 

post #41 of 64

I've lived in towns (5k-10k) where maybe I did not know everyone but I was never far removed from knowing most folks and their families. I've also lived in small and medium sized cities (50k - 850k). My experience leads me to view life in a town as significantly different from that in a city, even a small city. While I've lived most of my life in cities I personally prefer the Small town lifestyle and I think small mountain towns are frequently idyllic. I thought the OP was interested in towns which to me are by definition small. If that's not what we're talking about then I agree with all the comments regarding the larger population areas.

post #42 of 64

My formula to ski all winter has usually been to work as a chef at country clubs/yacht clubs. Some years I've stayed in town but most I go to whoever I'm lined up with or will pay me the most. This means moving around a ton in both work and life, I have lived in 11 different states now.

 

Skiing and travel was one of the main deciding factors that drove me to culinary school (oh and the food stoke!). The work can be absolutely impossible at times, last summer I was pulling 80-100+ hour weeks, consecutively...for months. It was tough and in the end I needed the entire winter off completely to get my head back on straight . This summer is going much better and I will likely seek a pm non managerial line cook type job this winter when i go back to tahoe, just for some extra money and fun. It will also allow me to not deplete my summer savings so fast and hence have more options in the spring instead of having to be a money slut.

 

I think the important thing that helps me get by is that my needs for money are much much lower than most people my age I know. I keep things pretty simple and run finances lean. sometimes it totally sucks not having certain things, trust me it really does but overall my quality of life is damn good! I'm looking at finding some sort of balance in the very near future. Maybe a year round job in Tahoe? Time will tell

post #43 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

I've lived in towns (5k-10k) where maybe I did not know everyone but I was never far removed from knowing most folks and their families. I've also lived in small and medium sized cities (50k - 850k). My experience leads me to view life in a town as significantly different from that in a city, even a small city. While I've lived most of my life in cities I personally prefer the Small town lifestyle and I think small mountain towns are frequently idyllic. I thought the OP was interested in towns which to me are by definition small. If that's not what we're talking about then I agree with all the comments regarding the larger population areas.


Sounds like you're focused on the town, while some of us are focused more on the ski. No worries, different strokes for different folks. I can understand why some might like the small mountain town. I prefer a more "mountain city/suburb" for pretty much the same reasons Tromano talked about.

post #44 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

From over on TGR, some serious encouragement to Quit Your Day Job (NSFW lyrics):

 

The skiers at the beginning of that video are in the mountains behind Girdwood (later shots look like Valdez).

Lots of people who live here commute into Anchorage for work if they cannot find anything worthwhile locally.

post #45 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Girdwoodguy View Post

 

The skiers at the beginning of that video are in the mountains behind Girdwood (later shots look like Valdez).

Lots of people who live here commute into Anchorage for work if they cannot find anything worthwhile locally.

Are you talking about Max's Mt?

post #46 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Speaking strictly personally, I now live off my husband, who has a very good job with a major US corporation as a systems consultant and is able to work remotely.  Prior to that, we lived quite a bit "under our means" and saved 10% of our combined salary every month we worked.  

 

However, most of our friends-who-came-to-ski are retired.  A number are retired military.  Apparently if you don't get killed, it's a good gig.  You can then get another hobby job while you're still young and get your health coverage from the VA.  

 

The friends who are still working run the gamut from commercial pilots to cardiologist to real estate agents, to fishing guides, greens keepers, builders, etc.  

 

Unemployment IS high in the area and Montana is full of "underemployed" people with grad degrees doing lower level jobs because they like living here more than they like money.


This dilemma in Stumptown has created an interesting paradox across a few dimensions.  I am a part-time resident in Whitefish.  Best town in USA.

 

Are people underemployed – yes.  But there are not a ton of people in their 30’s and 40’s who have HUGE opportunity costs by not living in bigger cities.  I have not met a lot of people who have left jobs in industry, consulting, or i-banking to live in Whitefish in this age group.

 

Related to this, is that full-time residents in that same age group are not overly welcome of part-time residents.  In their eyes, people fall into three groups - resident, tourist, or Canadian. Full-time residents are not keen on part-time residents because they are approaching the best of both worlds by living in the best ski town and working a job that provides economic benefits provided in the bigger cities.

