Posts Tagged ‘jackson hole’

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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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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Where to start…

Living in Jackson this winter has been way different than the picture I had in my head when Amy and I were sitting around our living room in Seattle talking about moving here. Amy had lived here before, so she figured it would be the same kind of experience as last time, only without the nagging throb of a long distance relationship. I had visited a few times, and figured it would be pretty similar — hanging out and skiing with the same friends, maybe getting out into the backcountry with them for the first time — lots of expectations.

When we finally got here, the gulf between what we anticipated and what actually was… was tremendous. Getting a job was a total joke, the friends we thought we were going to hang out with didn’t call (or call back), and to top it all off, there was nothing but man-made snow at the resort when the season started. For a while at the beginning of the season, even after we both had jobs and passes, we were annoyed with the whole Jackson scene, and wanted to leave as quickly as possible. But things slowly started to change.

It wasn’t as if everything changed “all of the sudden,” but slowly, we both started meeting people and making connections. Amy met some new friends at a girl’s night that was held somewhere off of the Village Road. She met up with a couple of them days later at the village and we all rode together. Because I was in the terrain park almost every day, I met a couple of guys that rode park as often as I did, and we hit the bigger park together when that opened too. As time went on, Jackson started to feel more like a place where I had friends, rather than a place where I was still a total tourist.

There’s something cool about heading out to the resort and running into a bunch of people that you know — that type of thing hasn’t ever happened to me in Washington, that’s for sure. That isn’t to say that every time you see a friend, you end up riding with them — I probably rode 60+ days with nobody but me, myself, and my headphones — but it’s cool even to just say hey to people. And those friends we made early in the season ended up taking us out of bounds to some of the coolest places we had ever been — Granite Canyon, Cody Peak, Four Pines, The Claw, and lots of other places.

I’m sure when anybody picks up and moves their entire life to a far away place, it takes a while to start feeling less like an outsider and more like a native. For us, it took almost an entire winter season. but now that we’re established, the prospect of staying for the summer and another winter seems a lot more inviting.

This is an edit of the year’s riding. I know there are a lot of shots of just me in it, but that’s because it’s hard to shoot video with a point-and-shoot camera, especially with the lens facing downhill (ie: into the imminent spray of snow). The players are:

Matt: From Massachusetts, was a JH liftie, best skier I’ve ever seen ski without any poles.

Katie: From Colorado, worked at Nick Wilson’s, surprisingly good skier despite being born with a horrible condition (ginger hair).

Andy: From Pennsylvania, worked at JH doing grooming, thought he could pull a double backflip this year but never got around to trying.

Conor: From Redmond, currently works for TGR, awesome spotter and even better skier.

Kevin: Probably born at Alpental, works at Teatro Zinzanni with Amy, brought some Washington vibes to Jackson at exactly the right time this year.

Russ: From the East Coast, briefly employed at Elevation Imaging, realized it sucked worse than any mountain job and got himself fired 2 days before the end of the season.

Trevor: From the East Coast, former Elevation Imaging employee, scammed his way into a permanent vacation from work while somehow keeping his pass. Props.

Watch it on the Vimeo site

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First 900 ever.

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It’s basically the exact same story that I have posted just below, but here’s a link to my article on yobeat.com

Czech it out.

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I took my camera to Snow King today, but I didn’t get a single shot of the action. We built a little wind-lip style jump and met some new people while we were out there, but because Amy was taking photos, I just sessioned the jump with everyone else. It was a good time, and some of the pictures turned out (at least I thought they did).


David BS 180

toby (with flash!).


Amy wasn’t exactly pleased with the results, though. Apparently she has a lot higher standards of excellence, and a total downpour isn’t the best condition for shooting. Also, I was too much of a wuss (and by that I mean I was, and am, seriously scared) to go really big — my ankle still hurts a lot, and the landing (well actually, the entire jump — run in, take off, and landing) is snow-gun product. Which, if you are familiar with snow-guns, means snow that looks like powder, with a heaping side of rock hard ice. And so it goes.

Still, a fun day.

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I’ve been waking up at three or four in the morning recently, with thoughts of not having a job until late December or (God forbid) not having one at all and simply running out of money. There’s something about that partially-conscious state of mind that you’re in while you’re trying to get back to sleep that’s particularly conducive to horrible thoughts. So I’ve started getting up and working on YoBeat.com doing intern duties. I’m sure having done a good job with them will pay dividends in the future.

I have gone in for two interviews so far, both ended in tears. The first was at the photo place that Amy will be working for this winter, no-call. The second was at a bar that was hiring bartenders, and I did get a call back, but it was to tell me that I didn’t get the position. Still, that’s better than not knowing.

I headed over to the resort that’s in East Jackson — Snow King is what it’s called. They are hiring a few people for snowmaker staff, and apparently for bartender as well. Now, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience, it’s to not put more than one egg in any given basket, much less all of them in the same one. I’m hopeful for that, but I’m going to be making the rounds back through town in case anyone else is hiring at the moment.

Wish me luck.

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