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All winter budget ski options

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Greetings,

I'd like to do some epic skiing of my own. I'm a student, I've been saving up money, and now I have permission for a year out starting November or December of this year. I'm an advanced scuba diver and will be diving for most of the year off, preferably in SE Asia. But, as a preface to what I'm about to say, I'm currently an intermediate skiier and can handle some of the easier advanced runs. I want to improve on that and spend a lot of time skiing in the future. I'm in Philly now and I grew up around here skiing at the Poconos irregularly. As I've gotten older, I realize it's one of the few things I really enjoy in life and so I go pretty much every weekend in the winter. I’ve been to some bigger and better places and I plan to move somewhere near a nice, big hill in the future.

So I'd like to spend a ski season skiing. As you can see I have plenty of time. The real problem is: I don't have a whole lot of money. I need to live on about $30/day including the cost of skiing, lodging, food, and transport (I don't have a car...). That being said, I'm happy to get a job, especially one that isn't too demanding. I'm hoping it would allow me part-time to either make enough to fund the skiing or I could work for a mountain, especially if it's a live-in type arrangement. I'm a little older than your typical student and have professional experience in computer programming, network administration, and, more recently medicine/medical imaging. Any suggestions along those lines would be helpful, but I doubt those things are particularly useful to a mountain so I'll do what I need to do.

I'm no stranger to budget/third world travel, both as a part of medical trips and scuba diving. I was originally planning to go to Gulmarg, but the very helpful Peter of http://www.skihimalaya.com/ has been talking me out of it because most of the terrain there would be too advanced for me. He insists that it would not be a great place to train and instead suggests somewhere in Europe. I'd prefer not having to work, as I have a lot of freelance writing to do anyway, so these non-resort options may be very suitable for me. That being said I am very responsible, and I will do what I need to have the best time I can!

Not knowing where else to turn and having read a lot but not getting any closer to a plan, I post here in hopes someone here can help or has experience with this. I know I want to be near a big mountain (1000m?) with good natural snowfall so I can really take advantage of the opportunity. Would it be best to look into S. American options for summer 2009? How about certain places in Europe that have good skiing, hosteling options, and aren't expensive? Are there jobs there? Should I start filling in job applications for some N. American mountains? Any and all advice is appreciated!

Thanks in advance and I love the smilies on this forum .

post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuronix View Post
...Should I start filling in job applications for some N. American mountains? .....
Yes.

If you want to become a really good skier, try to live and work at one of the mountains where the best skiers are. Alta, Snowbird, and Jackson Hole are 3 examples of places where you'll be surrounded by a lot of unbelievable skiers.

Working and living on the mountain will give you an opportunity to meet and hang out with excellent skiers. Watch them, follow them around, and learn everything you can from them.

Besides ski areas, some of the on mountain lodges are not separately owned, and many offer room/board/ski passes as benefits.

For example:

http://www.alta.com/pages/employment.php

http://www.coolworks.com/profile/sno...esort/ski-jobs


http://www.jacksonhole.com/emp.index...ategory=winter
If you are interested in working for the 2008-09 winter season, we start our hiring at our annual Job Fair in late October (more details to come closer to the date). Work the season at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and receive a FREE ALL MOUNTAIN SKI PASS , great local discounts, Free START bus pass, parties, 1300 new friends and many other awesome benefits

http://www.coolworks.com/altaperuvian/
We are seeking hard-working, friendly folks to add to our crew for the 2008/09 ski season (Nov 1 - April 18, 2009). In return for helping us out in the restaurant, front desk/reservations, gift shop, ski shop, maintenance, transportation, or the housekeeping departments, you will receive room, board, salary, ski pass, and a bonus. Not a bad deal. Come on out and enjoy the winter wonderland of Alta!

http://www.skigmd.com/Employment.html
Now Recruiting for the "2008/2009" Winter Season. We are looking for amiable people who would like to work in our lodge and ski the 'best powder snow in the world' at Alta,Utah. In exchange for your working in our lodge you will receive a room (shared with another employee), three meals a day, a monthly salary, a ski pass (deposit required) and memories that will last a life time!

http://www.altalodge.com/about/index...t=2&subnav=188
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DropKickMurphy View Post
Yes.
Working and living on the mountain will give you an opportunity to meet and hang out with excellent skiers. Watch them, follow them around, and learn everything you can from them.
Since you are an intermediate skier, I would take the above advice with a grain of salt. In order to ski with (and learn from) the best skiers on the hill, you have to be able to hang with them. Not only do you have to have the skills to go where they go (which will be off-piste and probably through the boundary gate), but you have to be strong enough to do it at mach speed without stopping. If "meet and hang out with" doesn't include "skiing with", then the above advice is reasonable. Realistically, you probably won't have much opportunity to ski with truly great skiers (unless you get a job as a ski instructor). However, if you pick the right resort, you should be able to find a good group of skiers that are close enough to your ability level that they will be happy to ski with you.

IMO, that is why going to Jackson or Snowbird or Alta might not be the best choice. Those places attract the very best skiers, so the pool of potential ski buddies is going to be much smaller.

If you could make it work monetarily, I'd suggest Summit County. There are four mountains to choose from up here (three on the same pass) and the terrain is more conducive to a broad variety of skiers. If your skiing takes off, there are plenty of world-class skiers to ski with. Until that happens, you shouldn't have any trouble finding folks of more modest ability to ski with.

Check out Keystone, Copper, and Breckenridge and see if any of those mountains might be more to your liking.
post #4 of 13
It depends greatly on what nationality you are. In our mind, skiing is borderless. Getting a work permit, on the other hand, isn't always the easiest thing in the world.

