Move To The Mountains

Live the dream in seven steps.

Waking up early on powder days and sleeping in late on the weekends-ah, yes, it’s life in the mountain town, and snow is always in season. The park is perfect, and the sun is always shining. All the hot bunnies know your name and regularly spend their spare time in your hot tub … just another day. These luxuries are an idealistic dream that many young greenhorns envisage. But successfully moving to and living in a mountain town is no simple shred in the park. Without proper planning, one’s mountain paradise can turn into a mountain hell. Don’t be left in the sixth circle reserved for heretics-follow this guide and you’ll be on your way to resort-town bliss.

Pick Your Spot

Choosing your destination is one of the most important decisions you will make in this, your life choice. You’re probably going to end up sticking around for a couple or ten years, so choose a place that fits your lifestyle, funds, and habits. If you’re into the powder and you don’t mind the simple life, places like Mt. Baker, Washington or Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont have your name written on them. Resorts like these have smaller scenes, so once you’re accepted as a part of the community, it’s usually for life. Plus a pass for the year won’t cost you an arm and leg. Of course, small towns-where everyone will know your name-have their drawbacks. If you’re not importing a better half, then get familiar with this phrase: “You don’t lose your girlfriend, you just lose your turn.”

Not everyone wants to lead a small-town life of seclusion, purity, and powder-that’s why God created California, and specifically Lake Tahoe. Resorts in The Golden State and those similar in design have all the amenities of the big city built right into them. There’ll be more tourists to deal with, and a pass won’t come cheaply, so you may want to find an area that offers a pass that’s good at more than one resort (see the “Two Birds” sidebar).

The benefits of a more “commercial” mountain (or at least one that’s not in bankruptcy) definitely show in its park department, nightlife, and employment opportunities. Remember, these towns didn’t build the bars for locals, they were built for tourists and tourists’ daughters-um … tourists’ daughters. Anyway, I could go on and on about where and where not to live (and tourists’ daughters), but it’s your life, use your brain. If you have the chance, visit as many resorts as you can before dropping in.

Find A Job

Money makes the lift go round, and you’re going to need some. Finding a job before moving can save you a lot of time and aggravation down the road. Applying for a job at the resort has its benefits, such as a free season pass, employee housing, and discounts on gear and food. But, you are an employee of the mountain, and you’ll be considered an ambassador of its prestige. Basically, you’re an indentured servant-they own you. Your time on hill will be scarce, and the manner in which you conduct yourself will be highly scrutinized. If you think you can sign up just for the pass and then quit, think again. You will be giving back your pass faster than America gave that Elian Gonzalez kid back to Cuba. Better to play by the rules or at least turn your uniform jacket inside out before the on-hill deviance begins.

Get a job that lets you work at night, so you can ride during the day-which was the point of moving anyway. If you’re afraid it will cut into your party schedule, apply to be a bouncer at a bar. Then you get paid to party and kick ass. Most sandwich shops seem to hire kids who will hook up all their friends and borrow from the register, too. Working at the local snowboard shop will pay the bills and usually get you “shop form”-a discount program for employees-on gear. You’ll also get to wait on all the hot babes that are coming in for the latest shred fashions. So, you know, look into it.

Establish Residency

Now that you have a job, you’ll probably want to open a bank count so there will be a safe haven for all your freshly made loot, and so that you can find a place to live (next step). Before you run to the bank, acquire a P.O. Box. If the well of P.O. Boxes has already run dry, opt for “General Delivery”-the Post Office will basically hold your mail for you. A General Delivery address is a sure sign of couch-surfing delinquency, but it will be enough so your mom can send you cookies. When you get the real thing, she can forward your subscription of TWS.

Opening a bank account is easy (now that you have an address), and as an American, it’s your duty and contribution to this consumer-based world. Banks usually require 150 to 200 clams to open a checking account. Basically, you’re now a resident of the place where you’ve been squatting. Be careful, though, if you have out-of-state license plates on your rig-the cops can still get at you … if you let them in on your new life. Always, and I mean always, say you’re just visiting, and don’t mention that you work anywhere in town. They’ll just think you’re another tourist and be on their hard-ass way.

