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5 Creative Ways to Bargain in a Ski Town

Photo and illustration by Tess Wood.

There are a myriad of ways to get what you want, and in a ski town one’s coffers can include much more than the traditional dollar. Knowing what you’ve got, and identifying what others are bringing to the table, can go a long way toward “making it”. Below are a couple of categories in which one could be rich:

1. Social Currency

Are you the hot (literally) new thing? Or maybe the most fun, drunk guy at the bar? These things can get one far, but certainly not all the way, and unfortunately not for very long. You’re a fixture in the scene now but looks fade, and being the drunkest 38 year old is not always cute. Be prepared to back it up with another one of the following.

2. Shredability. 

Being a good skier (or snowboarder) is arguably most prized of all. People know your name, recognize your steeze from chairlifts above, and dream of the day they might be invited to take some turns together. Use this impressive aura to your advantage, but don’t let it go to your head. An inflated ego can put you in the red real quick.

3. Backcountry knowledge. 

This makes one a very desirable touring partner, beta source, and relationship material. With this in your pocket you can have your pick of associates and friends, assuming they’re savvy enough to know what a precious resource you are.

4. Currency currency. 

There are trust-funders and secret investment bankers everywhere, and this includes ski towns. This type of coinage pays off (pun very intended) in many ways, especially in a small town where the dream of home ownership hinges on a hefty down payment, mortgage, etc. No matter where it comes from money is money, and if you have it you’re more likely to be able to stick around.

5. Baked Goods

My personal favorite. Not to be confused with the green, herbal sort (which, truth be told, probably has a strong exchange rate). I actually have paid for many an item or service with pies, scones, cookies, and doughnuts. When combined with a smile, and knowing the right person, delicious treats can get you a ski tune, demos, early tram, a cheaper oil change… and the list goes on.

At the end of the day, work with what you’ve got and strive to build more of what you don’t. Nothing in life comes for free, but the smart ones seemingly never have to pay.

From The Column: From One Bum to Another

Wow, very fun tips. I think I’m going to start planning my winter vacation now as I have to notify my coworkers at customwriting beforehand, as there can be too much work in winter. Also have to study some backcountry knowledge, as it is stated here.

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