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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I made this decision about 2 weeks ago and not sure where to start. I'm 16, I live in a place nowhere near any resorts (there's not a single mountain out here!) and I really want to snowboard the rest of my life. The reason being is for me it is non stop fun and it is also a thing I can do to just escape (Highschool is a pain in the ***) . I came off of a 2 week trip a few months ago and learned how to shred extremely quick, progressing faster than I thought. I'm going on a trip again in 2 weeks and I plan on doing jumps and tricks. Just random fact, I've transitioned from skiing at a young age to snowboarding at age 14. A couple times a year I am able to go to a resort.

I plan to get a job to pay for some opportunity to get there, I've also been building up a resume to get into a decent college. Maybe I will be able to get a job that will pay enough for my expenses to do this.

I would like to hear suggestions, recommendations, success stories, anything of like to help me get there. I would also like to hear if there is a possibility I could do this for a living, as I've grown up playing sports and being athletic, as well as longboarding frequently.

I so badly want to live this lifestyle, because for me snowboarding is not something I can wait a year or months for. Going down the mountain, listening to some good jams is the best stress thing in the world for me.

Any help is appreciated. Thx
 

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You're young to be thinking in finalities but that's ok... ish. Where do you live, where are you considering?

If you want to actually SNOWBOARD for a living, no you can't, sorry, just not gonna happen if we're being realistic. If you wanna be around snowboarding, be involved in the industry, and be able to find jobs that encourage riding, now we're being a little more serious. I always thought I would never be able to, but I was young and only pictured snowboarding as a possibility as a professional rider, but there's an entire industry that you can be involved in that allows you to at least live in the sport.
 

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I won't advise you how to get closer to the mountains to live your dream but will give you a few tips what you could in the meanwhile:

- start skateboarding and learning tricks, if you haven't already
- get Snowboard Addiction jib board / tramp board so you can practice off the snow - you can learn a lot in advance, especially if you can get to a decent trampoline
- do workout to strengthen your core
- do stretching / yoga to increase your flexibility

I know this is not like actually being on the mountain and snowboarding but it's better than waiting whole year for a couple of snowboard trips.
 

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become a physician's assistant.

you owe me.
True story. Or marry a Doctor, Lawyer, high powered ski resort executive and become one of the Vail Skate Dads. 4 years away from retirement once my sugar mama takes this job with The Steadman Clinic, hello Breckenridge Shred Dad life. You're all fucked when she pops out some kids and I have to raise them.
 

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It seems like you have at least some other aspirations in life other than snowboarding.
Youre padding your resume for college... That is good. Being single in a resort town is fun and less expensive but when you start getting a little older, throw a wife and kids in there, it is almost impossible to survive in a mountain/resort town much less thrive.

If you want to go to college and survive with a job that you can do in the evenings its possible. You can get first chair, have class from noon to 4 then go to work after... Then snowboard your off days all day. These are more of a restaurant job like dish washing, line cook, waiter. The waiter or bar tender is ideal for more money and a lot of states require minimum wage plus tips(Colorado is not one of them). You would want to start now in a restaurant part time doing the other crap jobs so you have experience. Forget being a bartender for the first year or two in a mountain town because those are very sought after jobs.

As for what you want to go to school for so you can optimize your shred time? What are you into? I will focus a bit on Healthcare because it is a good one and I am a nurse and it pays well. I used to work at a slopeside hospital and live at the base of the mountain. I did it for 5 years working evenings after riding all day. I could ride every day. I made enough money to survive and live comfortably in a very high end resort town living walking distance to the gondola. I live in a more reasonable cost of living place now and work about half the year as a travel nurse now, I can schedule my assignments around the snow season so I am a snowboard bum in the winter. I purchased a new house this year and want to pay my bills off entirely so I am working a little more but I will still have 50 days(that is not very many by my standards). Physician Assistant was mentioned but a lot of them have day time hours, I know many of them. Another person on the forum is a sleep tech, he can ride everyday and makes a good living also. Of course school is heavy for a couple years but the end result is optimal

Tech/finance industry is a decent one because you can work from home with a lot of those jobs. You have to put in some school time and office time before you can get into those ideal positions. I meet some of them on the slopes, not many though.

You can just say fuck it and go work at a snowboard shop, wait tables or do some other job in a mountain town but you are going to be fighting to pay rent in down seasons and not thriving(at least financially). You may be happy for a while or forever. Personally I like working 6 months a year and being a snowboard bum 6 months a year. I'm 41 now and can kinda kick back and enjoy life a bit. If I didn't want to pay bills down I could work 3 months a year.

There are quite few mountain towns with college/university. Just do one thing, keep moving forward in life while enjoying the snowboarding lifestyle. I mean moving forward in education and career. A lot of people stagnate in everything else other than snowboarding lifestyle, it can and will take over if you let it. Then you end up sleeping on everyone elses couch or in a tent in the woods during the offseason because you have no where else to go and cant afford a pot to piss in(literally).
 

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Go on the various snowboard companies and scope out the jobs they offer, so you can focus your major towards it. Internships at those companies will help also.

