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Old 09-18-2009, 09:28 AM
 
3 posts, read 4,674 times
Reputation: 10

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Let me start off by telling a little about my situation and hopefully someone will be able to help.

I'm graduating this December from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Public Relations/Business and I want to move to Colorado around mid-January. I've lived in Austin, TX my entire life and have only been able to snowboard once or twice a year. That's not nearly enough, if you ask me.

Ideally, I'd like to work on a mountain so that I can snowboard as much as possible, but I'm definitely open for other opportunities. I've checked out Aspen and I REALLY like what I see, but it also seems pretty expensive. I'm from a middle class family so I can't go blow tons of money on a place to live, but I'm also able to afford something decent.

I think where I need the most help is finding a starting location, and here's the criteria I'm looking for:
-Close to or in the mountains so that I can snowboard often.
-Not too expensive.
-Opportunities for work.
-Friendly people is always a plus!

Anything that you can contribute will be a huge help to me, as I'm pretty clueless about actually living in Colorado (or anywhere other than Texas, for that matter).

-Nick
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
1,312 posts, read 6,894,473 times
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If you haven't read through the forum about people wanting to move here for the "skiing/snowboarding", "inexpensive", "opportunities for work" then I suggest you do a search.

Living in or near a ski resort is not a cheap adventure and the fact that you desire to move during the middle of ski season, you are severely, I am not kidding, severely limited. Employee housing and such are 99.9%-100% full at that time and with the amount of people seeking employment this year, this idea of moving in January is a bad idea. Most of the jobs right now are filled and housing in the areas taken up by season-overs.

Please do a search though, you will gleen a lot of information that's been discussed ad nauseum.

Many who work in the ski resorts commute a hour or more because they didn't get into employee housing and that's true from Summit County (Breck, Keystone, A Basin, Copper Mtn.) to the Vail Valley to the Aspen area. Not sure about Crested Butte and Telluride as they are tucked out of the way but they are probably more expensive than the others because they don't have the satellite communities to draw housing and other living requirements.

Last edited by COflower; 09-18-2009 at 01:48 PM..
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Old 09-18-2009, 02:01 PM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,505,062 times
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I did eight ski seasons in Colorado, living in Vail and Steamboat and also going over frequently to work in Summit County and Aspen.

If you do a search of this forum I have posted a wealth of info in the past about living in a ski town.

For starters, one thing you need to get used to is this:

The closer you are to the ski hill the more expensive housing is.

Some of the ski towns are trying to get employee housing built close to the ski hills and villages to get more young people in the town area at night to level out all the old geezers that can actually afford to be there. Places like Beaver Creek are dead after 8:30 at night for instance.

Moving in mid January is a big no no.

Why?

All the jobs and housing for the season get filled by November. Early December at the latest. Finding good housing and a good job in mid January is really tough. By time you get settled and possibly hired, ski season realistically only has eight strong weeks left to go and then winds down quickly in April and then all ski towns are dead until July 4.

Also being a newbie and not having a lot of money, I would hook up with a good employer with good employee housing or some housing options. I can recommend my old employer to you if you want. They have a good set up and are based in several resorts.

For jobs I'd aim for a job that you can earn tips from. Waiter, shuttle driver, doorman, etc. Don't bother with being a lift operator or something like that at near minimum wage. The best ski resort to earn good tips in is Vail. That's where the REAL money is. Aspen is highly variable with limo liberals that talk big about the little man and then throw you a penny for a tip. Or you get some poseur trust fund nimrod throwing money around and you get tossed a $100 bill. There is no in between there. Aspen is a town of extremes in everything, from political beliefs, religion, money, houses, etc. Lot of people showing off there and very hollow Hollywood feel with a lot of weirdos there.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:37 AM
 
3 posts, read 4,674 times
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Default Very helpful stuff

First off, thank you wanneroo for the extremely helpful information. I would definitely like any information you could provide about your old employer. Anything helps!

COFlower, I've done lots of research already and found some good stuff on this site, I just thought that I might get some better information that was more specific to my situation and had nothing to do with finding a safe place for children, good schools, etc.

I have no problem waiting tables or driving a limo around for rich people. I just want to be in the mountains where I can snowboard in my free time. I also don't mind living an hour or two away and commuting to the mountain if that's what it takes. I've had my heart set on moving to the rockies upon graduation for the last two years or so and will do whatever it takes to make it work.

I've also looked some at Colorado Springs. Anyone have any information on what that's like for someone in my situation?
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
1,312 posts, read 6,894,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickmay View Post
First off, thank you wanneroo for the extremely helpful information. I would definitely like any information you could provide about your old employer. Anything helps!

COFlower, I've done lots of research already and found some good stuff on this site, I just thought that I might get some better information that was more specific to my situation and had nothing to do with finding a safe place for children, good schools, etc.
I never mentioned anything about schools, I was talking about the fact you desire to move during a time that the resorts are well established with employees and that includes singles.

