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Tips For A Ski Bum

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
G'day I'm currently saving for my ski bum career after I finish my uni course in two years (i currently live about 3000 km's from the snow but make a trip down every year). After doing a bit of research i've probably decided to spend 4 or 5 months living at fernie. Even though i'll apply for a work visa I could think think of nothing worse than working as a liftie helping other people ski 12'' of fresh pow while i couldn't. So i'm probably just try and save enough to get through without working.

I was wondering if anyone had done the same sorta thing and would have any tips to reduce my day to day living costs. Thanks.
post #2 of 12
Suggestion: To save $$'s, rent a house with a group of people. You can pre-arrange housing via sites like this, or through local on-line real estate listings. Also, you may be able to combine with other Australians coming over (there's LOTS of Aussies working at western Canadian resorts - they outnumber Canuks - no kidding).

Ski bumming is a fine art. We used to work summers to ski winters. Another option, work as a waiter at a good restaurant. It's evening work, and with tips you'll earn far more than a liftie. Best of all, you catch every pow day.

I couldn't resist, I had to check on a thread by "Purple Monkey Dishwasher". That handle has gotta be worth some kind of award.
post #3 of 12
Eat ramen noodles every day.

Don't rent a place - meet people and couch surf. You might be able to do that for a few months before everyone hates you.

Figure out what you can get by without - your cell phone, cable TV (after you stop couch surfing), electricity

Get a night job - bartender, waiter, tune shop, etc.

Good luck!
post #4 of 12
Find a job in the evenings that comes with a season pass. Resort owned hotels and restaraunts are good for that.
post #5 of 12
Be creative in all things. Get to Fernie early in the season like around oct maybe ever sept. Check the place out. Back in my Surfing days I once rented a small house and charged enough for the other 2 rooms to pay my rent. I worked nights in a Grocery store stocking shelves. My food bill was next to nothing. I would sleep a few hours then be up early if the surf was on. Nap in the afternoon and eveing be at work by 9PM The same would be a good way to do a ski bum season. Night work as Waiter, Bartender are primer jobs that go fast. Good luck Now go tell Mom and dad what you plan to do after they spent all that money on your education.
post #6 of 12
Good Fernie resource: far.redtree.com - great local snow reports, and some info about the town and the ski hill. Some classifieds too.
post #7 of 12
a guy from my home resort left for fernie in early october to, I think, drive a groomer at night and ski during the day. Sounds like a good deal to me, not sure how he got into it.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Utah49 - we've already discussed it and the compromise was that i had to finsih my uni course before i go. They fought against me the whole way but they finally realise that its what i love to do and will let me do it if i've got something to fall back on.
post #9 of 12
Biggest expenses for most skibums - booze and pot; keep that under control. If you're in Fernie you'll want some bc stuff so you can sample the slackcountry and go into the Lizard Range. Be a smart shopper and try to get as much off-season deals as possible. There's a tremendous second hand store in Cranbrook but I cant recall the name. Don't just get to Fernie and hope you can get your gear.

If you really really need a car, get a minimal beater but buy in Alberta if you can and make sure you got good tires and a good block heater.

Everyone else has covered the really important stuff.
post #10 of 12
The most successful ski bums I know delivered pizzas in the evening dinner hour. They would make big dollars with tips as they had the greetings to a fine art. They were ready with the tips on night spots and good deals around town. Some were making $1000 US per week for 3 hours in the evening. Not bad with an Ausi smile and accent behind it.
post #11 of 12
My advice. Get a job in a ski shop. Free demoes coupled with pro deals, and of course discounts on apparel, is as much as any ski bum can ask for. Scope out the area and figure out which shop does the most business in season. I know plenty of guys here who do real well on $10 an hour (American) + 2% commission. It's amazing how many folks buy new gear after an inspiring day on the mountain. Moreover, these guys get ski breaks in middle of the day and only average around 30 hours a week.
post #12 of 12
"Another option, work as a waiter at a good restaurant." Ha, ha, ha . . . obviously hasn't been to Fernie! Despite all it's recent great press, Fernie's still a coal mining town--there's maybe 3 places that aspire to "good". You want to see real Fernie, catch a game some night of the local minor league hockey team, The Ghosts. There is usually a bunch of Aussie's and Kiwi's working at the resort, though, so they find something to keep from starving, but it's usually the work the locals won't take. Condo's and hotel housekeeping seems a popular trade. The resort management knows why you're there, and is more than happy to pay you in turns, so you'll get your skiing in. For night work, which is definitely the ski bum's first choice, check out Banff, the greatest Mountain Town in North America, or Whistler. Good Luck.

Remember, snow will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no snow, but no equipment won't get you diddly.
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