Why You Should Move To A Ski Town For At Least One Year
We have all dreamed about it at one time or another, but very few of us have ever mustered up the confidence to pack up our lives and relocate to a ski town. Scattered across all corners of the globe these little towns play host to the greatest athletes, inventors and innovators of our sport. As these towns take shape in the valleys and basins of the world's grandest mountain ranges they provide us with numerous gateways into the thousands of miles of unexplored terrain. A small number of individuals have the privilege of being born and raised in one of these communities and they are given a head start in taking on the mountains that we all crave to conquer. Unfortunately many different factors ranging from college obligations to the every day pressure of conforming to social norms are what keep us from fulfilling our fantasies and experiencing all that these unique places have to offer. On the other hand is there really any excuse for us to hold back on our dreams just to satisfy the rest of the world? In a way it's cowardly to shy away from our aspirations just because society tells us we need to follow a certain path to achieve success and happiness. If you've ever imagined yourself standing on top of a powder covered peak and looking down on your house in the valley below here are a few more reasons why you should take the leap.
Fall sunset over downtown Truckee, California - Photographer: Olof Carmel
Being forced to sit on the sidelines during a sporting event while watching your team play to a victory is a crushing feeling, usually due to an injury or some sort of suspension the reason is out of your hands. Being forced to hear how everyone in Telluride, Colorado or Jackson Hole, Wyoming is joyously lapping the mountain on a weekday dump while you're stranded at your entry level office job is a pretty miserable feeling as well. So why do you sit there week in and week out mixing in with every other Jerry when you could be living your dream? Life is too short for us to be locked into a career and life that we are not completely satisfied with.
"But I make decent money" ... "My family would look down on me" ... "I have so many college loans I need to pay off " ...
We can come up with excuses all we want but the fact of the matter is you are in control of your life and no one else can make you happy if you don't put yourself in a place that makes you happy first. A year of making minimum wage and eating ramen three meals a day really isn't all that bad when you're skiing 100 days a year and dropping into waist deep powder with your new crew while your friends are back home slaving away. As much as your family will pretend they want to disown you and as much as they try to shame you into staying, they'll always be there for you in the end. Everyone will realize that if you have come to the conclusion you need to move 3,000 miles away from home on your own to pursue a passion and live your dream then they can't stop you. No parent wants to watch their child sit around and follow a path they don't enjoy and your friends will be inspired that you're exploring the world. There are plenty of ways around college loans as well. If you call your loan providers they will gladly work with you to restructure your loans around the income that you are making, they usually don't care how much money they're getting back at a time as long as they're getting something.
Tahoe Donner, California - Photographer: Olof Carmel
The pressure to attend college and graduate with a degree that will lead to a successful life is another inhibitor for some of us looking to chase powder and live the ski bum life. For those that have recently graduated the decision should be easy to give yourself one more year of partying and living it up. Ride the high and take the chance to move somewhere new while you still can. For others struggling to finish college taking some time off may actually help you in the long run. Twelve years of school is enough to burn anyone out, tack on a few more years along with the pressure to decide your career path at a young age and it's easy to see how one can stress over what to do next in life. A year in a new environment is a great way to switch things up by taking part in foreign adventures that could open your eyes to a career path you previously hadn't considered.
Most people don't realize that living in a ski town means more than just skiing all year, there are still three more seasons for you to try something new. The off season is a great time get your feet wet and try mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing, backpacking and tons of other activities that you'd never imagine yourself doing. When you finally get settled in your new town and you become comfortable with your location you can venture out beyond the hill and explore the region you've placed yourself in. Many areas that are home to ski resorts are also home to other glorified outdoor destinations, Colorado has endless rapids and rivers to try your hand at. Just around the corner from some of the legendary ski resorts in Tahoe world class climbers scale massive peaks on their days off. There is always a National or State Park to check out or a new trail to hike, the possibilities are endless and who knows what you may find a passion for.
Katie Hitchcock Jibbin' over Jackson, Wyoming - Photographer: Cy Whitling
Significant changes in life, such as a big move, are never a bad way for us to develop new skills and raise our awareness of other cultures. You take the unique attributes from your new setting and they provide you with a better understanding of how people live in a different environment than one you are normally accustomed too. Our country was built on a collection of cultures that was spread by the explorations of our ancestors and in a day in age where advancements in travel and technology are at an all time high there is no excuse not to utilize the tools at hand and uproot your life to follow a mountain town dream. From Whistler, British Columbia to Lincoln, New Hampshire to Taos, New Mexico the destination is yours for the choosing, when all is said and done you can look back and share the memories of your journey with anyone willing to listen and learn from it.