Find A Place To Live

Personally, I have no business telling you how to find a place to live. Currently I’m homeless, as I have been since October 2004. But look on the bright side, I’m still alive and haven’t had to pay rent for a year now. As a newbie in town, your luck at couch surfing won’t be as great as mine-you probably won’t know anyone as a matter of fact.

But finding a place isn’t as hard as it seems. Look in the newspaper classifieds or online before you move. You’ll find apartments, houses, condos, and rooms for rent. There’re people searching for someone just like you in those same ads. Craigslist, the local chamber of commerce Web site, the grocery-store bulletin board, or the resort’s own human resources office may also have rental listings. Don’t be afraid to call people, and don’t be afraid to make new friends, because they’ll be the ones welcoming you into their homes.

If you do start couch surfing, do more than your part around the house-even if you’re a spoiled rich kid who doesn’t know the difference between Tide and Palmolive. Travel light; a backpack and a case of beer are the signs of a good houseguest. You should also ante up for utility bills or pitch in some rent money. The more you hook people up, the more friends you’ll make, but if you happen to screw somebody over, word will spread like wildfire, so play it cool. When you finally do get kicked out, and trust me you will, and there isn’t a place for you to go, sleep in your car in the local grocery-store parking lot. Mammoth’s Sketchy-D did this for a couple of months and so can you-it builds character.

Secure A Pass

You may not succeed at any of the aforementioned steps or even own a car, but the one thing you will need is a pass. This is imperative, and without it you’ll wither away and probably end up back home in a few months. Most resorts offer a discount pass for the following year just before closing in the spring. Jump on that. It’ll cost 75 percent less than what passes go for during the beginning of the season, and getting it before you move will ensure that you actually follow through. If you’re in high school, ask your parents to get you one as a graduation present. You can add that it will be your present to them when you finally move out of their house. This one has never failed; trust me, your parents don’t want you around any longer than seventeen years.

If you’re not in high school any longer, you may or may not know how to save your money. Saving money for a pass means don’t spend it on dumb stuff. Cut out the five bucks a day you spend on cigarettes, drink cheap beer, and trade in Coke for water. When you’re on your own, getting money from your parents is like trying to squeeze blood from a rock. Another idea you may want to consider is to tell your parents you’re going to sign up for classes at the local community college. After they pay for the classes, get your student I.D. card (this thing should get you discounts all over town and even on a pass at the mountain). After you get the I.D., go back to the school, say you’re going to drop all the classes you signed up for, take the money, and run. Don’t worry, your parents will soon get over it. They’ll never trust you again, but they’ll get over it-hopefully. This scam also will work if you pay for the classes just to get the student I.D. card. Water is free and you too will be when you’re at the top of the mountain waiting to drop that perfect chute with your brand-new season pass.

Pack Up

Besides packing up your gear into that ratty old duffel bag, think about what will be useful when you get to where you’re going. The garage is a gold mine. Once on your own, you’ll understand why your dad covets his socket wrench set so. First things first, grab that socket wrench set-you’ll need it eventually. Get the snow chains if you have ’em-they’ll save you a pretty penny mid winter and if they don’t fit your tires you can always sell them. Jumper cables are a must-the cold drains car batteries, so these will come in handy. Next, look around the rest of the house: Do you want to bring your stereo or a TV? If you have a laptop computer, try to persuade your parent’s to buy you a wireless (airport) card, so you can communicate via the Net. Then you can update everyone on your sponsor-me video and cruise porn in coffee shops, too. Everyone has different needs, so take a breath and figure out what will help you on the journey ahead. And remember, plenty of people have moved before you, and plenty have done it with less.

