How To Be A Ski Bum

by Frank V. Persall

For any ski enthusiast with no long-term plans for the foreseeable future, being a ski bum is an incredibly attractive opportunity. Many people enjoy giving up on the traditional way of living for a while to reap the benefits of working low-wage ski resort jobs that allow them to use the slopes, most often for free.

You can become a ski bum by first saving up some money or securing a job with free slope benefits at a ski-resort. Once you have that money or job, it's time to work out other necessary expenses (season skiing passes, rent, food, etc.) This sounds somewhat simple, but there's more to the question.

How To Be A Ski Bum

If you've been searching for a practical guide on how to be a ski bum, you've come to the right place. Let's dive into all the details about becoming a ski bum so you can live the ski bum life of your dreams.

How To Be A Ski Bum
How To Be A Ski Bum

Step 1: Choose Your Location Carefully

Image Of A Map
Image Of A Map
Image-of-a-map-1024x576.png

The first step in becoming a ski bummer is to choose the perfect location you'd like to live and work in. Are you attracted to the dry slopes of Bachelor mountain, Oregon? Or do you like the vast mountains and steep hills of Utah? Do you have friends in the area already? Have you visited the area to ski before/are you familiar with it?

These are questions you'll want to ask yourself when considering your priorities for a place to live.

Not only that, but it's especially important to choose extra carefully because this won't just be a place where you live. You will live, eat, work, and play wherever you choose, so you better make sure it's a place you enjoy being lest your entire ski bum lifestyle falls through.

Now that you've chosen your location, it's time to look for work.

Step 2: Either Apply for Jobs at Ski Resorts that Include Free Slope Benefits, or Have Some Money Saved Up

Ski Resort Job
Ski Resort Job

If you didn't plan ahead of time and don't have enough money to pay for season slope passes, getting a job at a resort that includes benefits that allow you to use the slopes for free while you're employed is your only other choice.

Research the best ski resorts to work at in the area you've chosen, and pay close attention to employee reviews of the establishment to avoid a potential horror story.

For best results, try and contact people online who have lived the ski bum life while working at a resort you're looking at so that you can get a perspective from someone who did exactly what you're trying to do.

Step 3: Purchase Season Slope Passes (ASAP)

Ski Passes
Ski Passes
Ski Passes

If you aren't getting a job at a ski resort, you'll want to use some of the money you saved up to purchase your slope passes. Do NOT wait on this very important step, prices for ski slope season passes increase in the summer months, and get more expensive and hard to find as time goes on.

For the best results, you should purchase your passes as soon as you've picked your location. Don't wait until the last minute.

Step 4: Find Your Housing (ASAP)

Housing In Ski Areas
Housing In Ski Areas
Housing In Ski Areas

This is another time-sensitive step you can't afford to wait on (pun intended.) Housing in ski areas is already quite expensive, but as time passes, it can be very difficult to find.

As a ski bum, you're not going to have enough money to live on your own unless you got your hands on some sort of inheritance. Instead, look for housing with some roommates (preferably other ski bums you can hang out with.)

There are Facebook groups to help people find roommates in pretty much every significant skiing area, and you can also view ads on Craigslist for people searching for roommates.

Step 5: Live Frugally. Like, REALLY Frugally.

Skiing Budget
Skiing Budget
Skiing Budget

Now that your living/work/season pass situation has been organized, it's time to cut out any unnecessary expenses. You're either working a low-wage job or don't have a job at all, so if you want to get the most time out of your ski bum life, you'll want to cut out non-essentials.

Keep your budget to essentials like food, utilities, rent, and skiing-related expenses only (yes, this might mean cutting back on some alcohol.)

Ski Bum Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we've explored a how-to guide on ski bumming, let's examine some frequently asked questions related to this topic so you can walk away from this article as informed as possible.

What is a Ski Bum?

A ski bum is a person who either works a low-wage job or saved up money and is unemployed, and spends the majority of their time skiing during peak seasons.

How Much Do You Get Paid to Work at a Ski Resort?

Working at a ski resort is a low-wage, paid-by-the-hour job for most. Depending on the resort, you can expect to make anywhere from $10-$20 an hour, but most people see around $10-$11. If you're interested in making more, try working at only the most high-end resorts.

What are the Best Ski Season Jobs?

There are several great jobs you can secure in the ski industry, most being different types of positions at ski resorts. You could be a:

  • Ski/snowboard salesperson
  • Ski/snowboard technician
  • Ski/snowboard instructor
  • Ski resort manager

How Much Does it Cost to be a Ski Bum?

If you can find low-cost housing with roommates, keep your expenses to the necessities only, and grocery shop quite frugally, you can live relatively comfortably for around $1000-$1500 a month. Calculate your total using that figure for however long you plan to ski bum for.

In Summary

Becoming a ski bum isn't as difficult as you might think, provided you can get a job at a ski resort that includes benefits or have enough money saved up to get you through a season. Choose your location and living situation carefully to cut down on expenses, and enjoy the season of a lifetime!

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About Frank V. Persall

Originally from the UK, Frank has a passion for skiing and anything snow related. He is currently on a never ending mission to visit the best ski resorts across the USA and the the World. Frank is happiest when he is on ski slopes with his wife and three children.

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