Quote:
I have no problem waiting tables or driving a limo around for rich people. I just want to be in the mountains where I can snowboard in my free time. I also don't mind living an hour or two away and commuting to the mountain if that's what it takes. I've had my heart set on moving to the rockies upon graduation for the last two years or so and will do whatever it takes to make it work.
Again, moving in January to a ski area is generally not a wise decision, especially in this economy. Heck, they just announced that 12 people were laid off with the City of Aspen over the weekend, they've eliminated 4 jobs and that's having already laid off 30 people. Even in Hollywood er Aspen, the pinch of the current economy is hitting.

I think it wise for most people to delay a move anywhere unless they already have a job, have family or friends that can help out or you have a good sum of $ sitting around...and that's not just to Colorado, that's every where/anywhere.

Quote:
I've also looked some at Colorado Springs. Anyone have any information on what that's like for someone in my situation?
We are not in the mountains. The closest ski areas are 2 hours but make for a fun weekend trip. I will say that with the troops coming into Ft. Carson, low-wage jobs will be more abundant, quicker and sooner than some of the other areas as the economy improves. But finding them is difficult as I am finding since I am looking for work to supplement my dwindling web design work.

IMO, moving to colder climates from the north to the Rockies in winter is something I wouldn't recommend. One is much more likely to find work after the winter-overs (specifically in CO - during May when it's "mud season") have vacated the area and when the summer tourism season it starting up.

I'm not trying to dissuade from a dream of moving to the Colorado mountains, I am trying to impart the reality of things around here.

Oh and as for a younger person moving, Denver has more opportunities for a fun night life than C Springs. Not that you mentioned that but having lived in Denver in my 20s, it's a lot more fun than C Springs. Just thought I would throw that out there. C Springs is great for a young couple desiring to start a family as C Springs is very family oriented...
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:13 PM
 
229 posts, read 670,298 times
Reputation: 249
4 years of college, now you have to get out and provide for yourself and you're concerned about snowboarding?

I certainly admire people taking a break for a few years and seeing the world. Its kind of sad though when smart people spend a decade servicing the rich in resort towns. Be a ski bum if you want - but do it for a short time and then do something else.

Sounds like you got a good degree from a good school. You can probably get a nice job in a place like Colorado Springs, Boulder, Denver, or Fort Collins and easily still go snowboarding 20+ times a year.

Keep in mind, if you become a liftie or something, the job could be really boring, the pay will be low, you have to work during the day, and you'll miss a lot of boarding. Not to mention an Epic pass (season pass for Vail, BC, Keystone, A-basin, Breckenridge) is so cheap at $600 (or Colorado Pass at $450). With passes that cheap, working for the resort loses even more of its appeal.
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:32 PM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,505,062 times
Reputation: 7596
Quote:
Originally Posted by COflower View Post
Again, moving in January to a ski area is generally not a wise decision, especially in this economy. Heck, they just announced that 12 people were laid off with the City of Aspen over the weekend, they've eliminated 4 jobs and that's having already laid off 30 people. Even in Hollywood er Aspen, the pinch of the current economy is hitting.

I think it wise for most people to delay a move anywhere unless they already have a job, have family or friends that can help out or you have a good sum of $ sitting around...and that's not just to Colorado, that's every where/anywhere.

IMO, moving to colder climates from the north to the Rockies in winter is something I wouldn't recommend. One is much more likely to find work after the winter-overs (specifically in CO - during May when it's "mud season") have vacated the area and when the summer tourism season it starting up.

I'm not trying to dissuade from a dream of moving to the Colorado mountains, I am trying to impart the reality of things around here.
A lot of good points. Certainly moving into a ski area in January and seeking housing and a job is going to be very, very difficult. Most jobs are hired and trained up by the end of November. Housing is all spoken for usually by November.

However there are jobs that do become available for the summer so that is also an option. The summer season is shorter but it is a good way to get a start.

I checked with some friends and it looks like this winter one of my old employers is cutting their hiring by 30-40% which is dozens of good jobs. That is a significant cut. However I know last winter they over hired and people didn't make as much as previous years so perhaps it will balance out for those that do have the job this winter.

A lot of people have a hard time adjusting to seasonal life so usually I find the retention ratio for the 2nd winter is pretty poor. People do the one ski season, reality bites and they go get a "real job" in the city. A lot of it is based on economics as if you live in a ski town there are about 4 months of the year where work is scarce, hence you have to work like crazy in the busy season which kind of defeats the purpose of being there.
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:47 PM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,505,062 times
Reputation: 7596
Quote:
Originally Posted by movementarian View Post
4 years of college, now you have to get out and provide for yourself and you're concerned about snowboarding?

