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Any skiing doctors out there?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
So before too long I will be going down the Medical School road. It is something that I have been looking forward to for a very long time. Being a doctor is something that I have dreamed about since I was young, and I can’t really see myself doing anything else. I guess what I am wanting to know is more about some jobs that doctors out there have that also allow them to still do some skiing. When I say some skiing I am not looking to get in 100 days a year, just something that will allow for a significant amount. I haven’t decided exactly what kind of doc I really want to be yet, but know for a fact that I want to work directly with patients, not sit and read x-rays or look under microscopes. I figure those jobs would allow for more skiing, but skiing isn’t my top priority. Being a doctor is my top priority. Like I said, I just wanted to get some information from some people that have a better idea about this sort of thing. I hope I included enough information to get some answers. If not, just ask for more. Thanks!!!
post #2 of 21
Lets see, West Virginia....Doctor? Oh yeah! Frau!
Too bad she got so busy doing a residency and hasn't posted here regularly for over a year. Becoming a doctor is great, but apparently it doesn't have a lot of disposable free time.
post #3 of 21

Skiing MD

Hey there. I'm an ER doctor in BC. Age 43. Skiing since age 4. At 16, while skipping a day of class for my first REAL powder day (2 feet new at Mt Sutton, Quebec) I thought...whatever job I have I hope I can be out midweek to ski. I have that job.

Now, I don't ski the 100 days or more that some of the guys/girls here do. But I do get 15-30 days per winter. Those seasons with 15 days feel spare. 30 feels like lots.

I also mountain bike about 120 times/year. How so? Shiftwork. It's a mixed blessing. I work about 170 9 hour shifts per year. Days/evenings/nights/every second weekend. Social plans on weekends often take significant advance notice. EXTENDED (more than ten days) vacations are uncommon in my group, but more feasible where manpower is better.

Every year my wife (from my MD class) and I and a group of friends plan a week away, and the core group has maintained bonds this way for 18 years now. We've skied Whistler, Vail, Alta/Snowbird, Jackson, Telluride, Big Sky, Steamboat, Fernie, Kicking Horse.

Each winter since our kids were 3 and 5 we've spent 10-15 days on the slopes with them. They see skiing as an integral part of their lives.

Now, nothing comes with a guarantee, but I'm figuring to cut my work time in half by age 48, and ski a LOT more.

My general impression of my work colleagues, in BC, is that ER docs have a tendency and a desire to be able to keep up their outside interests better than other specialists. Just don't work too many hours, or it does catch up to you.

PM me if you want to continue the discussion.
post #4 of 21
My father was a small town doctor. He didn't ski that much when he was younger and getting his practice started. But after my brothers and sisters were away at college, he really started to ski a lot. We attended all of the Camda and Namda meetings all over the US.
He retired in Aspen and skied into his 80's with his bud's Pete Siebert and Karl Foster out at Buttermilk.
I currently have two nephews in med school and they both seem to get in a few days.
post #5 of 21
Not a doc, but met some ER docs on a hiking trip recently and they were saying just what philipshaw says above. Both had families along; I got the sense they could tailor schedules within reason to accommodate family or personal interests, and also could take on more shifts when finances required.
post #6 of 21
if your a doctor, likely you'll make some good dough, and that is a help with skiing.
post #7 of 21
I'm a Dermatologist. I average about 50 days per season. Had to cut way back during med school, but managed to schedule myself during my fourth year so that I had 6 weeks of accrued vacation time during Jan-Mar and spent the whole time skiing Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and California. I live in L.A. now. Skiing lots is very do-able, if it's really a priority for you. Good luck!
post #8 of 21

Good luck with Med School

I, too, am an ED Doc. My wife's also a doc.

I second philipshaw's observations. To contrast Phil's experience, I'm part of a large group which can absorb longer vacations, but if you want income, you have to work the shifts.

Emerg Med offers a great balance of work/play/income. You have to be able to multitask, and not get lost in the details. The only lifestyle problem... you have to work nights/weekends, and most onerous for my family life (and skiing), Holidays. I have to work the bigger holidays every other year. But find me a doctor who doesn't have to work weekends/nights/holidays... nevermind, doogiedoc already introduced him/herself - .

post #9 of 21

Make your life what you want it to be...

Medicine has changed in both good and bad ways. One of the positive changes is that people no longer have to sacrifice their entire personal and family life to do it -- there is much more acceptance of the concept that people want time to pursue their personal interests. Of course, we also no longer make the kind of money that everyone assumes we do (except the dermatologists, of course...). Many of my non-physician college classmates earn far more than I ever will, some of whom have now retired (I'm in my early 40's and they were among the founders of the .com explosion.)

However, I am a Pulmonary/Critical Care physician, absolutely love what I do every day, and still find ample time to ski somewhere between 20-40 days per year. I did not ski at all during medical school due to a decision to attend a very good institution that was unfortunately located in St. Louis, but other than that I was able to ski through residency and fellowship. While the ED docs above definitely have pointed out the benefits of that particular specialty in terms of a controllable lifestyle, I personally prefer the long term relationships with patients that I have on the Pulmonary side of my specialty.

You'll need to find what works for you, but I am certain that you can identify something in medicine that you love that will still allow you to make turns on a regular basis. The key is to make decisions that allow you to maintain skiing as an important component of your life. Since medical school, I have consciously taken professional positions that respect my need to be near mountains (WA, OR, and now CO). I could clearly earn more living in the midwest or southeast, but I prefer to be where I can readily support my skiing habit and work with others that share the view that those aspects of life are important.

