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Yea living in a ski town is awesome, but there are some definite downsides.

First off, this is the only mountain I’ve ever lived at, so I can’t really speak to what it would be like to live in other places like Colorado, Utah, etc. I can say that beer in Utah is shitty though.

Jackson is interesting. “Jackson Hole” is the geographical area in which the town of Jackson, the airport, the mountain resort, and a few other random little towns reside. I always thought people were trying to be cool and abbreviate the name of where they live, but the town is actually just called Jackson. Also, the words “town” and “village” here are not synonymous – “Town” refers to the town of Jackson, and “Village” refers to Teton Village, which is the base area for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Just something to know beforehand to avoid any confusion.

JH Mountain Resort employs a few hundred people, but those jobs are pretty hard to come by — after about 2007-08, people at the resort started hanging onto those jobs for a lot longer because it’s kind of hard to find work doing anything else around here. Every year in August (I think) they have a job fair (you can check out the details on their website) that several hundred people attend, each hoping for one of the probably only 50-60 jobs that are actually available. Those range from front and back-of-the-house restaurant work to liftie jobs and everything in between, and experience always helps. Your other options are a) find a service industry position somewhere in town or the village (don’t bother trying to get a bartending gig, those are reserved for people who know people), or b) get lucky and find some random job other than working for the resort or in a restaurant. That’s the work situation.

Housing is pretty straightforward: get here at the end of the “off-season.” The off-season is the time between summer and winter when everybody moves away or leaves town to go do something cooler than sit here and watch it rain. At that time, housing is pretty easy to come by, but if you happen to show up anytime later than Nov 1, you’ll probably be living in a cheap motel for the winter – places get snapped up pretty quickly around here. Check out the Jackson Hole Radio Classifieds (online) or the Jackson Hole Daily classifieds (dunno if they’re online or not, but if they are it’s a good resource) for the going rates around here.

There are two other resorts around here where you could potentially work as well: Snow King and Grand Targhee. Snow King is a sad little hill that’s actually right on the edge of town. I say “sad” not because it’s only got a couple of little chairlifts, but because the word on the street is that if they don’t find an investor before next season, they’re declaring bankruptcy and shutting down. On the flip side, their hotel is pretty nice for how cheap the rates are, and that bit of their operation will undoubtedly stay open, regardless of what the resort does next year, so you working there is an option.

Targhee is the other option – it’s a ski resort in “Wydaho,” which means that while the resort is actually in Wyoming (just barely), you have to drive through Idaho to get there, and I’d guess 99% of the people who work there also live in Idaho. Their resort has a little bit more laid back feel to it compared to Jackson – there aren’t as many crazy “aggro” skiers over there – but the terrain is a bit of a let-down if you’ve started to take Jackson’s terrain for granted. Now that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with Targhee or Idaho, but the closest towns are (in order) Alta, Driggs, Tetonia, and Victor, and I’d estimate their combined population is still less than Jackson’s. Jackson is a small enough town as it is, so if you decide to live over on the other side in Idaho, you’re in for a little bit more of a rural lifestyle. Especially if you’re coming from Seattle (or any big city), I would probably not recommend this unless it’s something you know you’re into.

Other than that I’d just say to get ready, because everything you bought on a regular basis when you were living in Seattle is more expensive here, rent is usually more expensive, jobs pay a lot less, and things can get difficult. Also, if you *don’t* get a job at the mountain and you do want to ski/snowboard all winter, you’ll probably want to buy a season pass, which cost $1250 last year if you bought it in August, and $1500 normally.

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Complaining. Again.

It’s like this with pretty much everything, I’m starting to realize. When things are going really well, there isn’t much to talk about, so nobody knows that everything’s great. But when things go south, obviously that’s when people start to complain, so that’s when you hear about someone’s car being a piece of shit, or the neighbors that are too loud — whatever. The point is those things probably aren’t always bad, but when they are bad, that’s when they get the most publicity. And a story about someone’s dog NOT having diarrhea on the couch is generally less funny than the opposite (as long as you weren’t involved in the cleanup).