 

Finally (as you know), the biggest issue is FCA…you need to have lower prices year-round into that airport.  UAL needs to fly FCA to ORD direct each day year-round.  Economic agencies in NW Montana should be focusing adding year-round directs and getting a low-cost carrier to enter the market with routes from larger airports.  Without lower cost airfare and access into FCA, Whitefish will continue to have issues building long-term employment options for people in their peak earning years and with families.  Of course, all of this access comes with a trade-off…be careful what you wish for (not implying you are but too much access may change the town even more than it has over the last 15 years).

post #47 of 64

Not everyone would consider living in Roaring Spring, PA the answer to this question, BUT it is only 30 minutes from my door to the top of Blue Knob.  (Motto: Ski good or eat wood--gives you an idea of the terrain!)  Summertime, 30 minutes in the opposite direction puts me on my boat (OK, a pontoon boat and a couple of jet skis for excitement!) on Lake Raystown.  Plus, I actually have made a decent living here as a lawyer, looking forward to retiring in the next couple of years.  Have thought about moving, but can't think of any place that offers the same combination of outdoor opportunities.  Downside, Blue Knob is not exactly Park City, and Raystown Lake is not Lake Powell, but life's not perfect. 

post #48 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose32 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Speaking strictly personally, I now live off my husband, who has a very good job with a major US corporation as a systems consultant and is able to work remotely.  Prior to that, we lived quite a bit "under our means" and saved 10% of our combined salary every month we worked.  

 

However, most of our friends-who-came-to-ski are retired.  A number are retired military.  Apparently if you don't get killed, it's a good gig.  You can then get another hobby job while you're still young and get your health coverage from the VA.  

 

The friends who are still working run the gamut from commercial pilots to cardiologist to real estate agents, to fishing guides, greens keepers, builders, etc.  

 

Unemployment IS high in the area and Montana is full of "underemployed" people with grad degrees doing lower level jobs because they like living here more than they like money.


This dilemma in Stumptown has created an interesting paradox across a few dimensions.  I am a part-time resident in Whitefish.  Best town in USA.

 

Are people underemployed – yes.  But there are not a ton of people in their 30’s and 40’s who have HUGE opportunity costs by not living in bigger cities.  I have not met a lot of people who have left jobs in industry, consulting, or i-banking to live in Whitefish in this age group.

 

Related to this, is that full-time residents in that same age group are not overly welcome of part-time residents.  In their eyes, people fall into three groups - resident, tourist, or Canadian. Full-time residents are not keen on part-time residents because they are approaching the best of both worlds by living in the best ski town and working a job that provides economic benefits provided in the bigger cities.

 

Finally (as you know), the biggest issue is FCA…you need to have lower prices year-round into that airport.  UAL needs to fly FCA to ORD direct each day year-round.  Economic agencies in NW Montana should be focusing adding year-round directs and getting a low-cost carrier to enter the market with routes from larger airports.  Without lower cost airfare and access into FCA, Whitefish will continue to have issues building long-term employment options for people in their peak earning years and with families.  Of course, all of this access comes with a trade-off…be careful what you wish for (not implying you are but too much access may change the town even more than it has over the last 15 years).

I guess since my daughter is dating an older guy she hangs out with a 30-40's crowd and they all came here from elsewhere and all of them had more "high flying" jobs before they came here, so I don't know the census data, but my perspective is vastly different than yours on that one.  

 

Naturally, the TOURISM group is always working on this, but for tourism reasons.  There was a newly-announced direct from the LA area to here.  The problem is that WINTER IS OUR SECOND SEASON, so they just don't fill the seats on some of those year round things.  I was on a flight back in May that was only half full.  We end up getting the summer flights only.  Which personally is fine with me.  The transport COST issue has not been a problem for my husband since he works for a big corporation, but I imagine if you can't charge the bill to someone else, it could be.  On the other hand, some of the business people locally have no issues with that either because they use their Alaska Airways or some other card to buy so much of their stock that they have free transport coming out their ears.  So, I guess from a work standpoint, it depends on what you do.  

post #49 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I guess since my daughter is dating an older guy she hangs out with a 30-40's crowd and they all came here from elsewhere and all of them had more "high flying" jobs before they came here, so I don't know the census data, but my perspective is vastly different than yours on that one.  

 

Naturally, the TOURISM group is always working on this, but for tourism reasons.  There was a newly-announced direct from the LA area to here.  The problem is that WINTER IS OUR SECOND SEASON, so they just don't fill the seats on some of those year round things.  I was on a flight back in May that was only half full.  We end up getting the summer flights only.  Which personally is fine with me.  The transport COST issue has not been a problem for my husband since he works for a big corporation, but I imagine if you can't charge the bill to someone else, it could be.  On the other hand, some of the business people locally have no issues with that either because they use their Alaska Airways or some other card to buy so much of their stock that they have free transport coming out their ears.  So, I guess from a work standpoint, it depends on what you do.  