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College life is where it's at. College is easy. Find one close to a mountain. Do a bit of school work and ride the rest of the time. It's fun. Parents will be happy. College years are bliss. Don't miss em. Everything is paid for. It really is the life...

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Go to med school or law school.

Pick a specialty that doesn't involve seeing patients or going to trial.

"Work from home" on the ski hill.
 

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In general, follow the advice in this thread, get a solid education and choose a profession with snowboard friendly hours living close to a mountain.

You can just say fuck it and go work at a snowboard shop, wait tables or do some other job in a mountain town but you are going to be fighting to pay rent in down seasons and not thriving(at least financially).
In general, this is true. But there are some gems out there if you look for them. I've been very fortunate in who I've worked for in that I get very good and very cheap staff housing in high rent environments, and the bosses appreciate the other skills I can bring to the job which means I get well compensated with bonuses or benefits.

I'm currently (and trying to stay through PR) in Banff where my living expenses, including meals at the staff cafe, can be kept as low as $600CAD a month. I work 4 days on, 3 days off, plus Fri/Sat night riding if I choose to. I have a degree and no debt, and if someone asked me 5 years ago what I'd be doing now, this wouldn't have even been a blip in my mind. Never wanting kids makes this a lot easier, too. One day I'll grow up and move into Firefighting or Police, maybe. I've been saying that for a few years now...

Either start developing skills that make you very employable in a mountain town, or focus your education around building a life in the mountains.
 

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Tech/finance industry is a decent one because you can work from home with a lot of those jobs.
Pretty much this. Mountain towns are expensive, I don't know how people get by on resort job wages. Lots of programming jobs are fully remote, so that could be a good way to earn decent $ and be able to live near the mountains.
 

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Decide (1) what you really want to do with the rest of your life work-wise (such an easy decision, I know); (2) whether you want snowboarding to *be* your life or just *part of* your life; (3) whether you want to have it be a large part of your life right now or if you're willing to focus on something else now so that you can snowboard more later on in life.

My choices were (1) work unrelated to snowboarding, (2) snowboarding as 'just' a part of my life, (3) snowboarding as a larger part of my life later on when I had the means. Along the way I got married and we had children. I kept snowboarding while going to school, etc, but the frequency wasn't great. Now I have a job that I love and that is very flexible. I can work 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off or really whatever combination I like. If I was single or didn't have children then I'd easily be able to do 1 week on and 3 weeks off through the winters and still pay the bills and live comfortably. I lost some snowboarding time, but I gained a great, secure job and a family that I wouldn't want to live without. My kids are growing up to be a mix of snowboarders and skiers, and they get to spend winters skipping school for a week at a time while we all go to the mountains (they're excellent students). It's still not as much snowboarding as I would like, but everything is a compromise, and for me this is a great one.

You say that snowboarding is your biggest stress relief, but consider how the stresses that you face (levels, sources) and your options for relieving them might change if snowboarding became the primary source of your income. Also consider the possibility that the escape (snowboarding) might be in the same place as the people, situations, etc. that you're trying to escape from if you engross yourself completely in snowboarding; where do you go to escape, then? There are a lot of bad answers, and you'll find them in abundance everywhere; mountain towns are no exception.

Sorry, no answers for you. Just a whole lot of questions, really.
 

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1) whats the job.
2) how far are you from your riding place
3) how many days a year are you able to ride

I agree being in the industry can ruin the desire. I think being in a job outside of the industry helps keep you feeling stoked.

I think if 2 is more than about 40 miles your going to damage the drive to ride alot of days.

If 3 is under a 3 digit number your not 'living the life'
 

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Idk, I mean if you wanna be a professional snowboarder starting at 16 maaaaybeeee a little to late. Most of the pros are already very good at 16.
I am not saying it's impossible. The other thing is you really need to think about turning a hobby into a career because you might not like what you do when your life depends on it.
I know you just started out and you are stoked. The road to being a pro is much much tougher than most people think. I totally admire people that can do it.
I started snowboarding at 28 which was pretty late to the game. I already had a stable job when I started so I don't have the experience some of the guys have on here. I am no where near at the level of some of the guys on here but I like it as a hobby. It keeps be stoked learning and trying new tricks every weekend.
On the other hand, I do agree with you moving somewhere close to a slope or mountain, that way you can practice more and the cost will be low. I have this small mountain near me about 40 minutes drive and I learned all my skills over there. Of course will I be progressed a lot more if I were to say living near big mountains say Copper, absolutely. Will I like the cost of living there to sustain my hobby? Probably no.
Everything is a balance.
 

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College life is where it's at. College is easy. Find one close to a mountain. Do a bit of school work and ride the rest of the time. It's fun. Parents will be happy. College years are bliss. Don't miss em. Everything is paid for. It really is the life...

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In the US, taxes don't subsidize college. Unless you are N.Y. resident then you can go to public school on the NY taxpayer dime.

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I'm coming more from the point of view you want to live on the mountain and will do whatever it takes to get there, not so much you have a actual plan for your life and want to fit living at a ski hill into it. You will need to make some sacrifices but it will be well worth it.