So my pseudo-point with that introduction is that my life isn’t really awful at all, but once I compile a long enough list of things to complain about I make a blog post. Then again, this is the internet, which means I definitely don’t have to explain why I’m complaining about random things on my own blog.

1. Cold water. I guess this is a retarded thing to complain about, but the back story here is that Jackson is cold during the winter, therefore the pipes in the crawlspace that carry the water from place to place are a) almost always cold, and b) have to warm up to some kind of room-temperature-ish operating temp before they’re going to deliver anything resembling hot water to your tap/tub/whatever. That means your hot tap runs cold for probably a full 60 seconds before it even gets warm. Don’t think that sounds like a log time? Go count to 5,000. That’s how long it takes.*

(*this statement is false.)

2. Loud people on the bus. In the winter the bus here runs directly from town to the Village (that means from Jackson the town, to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort), and taking that is way easier than driving. It’s almost impossible to ever ride the bus anywhere without running into someone you know/know of/saw at a bar one time, so just in case it’s still too early and you don’t want to make forced conversation all the way to the resort, you’ll have your headphones in BEFORE you get on the bus. What boggles the mind is that some people are capable of talking so loudly that they cut straight through your headphone’s ability to cancel noise. I’ve always been under the impression that common courtesy dictates that people try to avoid talking on the phone, playing your headphones too loudly and above all, KEEP YOUR VOICE DOWN when you’re on the bus. However, this seems to be a highly inaccurate assumption.

3. Being forgetful. I can literally meet someone and instantly forget their name. I can know someone for months and still randomly forget their name. Of course everyone always says, “oh you should just repeat it to yourself, put it in a sentence for yourself immediately, try to think of someone else you know with the same name,” bla bla bla. I can’t think of one time any of those exercises have positively impacted my ability to remember anything. And while it’s not all that uncommon to casually mention that you’re “bad with names” while meeting someone for the first time, a more accurate statement would be, “there’s no fucking way I will remember your name after hearing it just once.” And that’s not the best way to make a first impression.

4. Leftovers. Dunno why, something about a heaping melange of free-form glop in a condensation-filled plastic container just doesn’t flip any switches for me. Plus have you ever had to eat leftover Kraft mac-n-cheese? If you didn’t know it was nuclear waste before, you will figure it out quickly.

5. The iPad. Yes, I do have one. I didn’t steal it, but I also didn’t pay for it, so I am free to be critical of it. And to me, it’s nothing more than an ostentatious way of telling people you can and do choose to buy titanically pointless electronic crap. I’ve seen some nice examples of it being used to help disabled kids communicate, so in the “accessibility” sense I can admit that it does have some merit. But for the rest of the people that bought one… wtf? This guy on a plane ride next to me had his out and was reading a book on it, and he was actually LICKING HIS FINGERS when he turned the pages. There was also the douche-bag that brought his out at a crowded bar on a Saturday night — these are the people that buy iPads. It’s not a segment of the population that you should want to identify with.

6. Repetitive TV Shows. I actually hate them BECAUSE I like them so much. This particular sub-heading could be a detailed look into why each of these shows is highly repetitive, but I’ll spare you. The point is though, if you are able to obtain (read: download) all of the available series(es?) and watch them in marathon-style sequential order, you’ll agree with me. Here’s the list:
Top Gear. Highly predictable, yet highly entertaining British motoring show.
Lie to Me. Kind of a crappy Fox drama, but it’s still entertaining.
House. Sorry, it’s predictable as hell. But still entertaining.
…this brings me to something else…

7. Obvious Social Errors in Cinema. The MOST obvious of these is the way people interact during cell phone conversations; sometimes, it’s almost like the writers don’t think the people watching the screen have ever used a cell phone before. Don’t you usually go through the “hey what’s up” stage of the conversation for the first like, 5-10 seconds? And when you’re getting off the phone, don’t you usually have to say “bye,” or something, ANYTHING, that indicates that the conversation is coming to an end? I understand that certain measures are taken to keep the length of features down to a manageable level, but I wonder if it wouldn’t help the believability of the film to just have that extra five seconds of dialogue that will make the phone conversation sound more realistic.

