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Honest Answers from a Longtime Ski Bum

Brody Leven living his definition of  a "ski bum" lifestyle. 

Like TJ Burke told his boss in the greatest ski film of all time, Aspen Extreme, “Skiing’s the easy part, Karl.” It’s wintertime and the livin’ ain’t always easy. I mean, at its core ski town life is simple. When it snows, the people must shred. But what about the housing shortage, how is dirtbag cuisine crafted, where are the best jobs, and how in the world do you figure out the mountain town dating scene? Fear not, my friends. Look no further for sound, compassionate, often sarcastic, and loosely truthful advice about all things mountain culture. Dear PaddyO is THE reliable source for ski town guidance, dirtbag instruction, and general foolishness.

Dear PaddyO,

What’s the difference between “ski bums”— like, the smelly ones that sleep in their cars and are broke as a joke and work weird jobs — and “ski bums” — those whose parents give them money, they rent a room in a ski town, they have a season pass, and they actually eat food? Asking for a friend.

Love, Brody Leven

Dear Brody,

Interesting question, my pint-sized friend. I would say that authenticity is at the heart of this matter. Ski towns are filled with people who love to shred, from weekend warriors to every-damn-day diehards. But genuine, real deal ski bums build their lives around skiing (or snowboarding) as a chief identifier. It’s a part of who they are rather than something they do. And just because somebody is wearing the latest gear or 10-year-old grease stained outerwear or talking about how they skied this and skied that, yaddah yaddah yaddah, doesn’t make them a real life ski bum. Look for the sunburnt gal or the grizzly guy, smile touching behind their ears, handing out high-fives and hugs to everybody. There’s your real ski bum. Also, they will most likely have ski boots on, always.

Another thing to consider, most ski towns are essentially tourist towns, and therefore rely on the tourist coin coming in. Even if they’re just “trying it on for a season,” ski towns need dollah dollah bills ya'll. They may not be a cardholding member but the skiers who come and go in six months are still helping the cause.

Dear PaddyO,

How do I look really, really hardcore on Instagram? Like, hardcore and soulful at the same time.

Sincerely, Alex Taran

Be like Johnny Collinson. Go shirtless whenever possible (vests or tanktops, aka the brokini, if clothing is necessary), wear cool hats, leather jackets are a must, stick your tongue out in selfies, take more selfies, and grow hair so beautiful it looks as though it can be smelled through an iPhone. NOTE: if you scratch JC’s IG pics you can faintly make out the scent of angel farts and freshly baked bread. Oh, and skiing huge lines and stomping massive tricks will help too.

Having a super sick social media presence is more important to making it in a ski town than housing. Sure, a roof over your head is nice but barroom bravado is essential, bruh. How else are people going to know how supremely brodacious you are at rad gnar tenderloin sending? Pics or it didn’t happen, that’s how. Plus, use a lot of thoughtful hashtags, like #Blessed and #SendingMyTunaForDuhBoyz. Post photos of yourself looking into a sunset with your favorite Rumi quote, or whichever one comes up on Google first. Did I mention selfies?

Dear PaddyO,

Do I need a puppy to get a girlfriend?

Best, Garrett Russell

No, not necessarily. But it can’t hurt. A recent Japanese study concluded that when dogs and humans stare into each other’s eyes, oxytocin levels go through the roof. Why is this noteworthy, Mr. GFunk? Because oxytocin is the love hormone, which is secreted by the pituitary gland when couples have snuggly time. It is also released during, ahem, bedroom gymnastics and is a contributing factor to emotional and romantic connection between couples.

Weird, right? Definitely, but it’s possible that if you were to bring your puppy to a first date, and lil rover and the skier gal of your dreams hit it off, so then would you. I don’t have a dog so I can’t say for certain. However, I have tried to use their scent as cologne but rolling around in dog parks peppered with lawn logs has yet to lead me to romantic success. I’m not giving up hope though, nor should you. Maybe try taking that special someone out on a real date, like to a restaurant with tablecloths. Ask her about herself, pay for dinner, and walk her home at the end of the night. Be a bro on the mountain but a gentleman in the streets. Or just tell her how awesome of a skier you are. That totally works, too.

Until next time... Love, PaddyO. 

About The Author

stash member Paddy O'Connell