Good luck and have fun!!
post #10 of 21
agrre with other: the ED offers probably the most flexible schedule: however the schedule usualy is set many months before the unpredictable snow storms hit: and the docs DO NOT call off..................
however if skiing is your priority, earning money with focus on wise spending, doing what you like to do and enjoying nature with your family is what pleasant life is all about.

before you get to this point, however, you have to absorb some brutal aspect of training, however the 80 hours work week (a joke in surguical specialties) has made the training absolutely less draining............

do what you like to do and you will never work a single day...................
post #11 of 21
3rd year of med school here, if that counts for anything! It's not really if you have time, but I make time to go at least a few times a year. Have fun out there.
post #12 of 21


I'm not a doc either, but I've met many over the past few years. The majority of those that ski frequently have been anesthesiologists, with ER docs coming in second. The anesthesiologists seem to be especially happy with their life choices. Patient contact is not as extensive as in most specialties, but there is some -- control of their own schedules seems to be the prime benefit.
post #13 of 21
I'm not one, but I know a few doctors that ski regularly and all of them are ER doctors. At least one of them is also a patrol medical director and a couple of them work part-time in an on-hill clinic that one of them owns.
post #14 of 21
There seem to be some misconceptions out there. Any doc who works in a reasonably large group (more than 5), has a fair amount of control over their lives. I work in a large cardiology group with 8 weeks of vacation a year, substantially more than my wife. I am always looking for someone to go skiing with. Much more important is having quick access to good skiing. We have lived in the SF Bay area for years and my in-laws had a house at Lake Tahoe. I have never had the impression that doctors of any type ski any more or less than anybody else. Mostly it's where you live and what you want to do.
post #15 of 21
My wife and I are both in residency now (OB/GYN and Surgery) and we are both avid skiers. We had no problem getting in 30 days or so (including 2 trips out West) every year during med school. This year we are using all of our vacation for ski trips in Jan and March. I've been getting in 2 rounds of golf each week all summer and fall and hope to do the same with skiing once the snow starts falling. As has been said here previously, everything depends on where you live and how motivated you are. I like to think anything is possible. I may even get in more days this year because local skiing is within an hour and I'll have more post-call days. Best of luck with school and skiing.
post #16 of 21
I'm a pediatric anesthesiologist in academic practice. I got in about 42 days last season (including some summer days of ski mountaineering and hiking for turns on summer snow fields). We get the day off after being on 1st call, so I get a full midweek day of skiing if the night was quiet and a half day if I need to go home and get some sleep. I love what I do (a mix of clinical care, teaching and research) but start early in the morning (6:45-7:00) and work long days and put in many evenings writing and working on papers that I have no time for during the usual work day, but it is always interesting and gratifying. Academia has its own headaches, but I don't have to worry about the business end of things too much (we make less money than private practice docs, however).

As far as lifestyle goes, anesthesiology is pretty good. I suppose OB, surgery, and private practice in general medicine or pediatrics is the worst in that regard, but you really need to end up doing what you like best and find a practice setting that fits with your goals- professional, family and recreational. You probably won't be able to figure that out until you are 3/4 done with medical school- or maybe even later (I started out as a pediatrician and did 2 residencies and 2 fellowships).
post #17 of 21


My cousin is a Radiologist and negotiated 13 weeks vacation time. She's young enough (38) and with ample free time that skiing is now becoming something more than a hobby.

Agreed on the anesthesiology folks. Good gig and good benefits.

Good luck, amigo. With socialized medicine right around the corner courtesy of the blonde nightmare, you may want to become a carpenter instead.
post #18 of 21
Pay no attention to the previous comment--carpenters work awfully hard for what they earn. Even with all kinds of reimbursement cutbacks, most physicians have a reasonably good lifestyle. Having said that, specialties which depend little on insurance reimbursement--such as plastic surgery, cosmetic dermatology, and cosmetic ophthalmology--are becoming much more attractive.
post #19 of 21
go to med school, go and ski when you can, just don't get hurt, it sucks
im a first year...in NYC so working legs are crucial!
injuries are NOT what you want to have happen..
your ski day # is def. going to take a downswing but later on you'll get plenty of time..
bust your butt off now, get into a good residency program and you'll have to worry less (although you'll still have to worry) about reimbursements and have tons of time to ski without worrying about the dineros...
post #20 of 21
Not a Doc but hospital board type who skis with several docs each year .

The Er docs or " fighter pilots" as they like to be called seem to be able to get their adrenilin rush in greater frequency than those family practitioners or specialists that ski .

But that said --- most of our skiing buddy docs seem to be able to break away for ROAD TRIPS when the NEED arises

The most Important thing here IMO is to DO what YOU like and LIKE what you DO .

Advice from a dad who has two children who are medical professionals------ Life IS NOT a DRESS Rehersal so get busy making a Life not simply a Living
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to say thanks for everyone's input. It was all very helpful! I was afraid I was going to come off as another 16 year old and not be taken serious, but I must say that I am surprised at all of the helpful insights that I got, especially those from real skiing doctors. I realize that I have a lot of work ahead of me and that skiing time is going to decrease as I finish up undergrad and transition into med-school, but I did learn from you guys that there can be a happy medium between practicing medicine and skiing. Thanks a lot!!!
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