First things first, save up your money for a few months of rent at least. Getting a place is the hardest part. Finding roommates will be super easy and finding a job when you live there will be super easy. Do not be surprised if you have to cram like 6 people into a 2 bedroom suite to make rent manageable. I had someone live in my closet before and a few people slept in the living room, privacy is a luxury.

I lucked out my first year and managed the staff accommodation, basically cleaned the bathroom every day for free rent. There are definitely building manager jobs out there as well, but it's usually free rent not really pay.

You will want to work nights, that pretty much only leaves service industry jobs like working in restaurants or front desk at a hotel. I could easily wash dishes again, it's so stress free. Cooking is easy to find work because it sucks so bad, and serving is a little more sought after because the tips are huge. Your not old enough to bar tend so may as well forget that one.

Nothing is better than living slopeside, walking out from your ski in ski out pad strapping on and catching first chair every day it snows.

After your first year you will probably want to return so make some contacts so you can set up the following year easier. My future wife and I rented the same bachelor pad for a few years.

It gets very addicting. I was spending my winters snowboarding and my summers surfing making around minimum wage but having maximum happiness.

If you can pull off having a real career type of job go for it, but your 16 so fuck it and go live it up.
 

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I’m also of the opinion “fuck it, you’re going, go for it.”

My ideas:

1. Wildlands Firefighter. You can join when you’re 18. I bet you can do the training when you’re 17. You could definitely get the EMT and First Aid training done proactively. This will have you traveling and working like a dog May-sept. How much you make depends on the year, but it’s common to make about 40k or so during that window. With seniority, you can make upwards of 80k, though a low fire year and you might not work. Work you’re ass off for 4-5 months and the winter is yours.

2. River Guide. Short season and you’ll have to work through the winter to make it but it’s common summer work for liftys.

3. Hunting guide/outfitter. You don’t necessarily have to be a hunter, as you could work in camp as a cook or handling horses. You absolutely need experience with horses. Throughout the West, this would be a mid Aug-Nov job so you could combine it with being a wildlands firefighter, river guide etc. low pay, high tips.

4. Snowboard industry: assuming you are going to bypass college and be N/A for marketing and sales jobs, How about getting experience with hands on manufacturing starting now and jump into work in snowboard manufacturing. There are enough boutique companies doing board manufacturing in the US that this could be viable. Even the big companies manufacturing overseas are creating and testing their designs in-house here before mass producing. You could jump into a whole game and art of boutique manufacturing: snowboards, shaping surf boards, learning how to weld and doing boutique Mtn bikes. At 16, you could find a job in a shop that is manufacturing anything and start learning skills and equipment. Who knows, one day you may be designing snowboards. The downgrade version of this would be to work tuning and waxing skiis/snowboards, though that is very seasonable. Peak manufacturing season is going to be the opposite of snowboard season. Venture snowboards are right up the road and they definitely are not working on powder days.

5. Lifty jobs are usually seen as dead end jobs. That being said, people who end up working as directors of mountain operations started as liftys. The downside is you’re working during winter and you’re hanging out at work on your days off, the pay is shit and the work isn’t likely going to be so rewarding. Personally, I’d work a belt sander at a snowboard manufacturer for $9 an hour vs being a lifty for $10 an hour. Wildlands firefighter is probably going to pay north of $15 an hour + overtime and hazard pay when actually fighting fires.

What you want is freedom, flexibility, somekind of possible career potential and accessibility to mountains. So get yourself a job, preferably a job that prepares you for something with some skills, Save and horde money like crazy for the next 2 years, go do it and don’t look back.


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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
To answer most questions....
I live in Texas unfortunately, there's not a single damn mountain out here and it is way to hot... never get to see the snow. I'm not sure how its easy to find riders to ride with you, most people around me seem to have no aspiration for anything at all. For college, I heard something about a Snow or Ski/Snowboard club where you can take breaks during the year to go hit a mountain. There seem to be two main options when it comes to the job you take, work a job that pays well for the first couple of years and then move to the mountain and all that. I actually prefer the second option of just working for a smaller wage and being able to live and shred from the benefits. I actually want to get out of the blazing heat down here, and this sounds horrible but I'm fine with being able to move away from my parents. To ride, our family drives to Colorado, I usually can ride at least 3 times a year, but the days range from 3 days to 1.5 weeks. I aim to have snowboarding as a good chunk of my life.

So I got a few questions...

Which colleges will allow me to ride the most? There's some good info on the internet but it's kinda vague

What is the best location for a good resort and/or best location to snowboard and for work pay?
I would like some suggestion locations states, cities, countries whatever
I heard things like, Alaska, The Alps, Japan, Canada
Don't worry about the language barrier, I'm already bilingual in Chinese, English being my first, I could easily learn a new language

What is the most common career path that everyone takes for this type of living? It seems like everyone here has different jobs to allow them money, rent and free time?

How can I work to do flips and tricks and stuff? I can already do flips and other things on the trampoline but not sure if that's enough.

Also balance, I don't want to be that one guy windmilling in the air straight to an injury. What can I do

Thank you everyone for taking time out of your day to respond.
 
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