 

We won’t solve the opportunity costs for multiple reasons but I would be interested in the “high-flying” jobs they left.

 

I probably should clarify; the issue with FCA and costs is that it stifles economic growth of the region.  Companies will not grow or locate there with such expensive and infrequent access options.  However, if you are not working or want to live there part-time that is probably most desirable.  It is only if you want to make Whitefish your home and earn a good living where things become tricky.

 

Wish I was in Whitefish now but have to work tomorrow.

post #50 of 64

I love the look on peoples faces when they ask..."how can you afford to live here?" and I reply "by skiing every day".

post #51 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose32 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I guess since my daughter is dating an older guy she hangs out with a 30-40's crowd and they all came here from elsewhere and all of them had more "high flying" jobs before they came here, so I don't know the census data, but my perspective is vastly different than yours on that one.  

 

Naturally, the TOURISM group is always working on this, but for tourism reasons.  There was a newly-announced direct from the LA area to here.  The problem is that WINTER IS OUR SECOND SEASON, so they just don't fill the seats on some of those year round things.  I was on a flight back in May that was only half full.  We end up getting the summer flights only.  Which personally is fine with me.  The transport COST issue has not been a problem for my husband since he works for a big corporation, but I imagine if you can't charge the bill to someone else, it could be.  On the other hand, some of the business people locally have no issues with that either because they use their Alaska Airways or some other card to buy so much of their stock that they have free transport coming out their ears.  So, I guess from a work standpoint, it depends on what you do.  

 

We won’t solve the opportunity costs for multiple reasons but I would be interested in the “high-flying” jobs they left.

 

I probably should clarify; the issue with FCA and costs is that it stifles economic growth of the region.  Companies will not grow or locate there with such expensive and infrequent access options.  However, if you are not working or want to live there part-time that is probably most desirable.  It is only if you want to make Whitefish your home and earn a good living where things become tricky.

 

Wish I was in Whitefish now but have to work tomorrow.

 

I can't get into what jobs were left without it being really obvious (this is a small town) the names of people I'm talking about.  However, a reference to the US Census data supports the "underemployed" profile for this town:

 

 

 

% of people in the US with bachelor or higher degrees:  27.9%

% in Montana:  also 27.9%

% in Whitefish:  37.8%

 

Median household income, US:  $51,914

Montana:  $43,872

Whitefish:  $43,117

 

Below poverty level in US:  13.8%

Montana:  14.5%

Whitefish:  17.3%

 

That certainly implies there are a bunch of "underemployed" here.  Since this is household income, that would pick up those working for big corporations elsewhere.  We also have a slightly higher than US number in the 25-44 year old group, 30% vs. 26.6%.  I haven't figured out how to drill down to find out if that group is the over educated/underemployed group.  

post #52 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

 

Median household income, US:  $51,914

Montana:  $43,872

Whitefish:  $43,117

 

Below poverty level in US:  13.8%

Montana:  14.5%

Whitefish:  17.3%

 

That certainly implies there are a bunch of "underemployed" here.  Since this is household income, that would pick up those working for big corporations elsewhere.  We also have a slightly higher than US number in the 25-44 year old group, 30% vs. 26.6%.  I haven't figured out how to drill down to find out if that group is the over educated/underemployed group.  

On a related note, ever wonder about those statistics? I realize medians encompass all kinds of different individuals, but I tend to think of the "average American worker" as having a home and family - that's kind of the stereotypical dream, anyway. I'm not sure what cost of living in Whitefish is like, but I can't imagine making that happen in any ski town on $43K and change for a household - per person in a two-worker household, maybe. Heck, Utah is a very affordable place to live, and $52K, not to mention $43, seems pretty low.

 

Sorry, a bit of a tangent, but median incomes always seem low.

post #53 of 64

Well, in ski towns, you've got a lot of people postponing marriage and playing, so I am sure those demographics are different as well.  And, once again, the numbers bear that out.  