8. Apartment Managers/Landlords. With a few notable exceptions, most of the landlords or managers I’ve interacted with have been totally inept. Think about it: the job of the apartment manager is just that — another job. It’s a little more attractive than most jobs, being that it potentially offers free or reduced rent rates, but with that benefit comes the RESPONSIBILITY to MANAGE your apartment building. One of our former apt managers had the unit above us, and it was the only hardwood-floored unit. And he wore heeled shoes at all times. I talked with him about it more than a few times, and he was always apologetic for the moment, but then would go right back to his closet full of cowboy boots or whatever the fuck he was wearing all the time. And landlords…? I wonder what percentage of landlords that own and operate properties ever actually wanted to be landlords. My guess is that it’s more something that you just end up doing because you have the opportunity, not because you give a shit about keeping your extra properties nice. It’s about the laziest way to make a living I can think of. Fuck, I need to be a landlord.

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This winter was great in a lot of ways. One way that it WASN’T great was all the hate vibes and unbelievable bullshit that Jackson Hole snowboarders take from the local skiers. Being from Washington, I thought the world had long since evolved past the retarded skier/snowboarder schism. But seriously, not even the ski patrolers here can rise above.

If you fucks would just leave us alone, there would be peace in the galaxy. All season, I just listened quietly to the passive-aggressive quips and comments on bootpacks, in lift lines, and on tram boxes. It’s easy to just play it cool from behind my mirrored goggle lenses, but now I have the power and anonymity of the internet on my side, so I’m done putting up with that crap. You skiers that just can’t grow up and let it die — you’ve had it coming for a while now, so sit back and enjoy.

If you aren’t a snowboarder, you will more than likely be offended by this post. I make no apologies.

1. Early morning passholes: These are the people who own the cars that are already choking the Teton Pass parking lot at 5:30 am. On top of that, they have this elitist fuckwad attitude about anyone else who’s on the bootpack at the same time that isn’t charging up the hill as fast as they are. If you (a normal person) happen to be hiking up the bootpack in the pre-dawn light, you can easily identify these people when two events happen in rapid succession: 1) You turn around and look down the bootpack without seeing a soul behind you. Then, 2) 60 seconds later you are overwhelmed by the smell of unadulterated body odor, so you turn around and there’s a tele skier sighing loudly while goose-stepping on the back of your heels like flies on shit. Check that box, you found one. That’s right, you know who you are. You’re the ones that cut in the “giants only” bootpack steps on powder days. Go get bent. Then get some help.

2. Flunkie Pass Aggros: Almost as bad as “real” passholes, these are the guys that are clogging the parking lot after you’re done with your run, circling like vultures above the dead carcass that is your parking spot. They couldn’t be bothered to drag themselves out of bed even just an hour earlier so that they could get a place to park, but now it’s 10 o’clock or so, they’ve made it up to the pass, and you better believe it’s your job to give them what they want. After all, you should be pandering to their every pompous whim now that they’ve been waiting for 5 minutes for a spot. God fucking forbid that you would cause them to have to wait EVEN LONGER then 5 minutes as you take off your sweaty layers. A word to you jackasses: I was thinking about taking another lap, and now that I’m back at the parking lot, I’m definitely going to. HAAAAAhahaha.

