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​10 Signs You Are Now A Local

Austin Hopkins snaps a selfie during a five day kayaking trip down the Lower Salmon river in Idaho. "We couldn't find any girls who wanted to come with us," says Jon Desabris of the trip. 

You moved to the mountains to become a real life ski bum. But have you? Have you really? Here are 10 ways to tell if you’ve moved past the mountain town discretionary period and into full-fledged local status.

#1) “What are you doing for the off season?”

Jon Desabris sending it down the Lower Salmon river during off season. Austin Hopkins photo.

The only things you and your crew talk about at the end of each winter are the river, bike, and climbing trips you’re planning. “Did you hear Monkey pulled a permit for Cat?” When fall rolls around, you stoke the fire. “I’m headed to Moab for two months, but then I’m comin’ back here to slay. Farmer’s Almanac says it’s gonna be a huge winter. Psyched!” (Insert high-five and fist-dap here.)

#2) You have a townie.

The author photographed his flanneled friend while riding down main street in Telluride, Colorado. 

Whether you found it in a dumpster, purchased it at a bike swap for a dollar, or it was gifted to you by an urban-bound buddy, it’s your favorite (and sometimes only) means of local transportation. Its nickname (Stanley, Doris, The Starlight Express, etc.) is known throughout the valley. Your laid-back posture atop your aluminum steed is accented by your local coffee roaster/fly fishing shop trucker hat, enormous reflective shades, and an unbuttoned flannel, which flaps in the wind as if it were the official dirt bag flag.

#3) You’ve dated your best Friend’s Ex.

The dating scene in a mountain town is brutal but you’ve managed a few “relationships.” By now, you’ve probably dated a ski patroller, a mountain guide, and a pro athlete. But now you’re smashing face and choreographing nighttime gymnastics with your best friend’s ex. No need to explain—hell, we’ve all been there.

#4) You know where all the cops patrol.

Early in your mountain town tenure you had a couple unfortunate run-ins with the boys in blue. Fortunately, you have learned your lesson, and now know the exact location of every speed trap and police hotspot with spy-like precision. Never again will you have to perform sidewalk Olympics while the entire population of your ski town watches. EDITORS NOTE: Please don’t drive intoxicated, use your townie bike outlined in point #2 to travel around your ski town safely.

#5) You have facial hair. Lots of it.

A shaggy Garrett Russell in his happy place: japan. Paddy O'Connell photo. 

If you’re a male in a mountain town with few seasons under your belt, your hair is probably shaggy, your beard is as burly as it gets, and if genetics allow, perhaps you’ve grown a triumphant mouth brow. You're by no means well groomed and your facial hair probably resembles an old broom: regal, well worked, and dusty. But you love how your furry face catches pow shots on blower days, hot sauce on dollar wing night, and the occasional praise of a mountain lovin’ lady. And let’s be honest—if you can’t grow facial hair, you’ve probably compensated with a voluminous and/or saggy man bun. And ladies, you've completely given up on shaving, because really, who cares? 

#6) You’ve figured out “Affordable Housing.”

Alex Taran digs deep for her chalk bag in her home on wheels. Leslie Hittmeier photo. 

You ditched employee housing a while back and now have your digs dialed. You’ve got a tent or van by the river in the summer and get your weekly showers in at the rec. center. In wintertime, you usually score a two bedroom, one bath shack and split rent between eight other ski bums. Your room (ok, closet) is decorated with prayer flags and has just enough space to fit a futon, ski boots, and Rubbermaid gear bins. Good thing your Tacoma has a Thule box.

#7) You have an extraordinary love for Bluegrass music.

Back in the day, you and your friends hung out in the lawn seats at Dave Mathews Band concerts, checking out chicks in Hollister or Ab. & Fitch tees. Then, there was a short period of time that EDM was all you listened to. (Turns out the glow-in-the-dark bandanas were too itchy and you could never commit to getting gauges in your ears.) But now, you flip off your flops and dance barefoot on a dusty patch of earth at the slightest inkling of a banjo’s twang. Bluegrass, with its nasally harmonies and feverish pace of stringed instruments, has found its way into your soul. But seriously, you’ve been listening to Old Crow since before they were a thing.

#8) Plaid and Flannel

TGR intern Katie Cooney's plethora of flannels. 

Thrift stores have become your best friend. You refuse to throw away your tattered Kinkos (extra points for Duct Tape fixes). Your grease and paint stained Carhartts have seen fewer washes than a truck stop bathroom, and your entire life is covered in checkered wool and cotton. Other than the handful of concert t-shirts and Aztec printed tank tops, everything you own has striped patchwork. Basically, if it’s got a collar and it’s in your closet, it’s a flannel.

#9) Raccoon Eyes and Goggle Tans

There hasn’t been a better pairing since Hall and Oates. It’s your badge of honor, the signifier of your extreme outdoorsy-ness, and the number one desirable characteristic in a significant other. Chicks dig scars, good stories, and ocular tan lines. Bros love braided side-ponies, calf definition, and white rims around the eyes. It’s dirtbag science.

#10) Epic Selfies

Jon Desabris taking a spill with his selfie stick. 

You're sunburnt, wind burned, your lips are chapped and cracked, your hair is greasy and you smell like French onion soup. You don’t make any money. Your college degree might as well have been printed on toilet paper. You work five jobs—all of them on your feet and using your hands. You eat Ramen and Pizza for almost every meal, and your fridge is mostly stocked with beer. But your Instagram is siiiiiiiick.

About The Author

stash member Paddy O'Connell


Buying a truck, wearing flannel shirts, and having a curriculum vitae full of outdoor adventures doesn’t make you a local. Connecting with your community and giving back makes you a local. When you remember the trails before everyone moved there, when that kid who annoyed you on the slopes became the high schooler heading to nationals, and when the old guys who pioneered the area give you respect is when you get to be a local. Everyone is a local somewhere it’s just probably not where you want it to be.