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Posts Tagged ‘living in 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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