If you head west....
1. Prepare for expenses in advance.
2. Stay in your parents medical insurance as long as possible.
3. Plan on sharing a dirty apartment with at least five others. Probably all dirty.
4. Have a fallback plan - or two/three.
5. Ski Patrolling out west is a job, not a party. They start early and end late. Rarely do they get to ski with poles since they are always carrying something. Foot/boot packing is common in the early season. Toboggan runs are numerous and long. Getting to sit down and eat lunch with your buds only happens on your day off. You will get to ski but you get very little choice of when and where. If you already patrol in the east, make a few calls now. Most job openings are filled in the springtime and there is lots of competition. You got to be good, trained, and ready for minimum pay.
6. If I was going west, taking a few years off school, I'd look into the resort services. Bell-hops, room service, front desk, janitor/cleaning, anything where you can work nights and ski days. Any experience with horses? Resorts have sleigh rides. Where there are horses there are always shovels needed.
7. Bulletproof Items 1 and 4 before you go. I was lucky, Items 1,2,3 and 4 were provided by my rich uncle.
8. Enjoy spending your money. Catsup, hot water, and crackers aren't as free as some think.