Editor's Note: Hohoho Bitches! Alas, the time has come for a holiday installment of Ski Town Caricatures! In this very merry edition, we turn the TGR lens on the poor but tireless souls who keep our resorts running and our communities humming during what is for a majority of people “the most wonderful time of the year.” Being away from family can be tough, so this installment of STC is dedicated to all the ruffians and dirtbags out there in the ski town trenches during this holiday season.
The joy, warmth and depravity of a Ski Bum Holiday. Ryan Dee Illustration.
Ahh, the joys of the holidays in a ski town. Long hours, low pay, token gifts from resort executives (not given out on Christmas morning, of course). The life of a ski bum during the holiday season can often be a sad and depressing affair.
But like all things, missing out on a holiday season with the family can have its silver lining. After all, it’s a lot harder to wake up and take powder turns when you’re visiting relatives in Oklahoma. Additionally, skipping the family holiday get-together allows you to avoid the uncomfortable questions from your cousins who work in tech and finance about what you’ve “been up to” and “what your plan is for the future.” No ski bum wants to have that conversation.
Even so, the holidays can often suck for a lowly mountain town dweller. With few resources, no time to decorate, and a chronic penchant for being naughty — not nice — the ski bum faces a litany of challenges during this most cheerful of seasons.
After an intense anthropological study, we’ve compiled a list of tell-tale signs that you — the TGR readership — can use to determine whether you are, in fact, having a Ski Bum Holiday.
A) Marijuana Plant Turned Into Christmas Tree
Getting a real tree this year–or simply going to the Rotary Club to buy one–was just too much effort for you and your roomies. All the effort of going somewhere, cutting it down, and hauling it out of the wilderness (or parking lot) just sounded like a lot of work.
Luckily, your roommate J-Bud offered to let the house use his closet weed plant instead. Decorated and ornamented with lights and THC crystals, the X-mas marijuana bush is the only Christmas tree that can actually get you high on holiday cheer.
B) Resort Worker’s Late Arrival on Christmas Day
You and your roommates work at the local resort, and by default, this means that you’re going to be taken advantage of to the tune of $7.50 per hour of suffering screaming children in ski school, and worked into the ground this holiday season–including on Christmas Day itself. Hopefully, you have a roommate with a relatively normal schedule that can stay home and cultivate some holiday cheer.
Otherwise, your house will be cold, dark and barren when you return from spinning screws/pouring drinks/renting gear for wealthy out-of-towners late into Christmas Eve who are having the merriest of times right in front of your tired, weary eyes. Living the dream never sucked so much!
C) The Homesick FaceTime Call
“I miss you, Mom!!” you say while wiping away the tears. It feels good to connect with your family members via Skype or FaceTime during the holidays, but something about seeing your whole tribe gathered together in warmth and celebration while you sit on a stained couch in a cold, undecorated rental just doesn’t manage to fill that gaping hole left in your heart.
Upon hanging up, you can reliably expect a flood of existential life questions, such as “Why am I doing this?” and the dreaded “Am I a failure??” Merry Fucking Christmas!
D) The Charred Turkey/Kitchen Conflagration
It just so happens that you suck at cooking. Your parents don’t. Your grandmother doesn’t. But you certainly do, especially when you're without the assistance of the aforementioned adults.
You and your roommates decided to take a stab at it anyway; prepping the turkey, whipping the mashed potatoes… and lighting the kitchen on fire. A charred turkey and a fire extinguisher later, you decide to go with Plan B, which on every other night of the year is Plan A: pizza, takeout Chinese food, and just about anything else that can ordered over the telephone and thrown away into a dumpster. The upside? No dishes.
E) Santa’s Judgment
You made a list, you checked it twice … but Santa doesn’t give a shit. Drugs, premarital sex, skipping work for powder days — you’re not exactly a model citizen. In response to your naughtiness, the only thing Santa left for you and your roommates this year was a few lumps of coal and a selfie Polaroid of him and Rudolph throwing up the middle finger/hoof. Santa still crushed the milk and cookies, but that was payback for leaving your rental shop co-workers high and dry without your help on the busiest morning of the year while you took advantage of free refills off the tram.
F) Presents of Bongs, Socks, Beer, and Gear
When a dirtbag ski bum is the one buying you a present at the roomie Yankee Swap, you can bet it won’t be the conventional holiday fare. No Kindles or cashmere sweaters; instead, one of your roommates got creative this year and converted a 12-pack of PBR into a holiday festivus pole. Another put his used Kinco gloves through the wash and Indian gifted them to you, hoping you won't notice the duct tape. The catch of the swap, though, ends up being a fresh glass bong that is put quickly to use as a token Bing Crosby holiday album is streamed from Spotify. Everyone mumbles along loudly, but nobody remembers the lyrics from childhood.
Assuming someone bought you something substantial, you can bet it'll be wrapped in nothing more elegant than newspaper from the free daily. Maybe with a bow on it if one fell out of the Dollar Store dumpster.
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