I certainly admire people taking a break for a few years and seeing the world. Its kind of sad though when smart people spend a decade servicing the rich in resort towns. Be a ski bum if you want - but do it for a short time and then do something else.
For me I had too much in the way of book smarts and not enough real life hard knock street smarts so living out there as long as I did, personally did a lot for me. I was put in a number of life and death situations, worked in difficult conditions, had a lot of responsibility for expensive equipment and eventually became responsible for training and managing new employees. Also due to working for many of the worlds successful people I learned so, so much about business.

I probably stayed a year too long but for me it was good. Learned so much about myself and if I had just ended up in a cubicle after college I don't think I would have grown much as a person.

There is a lot more to life than just work or getting more formal education. Much of education comes from life experience. And besides you are only young once.
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:44 PM
 
3 posts, read 4,674 times
Reputation: 10
Default Y'all have all been a huge help so far!

I want to thank everyone for their advice so far! I'll weigh all of y'alls points heavily when making my decision. One thing I have learned in my short 22 years is that experience is invaluable, and listening to the wisdom of the older generations that have been there before can help me make better decisions and avoid mistakes. So thanks again! Y'all have all given me exactly what I was looking for.

That being said, Wanneroo, we seem to have a lot in common with regards to where you've been and where I want to go. I've always been a little one-sided on the book smarts vs. street smarts spectrum as well. I could use some time on my own to really build myself as an individual and make a name for myself.

One of my biggest fears is sitting in a cubicle all day and not loving what I do, which is why I switched my original major from electrical engineering to public relations. I'm a people person and need to get out and use my people skills to advance myself in the business world. I'm eager to get my career started. Yet, I know if I don't go up to Colorado and do my own thing for a year or two, then I'll always regret it. I hope to use that time effectively by getting out and networking and making business contacts for the future, so I can't say that I'll be a TOTAL ski bum!

Another thing, I was wondering about the golf market in colorado during the "off-season". My plan was to do the whole snowboarding thing during the winter, and work at a golf course during the summer. Does that sound feasible?
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:09 PM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,505,062 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickmay View Post
That being said, Wanneroo, we seem to have a lot in common with regards to where you've been and where I want to go. I've always been a little one-sided on the book smarts vs. street smarts spectrum as well. I could use some time on my own to really build myself as an individual and make a name for myself.

One of my biggest fears is sitting in a cubicle all day and not loving what I do, which is why I switched my original major from electrical engineering to public relations. I'm a people person and need to get out and use my people skills to advance myself in the business world. I'm eager to get my career started. Yet, I know if I don't go up to Colorado and do my own thing for a year or two, then I'll always regret it. I hope to use that time effectively by getting out and networking and making business contacts for the future, so I can't say that I'll be a TOTAL ski bum!

Another thing, I was wondering about the golf market in colorado during the "off-season". My plan was to do the whole snowboarding thing during the winter, and work at a golf course during the summer. Does that sound feasible?
On the Golf deal the Vail Valley is where you want to be, but the golf jobs are popular so get on it in the late winter/spring.

In Vail there are 2 public courses, the Vail Valley course in Vail and the Eagle Vail course. Most of the other courses in the valley are private or semi private, but you can make some good money on tips working those courses as they cater to the very wealthy. Of those in the Vail Valley you have(off the top of my head):

Beaver Creek
Arrowhead
Singletree
Cordillera(Valley, Ranch and Alpine courses plus a nine hole at the lodge)
Red Sky(2 courses)
Eagle Ranch at Wolcott

Golfing is still no match for skiing but the Vail Valley is starting to be a draw for wealthy golfers and many of the large homes you see are not used in the winter but more in the summer time to visit for golfing.

Summer in Vail is actually fairly busy from July 4 to Labor Day, the difference though is there are not as many "destination" travelers like in the winter time.

Also if you feel you are good with people and want practical PR experience look into "destination management" as there are a few companies in Vail that cater to the high end corporate business. It's a good part time job and basically you work as a program coordinator doing everything from meeting people at the airport to assisting on golf trips and restaurant excursions for corporate guests. The pay to start is about $20-$25 an hour but the work can be inconsistent. It's a good part time job to make some extra money.

You are still young and a few years in Colorado really isn't going to matter much. I say go for it and enjoy it if it's something you want to do. For me, part of my family was from Colorado, but due to Dad being military we never could live there. So a dream for me was to live in the Colorado mountains and that I did.

My life has been about living my dreams and I think I have done rather well. I knew I wasn't a 9-5er and never will be so I went with what I enjoyed and was good at. Some people aren't cubicle people, but some are and that's fine. The key is to go with your talents and interests.

Keep in mind it's not all peaches and roses. Living conditions with roommates can be a pain, living expenses are high, work is light in off season in spring and fall, etc. As long as you think you are prepared for that then dive in.
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