Drive

This is where the adventure begins. Find a friend with a car or take your own, but remember to give it an overhaul before you hit the road. Fluid, brakes, lights? There’s nothing worse than a trip gone sour because of a broken-down car or a cop stealing your weed because he thinks it’s illegal-you’ll probably get a ticket for this, or worse get arrested, depending where you are. Make sure you know the course your trip will take (unless Mom gave you a gas card). A map or road atlas has saved my ass before, and I’m sure it’ll have the same effect on yours.

When you do get on the road, don’t let the gas drop below half a tank, because you never know when there isn’t going to be a gas station for 200 miles. The frequent stops will also let you stretch your legs and refuel on every road warrior’s favorite drink, coffee, or in my case Red Bull (for mixer). If you get tired, pull over to a rest stop or motel for a bit. You may think it’s cool to drive straight through the night, but the driver of the car you crash into may contain a woman with the unborn child destined to find the cure for AIDS-so chomp on that, you baby killer. Seriously, though, you gotta make the trip safe.

Once you’re there, the only advice I have for you is to follow your instincts-and this guide, of course. Now it’s only up to you to make friends and shred until your little heart’s content. Get to know the locals and find the killer spots to party and a favorite place to nourish your gullet. Moving away from home is not only an adventure, it’s your duty.

For more resort information and park reviews go to transworldsnowboarding.com.

lege. After they pay for the classes, get your student I.D. card (this thing should get you discounts all over town and even on a pass at the mountain). After you get the I.D., go back to the school, say you’re going to drop all the classes you signed up for, take the money, and run. Don’t worry, your parents will soon get over it. They’ll never trust you again, but they’ll get over it-hopefully. This scam also will work if you pay for the classes just to get the student I.D. card. Water is free and you too will be when you’re at the top of the mountain waiting to drop that perfect chute with your brand-new season pass.

Pack Up

Besides packing up your gear into that ratty old duffel bag, think about what will be useful when you get to where you’re going. The garage is a gold mine. Once on your own, you’ll understand why your dad covets his socket wrench set so. First things first, grab that socket wrench set-you’ll need it eventually. Get the snow chains if you have ’em-they’ll save you a pretty penny mid winter and if they don’t fit your tires you can always sell them. Jumper cables are a must-the cold drains car batteries, so these will come in handy. Next, look around the rest of the house: Do you want to bring your stereo or a TV? If you have a laptop computer, try to persuade your parent’s to buy you a wireless (airport) card, so you can communicate via the Net. Then you can update everyone on your sponsor-me video and cruise porn in coffee shops, too. Everyone has different needs, so take a breath and figure out what will help you on the journey ahead. And remember, plenty of people have moved before you, and plenty have done it with less.

Drive

This is where the adventure begins. Find a friend with a car or take your own, but remember to give it an overhaul before you hit the road. Fluid, brakes, lights? There’s nothing worse than a trip gone sour because of a broken-down car or a cop stealing your weed because he thinks it’s illegal-you’ll probably get a ticket for this, or worse get arrested, depending where you are. Make sure you know the course your trip will take (unless Mom gave you a gas card). A map or road atlas has saved my ass before, and I’m sure it’ll have the same effect on yours.

When you do get on the road, don’t let the gas drop below half a tank, because you never know when there isn’t going to be a gas station for 200 miles. The frequent stops will also let you stretch your legs and refuel on every road warrior’s favorite drink, coffee, or in my case Red Bull (for mixer). If you get tired, pull over to a rest stop or motel for a bit. You may think it’s cool to drive straight through the night, but the driver of the car you crash into may contain a woman with the unborn child destined to find the cure for AIDS-so chomp on that, you baby killer. Seriously, though, you gotta make the trip safe.

Once you’re there, the only advice I have for you is to follow your instincts-and this guide, of course. Now it’s only up to you to make friends and shred until your little heart’s content. Get to know the locals and find the killer spots to party and a favorite place to nourish your gullet. Moving away from home is not only an adventure, it’s your duty.

For more resort information and park reviews go to transworldsnowboarding.com.