Waiting for Winter – Working at Park City Mountain Resort

A few years ago I read a blog post from some random woman about taking up the life of a ski bum for a couple months. The idea has tumbled around my brain for a while despite my extreme fear of the cold; just hanging out and doing nothing but snowboarding. Finding myself without much direction after returning to the U.S., I decided might as well be now.

ski chair lift, park city, autumn

Finding a Job

I didn’t put too much effort forth on the application, but that didn’t seem to bother anyone and I’ve already started working at Park City Mountain Resort as a bilingual Travel Planner. Getting a seasonal job here isn’t difficult; everyone is hiring and people are coming from everywhere to fill those positions. Dozens of students from across South America, crazy Kiwis, and more.

This year the city is in for changes, Vail Resorts recently swooped in to buy up Park City, combining it with Canyons to make one large resort with 7,300 acres of skiable terrain. All you need to do is hop onto the Vail Resorts website to apply or walk into any restaurant.

park city barn, park city farm, mcpolin farm

Housing

Turns out the most difficult part of the whole ski bum thing is finding housing because there is almost none to be had here in Park City. Or as a clarification, there is no affordable housing here for people working seasonal jobs. The irony of the situation is bitter. Plenty of multi-million dollar homes and hot-tub filled condos dot the hills, many of them empty for large chunks of the year, and more are springing up everyday.

Before accepting the job I asked about the housing situation and the people who interviewed me said it would be easy. LIES. LIES. LIES. For nearly two months I was looking for housing, trying in vain to get a couple groups together and failing completely.

I was fortunate enough to have the couchsurfing community/family to lean on and by some miracle I was able to find a host who let me (and my cat) hang out at his house for three weeks while I continued my hunt. At first I had naively thought I could find a room in a house for $400 or something — this is Utah, not Los Angeles or New York City, right. That budget crept up every day, eventually landing at $900 for which I secured a studio with all utilities included. I love the place, BUT I stretched my original budget big-time and I’m fortunate enough to be able to do so… I don’t know what other people are doing. From what I’ve heard it’s not uncommon for people to squeeze into rooms or sleep in their cars — I even had some lady ask me if I could just throw mattresses down and put 5 South American girls in the same room when I was trying to get a house together.

On the bright side, the deplorable housing situation has sparked the opportunity to explore this subject via short documentary… so maybe I’ll get something out of it and maybe make some difference.

park city, historic main street

Working & Waiting for Winter

So now I’m working at Park City Mountain Resort, but I’m not terribly serious about it. Here everyone is just praying for snow, the city in a month-long lull between the end of the summer season and the winter madness.

I miss the beach and Brazil, but Utah, admittedly, is gorgeous. The mountains have erupted into gold and the leaves are flying everywhere. I’ve had a few fun adventures and hiking, but the crappy thing about work is you actually have to go to it.

It’s kind of hilarious, actually. I’m working in an office, on a computer, on the phone. For now it’s not bad, but honestly, I don’t know how people can keep it up for more than a few months and I certainly don’t intend to do more than just that. To stop myself from going crazy I spend my free time at work doing freelance writing (double pay, yes!), exploring random online classes, and practicing Farsi (still planning on going to Iran in the next 5 years).

The idea is to come up with some cool video projects to do here and I’ve already found a few snowboard instructors to follow around and a travel subjects I’d like to explore.

And I am, of course, formulating plans for more global galavanting… and trying to see more moose!

young moose, park city

It was too dark to take a good picture, but hopefully I’ll see more

 

 

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