Ski Bum Economics

I’m not going to lie to you, this blog has been a long time coming.  I’ve pre-planned, planned, thought and over thought just about every detail.  And most of this planning and thinking centered around the topic of my first post.  Should I pen a post about trekking through the Grand Tetons?  Should I write about skiing the “Greatest Snow on Earth”  in Utah?  Or maybe share about backpacking through Europe?  Believe me, I’ll get to all these adventures, so stay tuned!  But it wasn’t until I read a recent editorial in Ski Press Magazine that I knew the subject of my first post. 

You see, over the past two months my life has been one big adventure.  I left a job most people would kill for, working with great people at the Spokane Regional CVB, to backpack through Europe.  After returning, unemployed and broke as a joke, I was offered and accepted a marketing/PR job at Solitude Mountain Resort in Salt Lake City, UT

Backpacking in Europe

What’s the catch?  First, I know all of two people in Salt Lake City.  Second, I was offered the job on a Wednesday and had to be in Salt Lake City on that Friday.  I had a whole day-and-a-half to pack up my life!

Word from the wise:  When you’re broke, rushed decisions are not your friend.  Paying to live in two different cities because you didn’t have time to find a subleaser is rough!

Right about now you might be thinking the same thing that a lot of people have.  You’re doing what?  Why?  What are you thinking?  You know the economy is in the pits right?  Is this a smart decision?  Believe me, I’ve heard it all.  And for the longest time I had a hard time explaining myself.  I knew what I was doing, but I couldn’t convey it to people in a way that made sense.  Until now.

Peter Kray, Editorial Director of Ski Press Magazine, wrote “Ski Bum Economics” (pg. 6) an editorial that everyone, and I mean everyone, should read.  Here are my favorite excerpts:

“When I graduated from college I moved to Jackson Hole and skied more than 600 days over four years.  I delivered pizzas and planted trees, and was out of work each mud season in the spring and fall.  But I always had enough money for a new pair of skis and a seasons pass, and there was never any shortage of beer.”

“Billy D, my roommate from that time, sent me an e-mail when the economic crisis was snowballing across the planet like the wreckage of a small moon that said, ‘I bet we could get back our old jobs.’ He’s an investment banker now.  But other than his wife, his kids and their impending college tuition, he says he thinks about those seasons we spent skiing more than anything else he ever did.”

“Which I think is the difference between making memories and making money.  No matter how hard you work to earn either, only memories consistently pay you back over the long haul.  That’s why, no matter what happens with the economy, I’m skiing as much as I can this year.  Because the dividends are guaranteed, and the (re)turns are unbeliveable.”

Wow.  So simple, yet so profound.  I’m not making much money right now, in fact, I might even have to get a second job.  But you know what?  That doesn’t bother me at all.  Because when it comes down to it, it’s the great times, people and adventures that I’ll remember, not how much money I made.

Hiking Mt. Olympus in the snow

So here’s to hiking Mt. Olympus (and finishing in a snowstorm), Bobby the Brewer, movies at Brewvies, top ramen lunches (and dinners), barely making rent, Thanksgiving with new friends, Solitude Mountain Resort, future epic powder days and the people I have yet to meet.  No amount of money could replace the great memories!

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2 thoughts on “Ski Bum Economics

  1. You inspire me!!!! And I’m serious… if you come back to Spokane you have to take me (and Marc) on some sort of adventure. I’m a rookie, but I am so ready to learn and explore!!!

    • johnsonjoe


      Thank you so much! It’s always good to hear sometime positive instead of the usual “what are you thinking?!” Whether I come back to Spokane or end up guiding trips somewhere else this summer, you and Mark are always welcome to come visit. I’d love to share an adventure with you guys!

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