3. Skiers wearing Burton AK stuff (or any snowboard brand):
Seriously? Run your mouth about how snowboarding is gay, while supporting our industry? You simple-minded fucks. You all KNOW that snowboarding is the best thing that ever happened to skiing. Practically every breakthrough technology in the last ten years of so-called “skiing innovation” has been stolen directly from snowboarding tech. So show some respect and kiss the motherfucking ground when we walk by get your own clothing style.

4. Bro-Down Highschool Skiers:
It’s bad enough that you’re wearing snowboarding clothes. Don’t even get me started on the tall-tee motherfuckers, they look like a circus side show. But the weekends and “school’s out!” breaks means you better brace yourself, because it’s gonna be a goddamn debacle at the Village. You swarm the runs like parasites, blatantly putting lives at risk, ignoring the existence of other people, not giving a rat’s ass about anyone whose neon jacket you don’t recognize. The worst is the powder days when your whole hoard attacks the upper mountain, testing your rubber bones off of anything you can find to flail off of. Please understand that no matter how big of a cliff you huck, it doesn’t amount to dick if you can’t do anything but ass-plant the landing. Just thought I’d clarify, because it seems like most of you are confused about that. Wow, that brings me to something else…

5. Ski Videos: Lets get one thing out in the open: skiers ass plant landings in videos over 50% of the time. It’s just a fact. That’s why people have even heard of butt-fucks like Jaime Pierre — they jump off of tall things and land on their asses on purpose. It might take balls to butt-drop off of something big, but it sure as shit doesn’t take talent. Check out this year’s crop of snowboarding videos: you’ll see riders landing big drops and riding away clean. You know why? If a snowboard doesn’t land his drop, the shot simply doesn’t make it into the film. Ever. It’s just a little thing called “competence” that snowboard pros tend to possess. I think the only skier I actually can watch without wanting to gouge my eyes out with rusty forks is Ian McIntosh. You know why? Because he actually lands his drops. If you didn’t land it, you can’t claim it. Going huge with the knowledge that you’re just going to ass-plant the is such a skier M.O. Total fail.

6. Old-Money JH Skiers: You’re like a virus that does it’s best to sap the stoke out of every snowboarder you come across. You’re not even overtly aggressive towards snowboarders; it’s actually the asinine little off-handed comments made in the lift line, or passive-aggressive shit that you say as you slowly pass a snowboarder on a traverse. Yea, you’re right, it is fucking slower to ride this traverse on a snowboard. Did you think up that witty little remark yourself? Of course you didn’t, because you’ve never thought up anything. Well, nothing except for, “Boy, it’s such a disgrace how times have changed.” And yea, I bet it used to be so great in the old days before “snowboarding happened.” When you see a snowboarder, the best thing you could do is to look the other way. I’d rather have you deny my existence then have you open your mouth and prove that you’re a moron. Nothing you have to say is worth hearing.

7. Broboarders.
You bunch of ass clowns are the reason skiers fuck with us in the first place. Figure it out: there are ways to get down the mountain without inciting the wrath of the snowboard-hatred leviathan. I understand keeping speed to get through the flats, but lets keep the passing speed down around mach 1 if at all possible. You’re not going to impress the family of gapers on the traverse when you nuke by them, I promise. Get a life, get rid of the reservoir-tip beanie, pull up your fucking ragged-ass pants, and stop trying to act like you know about shit. You don’t.

Jackson is probably the worst place in the world to try and “fit in” to the Village ski scene as a snowboarder. It’s impossible to escape the reality that this is a skier’s town and a skier’s mountain. But you eventually learn to shut out the persistent bitching of the self-important skier fucks that feed the pointless animosity in the first place. Once in a while, though, it’s nice to retaliate.

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Taxes

I’m getting a really huge tax return this year. I’m stoked.

Now I can pay off the rest of my medical bills and get a huge chunk taken out of the rest of my credit card debt! 😀

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Better Days

I had a pretty miserable blog post that I put up for a few hours on December 5th, but then I took it down when I gave my blog’s web address to a potential employer. Somehow I didn’t think that a woe-is-me post would bode well for my employment chances.

