This series attempts to profile some of the best and worst shit jobs in a ski town. Don’t get us wrong, in no way do we intend to bash professions like these, they are a means to an end, the axis upon which our mountain lives spin. Without jobs like these, how would you ski over 100 days a season and still be employed?
It sounds wrong, and it more or less is, according to the current, accepted norms of our society.
“You can wear whatever you want, as long as it is a skirt. A short one.” The manager states this, and then gauges your reaction. You might look around, fairly unenthused, as a potential co-worker - with a tiny circle of fabric passing as a skirt - ferries a tray of beer past you. Yes, when the manager of a job tells you this, you should probably run away, unless you are pursuing a career path unrelated to skiing.
But, in this case, it is already December, this place is somehow still hiring, and you just moved to this mountain town for one and only one reason: ski all the time. And this job, cocktail waitress at a busy base-area apres-ski spot, starts at 3:00 p.m.
Sure, you may have tried to be more upstanding. But everything good (i.e, night) is gone, and the local paper has options like: barista (serving coffee on powder mornings? Hahahaha!), hotel concierge (calmly assisting guests on powder mornings? I really don’t think so), retail clerk (standing forlornly among trinkets/tee shirts on powder morning? Sorry. Can’t. Do. That.), or babysitting (watch tiny non-verbal people at hotel while parents ski? No.). These are all the very definition of blowing it. Even if starvation is a concern, keep your eye on the ball: no day jobs.
So while the short skirts rule may seem wrong, all you can think about is the start time and base area location. What’s the big deal, really? You might get a little cranky for a minute thinking of your guy ski friends and their cool, night ski-tech, beer-drinking, no skirt wearing jobs, but you find yourself wondering if you still have that really cute little plaid skirt. And that little black V-neck? And there it is: This is the only remotely acceptable schedule for skiing, and priorities are priorities. No commuting, very little ski day disruption? Ciao, standards! Miniskirt it is!
There are some interesting scenes to be immediately discovered on both the patron and co-worker sides. You may learn that only some of your co-workers view this as the only way to get an amazing ski schedule and pay bills. A few of the other waitresses will always take the cocktailing, mini-skirting scene rather seriously. They will look at the helmet-haired crew disapprovingly, but no one will care (we skied pow all day!). If the others skied, they’ve gone home on time, showered, curled hair, and some, you come to find out, have little trick like stuff their bras. (According to some sources, it can get your five extra dollars a table. This skier did not test that one out. The line really did have to be drawn somewhere.)
What I did test is that you can come skiing up to the door with five minutes to spare, run to the locker room, strip to ski socks (yes, unknowing drunk guys will totally see these as sexy knee socks!), tight ski shirt (a deep zip necks work well, actually) throw on said cute mini-skirt, madly fluff helmet hair, grab a little makeup, and clock in. Woo! I made about $150 on average an afternoon this way. Would it have been $200 if I went home and showered and curled my hair? Who cares! For another hour and half or so of skiing every day, $150 works great!
Of course, you will also learn the finer points of serving hundreds of beers in an afternoon to hundreds of drunk guys who think they are all pros or are on ‘boy’s trips’ from fill-in-the-blank city. They may point out your abundantly visible quads (thanks, mini-skirt) say, “Woah, looks you ski a lot!” You might be tempted to say something sarcastic, but better yet is to just act all enthused about how rad their ski trip must be: ‘Oh yeah, whatever, but what did you guys ski today?! You don’t have to listen to them because you’ve already brought them six pitchers and they have no idea what is going on now, or earlier in the day. “We were over at, uh, what was it, hey Jeff, what was the name of that lift we skied today?” “Oh yes, that lift is cool. I am sure you guys skied some amazing blues –er, super rad lines.”
You will be asked to do a lot of shots, because every group you wait on will have decided that the boy’s trip actually sucks without girls. They will want to flirt with you, even though you are clearly in the weeds, have spilled beer on yourself, are possibly on the verge of tears, and have nine other tables of drunk guys who all want you to hang out at their table and do shots with them. The trick, if you want to oblige – and you probably should, as people get stoked and leave bigger tips when they think they’re expanding the party - is to have the bartenders, who are always on your side, give you something non-alcoholic.
Skirt and leering guys or not, the bottom line is that you ski all day, and since apres peters out around 6 or 7, you get to go home early, so you can be up early. Sure, it at least four hours of rushing drinks through extremely maniacal, chaotic celebrating, and you feel like you’ve run a very confused marathon everyday. But when you stuff the skirt back in the locker, pocket your cash, and leave the feeling of being a stereotype hustling beers at the bar and head home, things don’t look so bad anymore. Because it’s dumping outside, and you don’t have to be back at work until three.
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From The Column: Shit Jobs
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