 

Going back to the census:  

 

 

  Whitefish US
HOUSEHOLDS BY TYPE # % # %
Total households 2982 100 114567419 100%
Family households (families) 1562 52.4 76089045 66%
With own children under 18 years 696 23.3 34031758 30%
         
Husband-wife family 1196 40.1 55704781 49%
With own children under 18 years 459 15.4 22924853 20%
Male householder, no wife present 114 3.8 5385788 5%
With own children under 18 years 61 2 2585091 2%
Female householder, no husband present 252 8.5 14998476 13%
With own children under 18 years 176 5.9 8521814 7%
         
Nonfamily households 1420 47.6 38478374 34%
         
Average household size 2.1   2.63  
Average family size 2.77   3.23  

 

Smaller household size naturally equals smaller household income.  

 

One thing to consider is a lot of people are making money here in a cash-based way.  They might not be reporting their income to no gubment agents.

post #54 of 64

being a musician in Salt Lake City wasn't all that hard...

post #55 of 64

Nelson, British Columbia.

 

Civil Engineer.

 

I work locally, not remotely.

 

And, of course, civil engineer is not one of those jobs that you can just decide you want to do and start doing it tomorrow. There are considerable dues to pay before you are anointed with a license, and even that's no guarantee.

 

And air travel anywhere near Nelson is problematic. We consider a Spokane a hub, relatively speaking, even though it isn't. It's 3.5 hours away. Cranbrook is 3.5 hours. Kelowna is 5 hours. Calgary and Vancouver are 8 hours. Cancelgar (Castlegar) is close, but unreliable and expensive.

 

And then there's the Nelson attitude toward work: "Dude, I don't really want a job right now, because if I got one, I'd have to get time off right away so I could hang out with my friends."

 

This perfectly matches the fact that there isn't all that much work available, except possibly for certain, um, agricultural endeavors.

post #56 of 64

Low low airfares and small ski towns are mutually exclusive. 50 seat RJs are growing out of favor and a 50 seat jet is frequently all a smaller market can support. I live in a small HUB market and we too face high prices and reduced service. Our number of flights are down 50% over the past 6-8 years. It is hard to believe that airlines are still losing money  when every flight I'm on is crowded. It is a crazy industry. The cost to fly to Montana has limited my ski trips for 20 years. I'm sure it's even worse when you need to fly OUT for business. Baseman is subsidizing a NYC flight with a Million $ grant. I think most of us conservatives would say that is not the right way to spend our tax dollars. No easy solution to high transportation costs when we want to live in out of the way places.

post #57 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

Low low airfares and small ski towns are mutually exclusive. 50 seat RJs are growing out of favor and a 50 seat jet is frequently all a smaller market can support. I live in a small HUB market and we too face high prices and reduced service. Our number of flights are down 50% over the past 6-8 years. It is hard to believe that airlines are still losing money  when every flight I'm on is crowded. It is a crazy industry. The cost to fly to Montana has limited my ski trips for 20 years. I'm sure it's even worse when you need to fly OUT for business. Baseman is subsidizing a NYC flight with a Million $ grant. I think most of us conservatives would say that is not the right way to spend our tax dollars. No easy solution to high transportation costs when we want to live in out of the way places.

 

 

The industry needs a smaller new Turboprop to replace all the 50 seat RJ's.  Unfortunately nobody makes one.  The Embraer Brasilia is OOP, and too hard to get parts for.  Ditto for Saab 340/2000.  Bombardier Q200/Q400 have reliability issues and cost a small fortune in the first place.  And ATR 42/72 don't have a good reputation either.  Everybody is stuck with unprofitable 50 seaters for the time being.

post #58 of 64

I'm not sure how many people it seats but Air Canada fly Dash 8 turbo props. They are slow, noisy and vibrate.biggrin.gif

post #59 of 64

Dash 8 is the same as a Q400.  They seat up to 76, and they break down all the time.

post #60 of 64

A lot of the Q400's are pretty old.  I think Alaska/Horizon and maybe Colgon/Continental Express have mostly modern fleets, otherwise Bombadiers are an aging bird for most carriers.

 

Best flight to/from a regional airport I ever had was on an Embraer ERJ 145, a 50-seater jet, though I think they make 37- and 44-seat versions as well.  Much quieter than most turbo props.  I think Embraer makes 70-80 seat jets now as well as a 90-seat jet that's starting to be used by major carriers.    There doesn't seem to be the demand for smaller planes right now; the airlines seem to want to fly fewer planes with more passengers.

 

However, since turboprops use significantly less fuel, even as they get larger (70-90 seats), we'll probably see more of them, as fuel prices over time will probably stay high.  

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