So, unless you're a EU citizen, working in the Alps may not "work" for you.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
US Citizen here. Thanks for all the advice so far!
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffda View Post
If you could make it work monetarily, I'd suggest Summit County. There are four mountains to choose from up here (three on the same pass) and the terrain is more conducive to a broad variety of skiers. If your skiing takes off, there are plenty of world-class skiers to ski with. Until that happens, you shouldn't have any trouble finding folks of more modest ability to ski with.

Check out Keystone, Copper, and Breckenridge and see if any of those mountains might be more to your liking.
I just moved to Summit and like it so far, but it is not the cheapest place in the world. Was talking with a local realtor and she said that a handyman or landscapper could do well up here as it is hard to get someone for smaller jobs. She also said there is only 1 professional Christmas lights hanger and he quoted their 4 plex 5 K just to put them up (and suggested they leave the lights up year round to avoid future expense).

Low paying seasonal resort jobs should be easy to come by...I read in the paper that Vail resorts did not get all the foreign worker visas they looking for which may be good for you (but probably means less hot South Americans and others who come up here to ski during their summer).
post #7 of 13
You could live like SitSkiAndy did last season:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=61646
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
at SkiSitAndy's idea. Fanastic thinking. It's kind of a smaller adaptation of the camper trailer. My grandparents had a big van that they used to tour the SW USA when I was very small. Are there fleets of those things and campsites near the big resorts?

I ended up finding one fantastic opportunity as a computer guy at a mountain for the season, something that I think would be great for me rather than working menial labor. If anyone connected/interested is reading, I have a lot of professional experience in systems administration and programming, and would be happy to assist with any IT tasks. Since the position I mentioned isn't certain yet (though I hope it does become so!) and may not be certain for awhile, one of my friends pointed out that I should probably post my contact info just in case anyone is reading. So e-mail me.
post #9 of 13
Welcome to Epic. For privacy and reduced spamming, I removed you e-mail from your post, people will be able to usue the internal e-mail to contact you though.

I hear resorts will be scrambling this year due to difficulties with visas. This might be a great time for you. PM BushwackerinPA here on the site, I imagine he could give you some pointers too.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
For anyone who might be interested how it panned out for me...

I ended up with three jobs as a ski instructor and one as a network/systems engineer.

Winter Park, Copper, and Keystone are still all hiring if anyone wants to be a ski instructor. They all seem to have pros and cons to me if anyone's curious what I thought going through the app process and seriously considering them. Feel free to PM me for my thoughts on that. I am grateful that I had the opportunities.

I can't say where the computer job was, but EpicSki made me a great connection there and it's for this info and such that I donated. Thanks EpicSki

I'm going to spend Nov 1 - May 1 in SLC. I found a job that is exactly in my field there, so it worked out fantastically. In exchange for not getting paid very well, I'll have flexible hours and be halfway between work and Alta (12 miles!). I'm so stoked.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuronix View Post
...I'm currently an intermediate skiier and can handle some of the easier advanced runs. .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuronix View Post
For anyone who might be interested how it panned out for me...

I ended up with three jobs as a ski instructor and one as a network/systems engineer.

Winter Park, Copper, and Keystone are still all hiring if anyone wants to be a ski instructor. They all seem to have pros and cons to me if anyone's curious what I thought going through the app process and seriously considering them. Feel free to PM me for my thoughts on that. I am grateful that I had the opportunities...
I am glad things worked out for you and thanks for the update.

No offense to you, but am a bit surprised that you were offered 3 jobs as a ski instructor. I knew that the tight HB1 visa situation this year meant that many long time foreign instructors were going to be unable to return, but didn't realize that the CO resorts were hiring intermediate skiers to instruct (even if they are good athletes as I am sure that you are). I know that WP is offering a good training program, what about the others?
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post
No offense to you, but am a bit surprised that you were offered 3 jobs as a ski instructor.
None taken. I was surprised too. I also had a PM about a Vermont resort as well from my post, but I was definitely heading out west.

Quote:
I knew that the tight HB1 visa situation this year meant that many long time foreign instructors were going to be unable to return, but didn't realize that the CO resorts were hiring intermediate skiers to instruct (even if they are good athletes as I am sure that you are). I know that WP is offering a good training program, what about the others?
I'm hardly an athlete... But that's not something they asked about at all. I sent around PMs to some of the ski instructors on this site about this very topic--about how I'm not a great skiier and my life until now has not been in sports (nor will it continue to be)--so am I ok to be a ski instructor? The answers I received back was almost an enthusiastic yes from most people I asked. Something that worried me a bit was whether I'd pass muster at the hiring clinic, but it didn't seem to be a problem to anyone I asked.

Jobmonkey had a good summary on their site:
http://www.jobmonkey.com/ski/html/in...interview.html

Quote:
Getting hired is really not too difficult if you're a decent skier. At Copper Mountain and a lot of resorts, they run a hire-in clinic at the beginning of the season. You have to pay $70 to $100, and they basically teach you how to be an instructor. You learn a lot of great techniques, and it even helps your own skiing, so it's probably worth it even if you don't get hired. There were some people in the clinic who seemed like pretty lousy skiers, but they were very friendly and great with people so they got hired anyway.
I think WP had the best training program, with they said daily courses and the longest preseason training school. They also offered to pay for the level 1 cert, whereas Keystone and Copper only offered that as a reimbursement if you came back the following year.
post #13 of 13
Thanks for the additional details...I submitted an application online at Copper for p-t entry level instructor yesterday after reading your post. The WP training program does seem the best, but we only live about 7 miles from Copper, so this definitely works best for me.

My guess is that they need personable people who are good comunicators that will be patient with beginners/kids. Not a bad way for someone looking to get more into skiing to get their foot in the door and hopefully improve their skiing along the way.

Good luck in SLC.
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