One Season Does NOT a Ski Bum Make

Over the past several years, more and more visitors to Killington have explained to me that either they or one of their kids was a ski bum once.  This means that they spent an entire winter working somewhere in a ski resort town, either as a waitress, liftie, bus boy or even a ski instructor.  This "year off," both mentally and financially supported by the parents, is meant to expose the youth to the real world and convince them of the righteousness of the nine to five.  I am told stories about the horrors of living with 'burnouts' and the relief of getting skiing out of their system so they can return to graduate school or some other brainwashed profession.  These individuals cannot cope with the lack of financial security, running quickly home to their parents and the materialistic American lifestyle to which they have grown accustomed.

Female Ski Bum-in-Training
The Summit Lodge, Killington, Vermont
These seasonal workers never were, are not and will never be ski bums.  The ski bum lifestyle is not something that you can get out of your system in a single season.  It is a way of life that penetrates every breathe and thought that occurs, no matter the season.  A true ski bum could never blow off the mountains after a year of selling tickets or working as a liftie.  A real ski bum would quit that job halfway through the season because they didn't have the days off to go skiing!  The true ski bum doesn't care what kind of people live in the town, what kind of restaurants are available or if there is an acceptable theater district in the area - they care whether the mountain can sustain them for an entire lifetime of skiing and riding!

Being a ski bum is NOT easy.  You try balancing your budget when you can't work days while the mountain is open for skiing.  Sometimes I struggle to pay my heating bill, but that's why I have a -20 degree down sleeping bag.  I work nights as a waitress and bartender at the Birch Ridge Inn because the owners and the chef understand why I am here.  In fact, five years ago I went to my interview straight from the mountain with my snow pants on.  Winter weekends are spent coaching the Killington Hopefuls, so that I can ski while most locals are blacked out.   In fact, I have been told that when I don't get to ski, I am a real bitch.   I can't spend my money on late nights in the bar, expensive vacations or a closet full of clothes.  After paying my mortgage, my first priority is to make sure that I have all the necessary gear for the upcoming season.  Life is not about holding down some 40 hour a week job so that you can make your retirement dreams come true.

Skiing is Life, and you just work around it  :)


  1. You really look like your mother in that picture :)

  2. wow! I hadn't really noticed, but you're so right. I think that we're about the same age, too!


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