Well, turns out I wasn’t too far from right. So now that post isn’t up, and this one is. Which can only mean one thing…

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Jackson Hole Opening Day

With an annual average of 459 inches of Wyoming champagne powder, Jackson has always been a safe bet. Right on cue, a huge snowstorm dropped over a foot of powder on the upper regions of the Teton range in October. People were already skinning up nearby Targhee in September. The stage was set for one of the best winter seasons ever.

And then, the unthinkable. It just kept happening.

Or, more accurately, not happening. There were zero recorded inches of precipitation in November. The resorts couldn’t run snow makers for a while, because it was too warm. Our prayers for snow had fallen on deaf ears. Might be nice for late-season mountain bikers, but that’s not what I moved here for.

So now, thanks to a phenomenon called global warming, the el Niño winter that was expected to ruin the Northwest’s winter — the winter I was running from — magically caused every ski area around Western Washington to open weeks earlier than expected. I sat helplessly and watched mid-November opening day coverage for Baker, Stevens Pass, Chrystal Mountain — the lot. And here I am in Wyoming, it’s the first of December and Snow King Resort, the butt of all jokes, might actually have more coverage than Jackson Hole.

On November 28, the first chair climbed over the glistening slopes of ice to the top of the Teewinot lift at JHMR. Beneath it, one depressing snake of man-made slithered up the hill to meet the chairlift. The situation on the next lift becomes even more grim — the Apres-Vous chair swoops over the sun-baked, snowless brush below, where wildlife continues to graze, un-bothered. Some advice for those who might be tempted: don’t come to Jackson, at least not yet.

One thing to remember is that Jackson gets most of its snowfall in December, January and February. In reality, the sad-looking thread of death ice winding its way up JHMR right now is exactly what opening day always looks like; it pretty much sucks. While that’s not really anything to celebrate, at least it’s tradition. And we know that by Christmas this place will look totally different.

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Yet another…

Days like today are rare in Washington, but they seem to be pretty commonplace here. The sun is out, and from inside your house it all looks balmy and warm, but when you step outside the cold bites into any exposed flesh like a knife. It’s the kind of cold that makes your inner ears hurt, turns the water in your bottle into slush; it’s not to be trifled with. Even so, I put on practically every riding garment I own and we headed out for a loop we’ve found southwest of town.

This was the second time we’ve ridden this particular route, but the first time we’d brought cameras. It might seem a bit daft to be riding around in what’s known as “full squid gear” only to be getting off your bike every so often to take pictures (btw full squid gear consists of practically all spandex. Don’t think about it too hard…). But sometimes you just can’t help yourself, so you’ll find the results below.

Glory and Tuck's

In Jackson, you have to get used to the effects that wind has on you as you ride around. It’s pretty much always blowing one way or the other, so you can be certain that some parts of your ride will be head-on into the icy blast. The really interesting part though, is riding along WITH the wind. As a cyclist, the noise of the wind blowing past you is just something you get used to — like a motorist being used to the sound of their car’s engine as they drive along — it’s just something that’s always there. So when I’m cruising at 18mph and the air around me is still, relative to MY direction of travel, it’s an eerie silence. It happened to me today, and even though I was moving pretty quickly, all I could hear was my tires, my chain, and my own breathing. Probably would be like the first time someone who was used to petrol powered autos drives a hybrid, and it’s silent at a stop light. Cool, and at the same time, a little bit weird.

Anyways, in the last half we dropped the cycles and took quite a few pictures. Well, I kind of got my camera out of my backpack while I was riding, just so I wouldn’t have to stop as much. I know, I’m so daring. All a part of my ongoing life skill training.

selfPortrait

You look...

Leftovers

A+

A few more photos on flickr, too.
Job hunt still flat-lining, btw. We might get an internship with a snowboarding site called YoBeat.com though, which would be sick. More on that if it materializes.

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