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Old 01-18-2011, 01:17 PM
52 posts, read 106,330 times
Reputation: 129


I am a 20 year old college student at Colorado State University (CSU) originally from Nashville, Tennessee. To make a long story short at the end of my freshman year at Tennessee Tech in May 2009 I packed up my stuff and moved out to Winter Park, CO with the intention of making Colorado my permanent home.

I spent my first summer in Colorado (Summer 2009) in Winter Park working the lifts and alpine slide as the typical "ski bum" and after the summer tourist season wrapped up spent the following winter ('09-'10) as a Rental Technician at Arapahoe Basin "The Legend" in Summit County, Colorado. My first year of living as a ski bum in Colorado was a means to an end and was used to establish residency in Colorado before enrolling at CSU to finish my college education. Now I am working 30-35 hours a week and taking a 15 credit course load finishing up my sophomore year of college.

I will be in Fort Collins for at least the next 2 1/2 years as I finish up my college education with an expected graduation date of May 2013. My degree will be in Computer Information Systems. As such, I would like to start looking at avenues that will allow me to return to Summit County except this time as a working professional in the computer industry, possibly for one of the resorts like Keystone or Copper Mountain. I am looking for any possible advice on what I can start doing now to make this happen about 2-3 years from now.

I am very familiar with the high cost of living, high demand for year-time positions in Summit, as well as the seasonal influx of workers during the summer and winter as I experienced all of these things first hand during my time working as one.

Thanks in advance in your replies to my inquiry!
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:02 PM
9,816 posts, read 19,014,998 times
Reputation: 7537
I don't see that there is much you can do as things can change plenty in just 3 years. Wouldn't worry about it till you get to your last year in college.

Keep in mind that Summit County isn't really that big or has much industry once you strip away tourists. I would say IT opportunities would be very limited or nonexistent. And what opportunities that do exist are already filled by people with far more experience. This is a place where you find Ph.D's and Masters degree people working low end jobs just to be there.

Also remember the once big employer that would require such services, Vail Resorts, has moved almost all of their operations that are behind the scenes down to Denver.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:00 PM
2,253 posts, read 5,834,746 times
Reputation: 2615
Wink As it will

Congrats on being an A-Basin alumni. That means something to me, surely all the more yourself, and more than a few others around Summit County. An old school type of place, with a small but primo location.

As for work, well, when I worked there years ago I just showed up out of nowhere in the fall and got a job. Presumably things are a little more organized in this day and age, but my recommendation would still be much the same. Despite what anybody might say to the contrary, business is still run on relationships. With that in mind, I'd head up to Summit County at the next opportunity and freshen up old contacts, and make new ones. Tell them what you want to do, and ask for advice on how best to get there. Perhaps there are a few adjustments you could make in school, something learned that they might value. Chances are you can expect a lot of rejection, reality checks, and 'no.' Never mind, if you are serious then the thing is to be persistent. Polite, and not under their feet, but in time the realization will set in that you are not going anywhere, will in fact be living there (somehow) in short order, and are serious about becoming a member of the team.

I know little about IT, or to what degree your skill in that will be in demand in Summit County. You may find, as many college graduates have, that your occupation bears only a passing resemblance to your degree. If you love the job, and location, it doesn't matter. None of this is meant to imply, either, that such an enterprise will not prove a challenge. Colorado's economy is as depressed as this nation's, with the next few decades probably far more difficult than the illusion of many in their hopes. That does not bode well for a recreational based economy, which at basis is discretionary, not as vital as food on the table. Then also, as you probably also know by now, Summit County is a desirable and expensive place, with always the challenge of that and prices to be paid.

But if wishing to live there as much then you would also understand the many positives, and how worth it to call such a place home. My suggestion, begin doing so now, bit by bit. In time the realization may come that you essentially already are, but waiting to finish up at CSU and tie up a few loose ends.

You've come as far already in even being in Colorado, which is no small thing. In this next as well: will it.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:42 AM
168 posts, read 323,547 times
Reputation: 138
Skifreak, I'd suggest you get up there as often as you can, meet as many local business people as you can - as soon as you can, maybe volunteer or intern in a non profit/local business (even in the summer).....

It's impossible to predict next year, let alone a couple of years from now...but you will have a head start if people are familiar with you and your work ethic, and have enough "local history" before that eventual move up there.....that works both ways, not only will people get to know your good sides but any other sides, and word gets around within the business' in such a small area; so keep that in mind.....and you may have to achieve that by doing "non computer work"/whatever's available, just to get yourself established at first....

Good luck
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:22 PM
Location: Estes Park
68 posts, read 262,898 times
Reputation: 61
Agreed with the above posters; at least here in Estes Park, there's been businesses trying to find local support for web development and web presence management. It's very important for them to find a partner in town, for all the familiar reasons.

I've found out about all these opportunities -- for which, though I work in digital identity research, I'm woefully unqualified -- by being a local and talking to a lot of people. But there's nowhere good in town to refer them, and I suspect it's not too different across the Divide.

Focus on web development and enterprise computer support for small businesses (think local hotels and health care profiting off the skiers and their injuries) and hustle your ass off and I think you've actually got a decent chance. It won't be fun, exciting, or innovative, but you get your fun, exciting, and innovative out in the hills.

You've got a reasonable chance of making it work.
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:15 PM
52 posts, read 106,330 times
Reputation: 129
Thank you so much for all of the constructive comments, they are greatly appreciated. I am beginning to learn Java and C++, and beginning to look into what IT related skills are in demand in Summit, my eventual goal.
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