Awesome advice here! Seriously.
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie
BC can be a problem for work visas and such. I am biased towards Jackson Hole (Teton Village) as I think it is the best mountain in the USA and maybe the best in N America. SLC provides many good mountains to choose from and the opportunity to have more varied employment options and even school with skiing close by. It's easy to get caught in the lifestyle and have the years fly by. I was coming for one winter and am into my 20th season now. I was lucky and a little smart and sacrificed some skiing early on and got a business going. The fact that I worked hard and skied a mere 30-50 days/season for several years means I have a house and a business and still live here and ski about 100 days/season now. Most people I have met out here last 3-5 years and move on to a "real" life. If you can get some sort of education/job skill that you like doing and pays well that you can do in a ski town, you are way ahead of the game. I know plenty of 40 something waitresses, raft guides, ski instructors, and such that are going through serious mid-life crises now as their bodies are beginning to fall apart and they realize that they have no decent health plan, 401k, or savings. The upside is that living in JH is a healthy, athletic lifestyle with a lot of all season recreational perks. My situation is pretty good here, but I still sometimes find myself wishing that I had gone to grad school and created the challenging creative career that I had envisioned before coming here. I sometimes meet people my age in my ski lessons who seem to have those careers and they occasionally express the wish they skied more and had less responsibility. I also have some friends who killed it in their careers and moved here in their 40s or early 50s with money. Unfortunately most of these people fled last year when their investments tanked. Most of them are working in a city again and some of them are desperately trying to sell their nice houses in JH. It seemed like a lot of those people couldn't tone down their lifestyle and spending habits when they "retired". Life is full of choices and sometimes following a given path can prevent you from doing other things that you might like to do. I would be cautious about coming here after high school without a college degree. Maybe you could go to summer and fall sessions and ski bum during the spring semesters. That way you could get a feel for what career path would work the best and continue to "move forward" with your life. I knew at least one guy in the ski school who followed this approach for a few years. He's not back this year, but he is in school and I might see him again and when I do I know he will have some options that most of the rest of us don't.
Some of the better careers off the top of my head...
Granted a lot of these are not so great in a recession, but they beat waiter, bartender, raft guide, etc and you could always still do one of these less "professional" jobs if you want to. One of my friends builds robots for the government and still skis powder. He also takes some really cool toys to Burning Man every year.
I hope this is helpful.
At the same time, I'm going on 24, never was able to just ski bum it for a bit. I went to college 1 week after turning 18. August birthday. Originally went for dentistry, then engineering, then marketing, then HR. Changed colleges 3 times in 4 years. Never got caught up in drinking. Never had time. I worked 32 hour weeks while taking 18-credit semesters in order to pay the bills and have fun in whatever freetime was left. Graduated in 4 years with a Business degree. Worked part time for a while, then picked up my current job 1.5 years ago. I got engaged last summer to my wonderful g/f of 3 years. Bought my first new car in december 08 (2009 accord coupe V6). Bought a completely new ski setup for my 10 day trip to JHMR scheduled in a week. I run my own photography business on the side which gives me extra money for my toys. Hell, I have spent over $20K in the last year (not including my car) on camera gear, skis, trips, fun, and an engagement ring. The camera gear pays for itself though. Many would say my life sounds perfect.
I make good money now, but not doing what I enjoy, (work as an appraisal and realestate market analyst at a bank) and still havent figured out what I enjoy. Through all my changes of major in college, not to mention changes in schools, I couldnt decide what I wanted to do. Going to school at 18 was good because it forced me to develop responsibily, but sometimes I think I'm lucky I didnt drop out. I wanted to after my first semester. Wanted to go be a ski bum. I stuck it out in school. I like to plan things, and thats why I've been able to have everything I've wanted so far in life, but even after all my planning, I still find myself in a career that I don't enjoy. Now, I'm contemplating going back to school for that degree in engineering (another 3.5 years). I'm going to have to work that much harder now to keep my lifestyle while going back to school.
Moral of the story - I'm not in bad shape, but there are things I wish I couldve done. But at the same time, I know that through hard work I will still be able to have everything I want.
Follow YOUR dreams. Go to a resort and work as a ski bum, take some time to think about what you want to do. After a year of being part-broke, you will probably want to go back to school, and you'll have more motivation to finish that people who went straight there. You might even have somewhat of a game plan rather than just falling straight into a business degree (I see a BBA as a last resort degree just like communication. lol)
By the way - I grew up in, and still live in Brookfield, WI. Good old Midwest. lol