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The 10 Types of People You Meet In Mountain Towns

Living in a ski town is pretty epic. From the awesome powder days to the killer après scene, why would you live anywhere else? During your time in these little winter hamlets, you have met some of your best friends and some wildly interesting characters. Here at TGR, we celebrate the variety of personalities that make a ski town so special, so we have compiled a list of the 10 types of people you're most likely to meet in a mountain town.

#1) The One Who Doesn’t Ski

You are not sure why they are here. They moved here during the summer from South Carolina to work at a day camp, and stayed for the winter. They claimed that to have skied once in Virginia, which apparently has mountains. You dread the day they ask you to take them to the mountain and teach them the finer points of pizza and french fries.

#2) The Alcoholic

The term “drinks like a fish” doesn’t really do their liquid habit justice. He or she tells stories of stealing liquor from their parents when they were nine, and owns a beer bong with more tentacles than an octopus. They started drinking before you got home, and finished after you went to bed. You don’t understand how they get up at six in the morning to go fit boots, but they do. You are pretty sure they will implode in the next five years.

#3) The Trustafarian

The only job he has ever “worked” was the lemonade stand outside his parents’ McMansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. Every year, he draws from his trust fund to buy a new tech shell from Patagonia and a new pair of powder skis, and only drinks Makers Mark. You’re not sure whether you should hate him or love him, since he has no problem paying for pitchers after skiing.

#4) The Semi Pro

This guy is proud to say he skis with Tim Durtschi… or was it Bobby Brown? He used to live in Breck until he moved in with you, since no one back in Colorado believes he’s going to “make it.” He claims that he would have qualified for the Freeride World Tour if his binding hadn’t malfunctioned, and loudly curses the manufacturer to anyone who will listen. He lists all of his “sponsors” (i.e. the companies whose reps he convinced to fork over a pro form) on his yearly GoPro edit, but always forgets the most important ones... Mom and Dad.

#5) The Self-Proclaimed Local

After college, he moved to the mountains to work as a liftie or wash dishes, since what else do you do with a liberal arts degree? Since then, he’s become the ultimate “local.” He will gladly tell you about his secret powder stash, how everyone was blowing it on their powder day terrain decisions, and how he knows the bartender at the baselodge. The Self-Proclaimed Local complains heavily about tourists and how when he moved here (two years ago), it wasn’t as crowded.

#6) The For-Real Local

Aspen's Benny The Blade is such a For-Real Local the resort showcases him on their homepage. Good luck ever matching his street cred.

They were conceived in a gondola, born in the back of a Westfalia in the resort parking lot, and haven’t ever traveled farther then fifty miles from the center of town. They either went to high school/dated/worked with/ski raced with every person you will ever meet during your time in town. Over time, they get more and more jaded when other people claim to be locals. The For-Real Local can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but without them there is no way you would have found that sweet pow stash no one else ever skis, or could find a place to rent when armies of recent college graduates are pounding the classifieds.

#7) The Overachiever

The Overachiever–I saw him once. It was from an airplane at cruising altitude... Photo from TGR Community member J True's assault of the Grand Teton.

You see them once at a ski swap in the fall, where they were trying to sell their half-season-old carbon DPS skis mounted with Dynafit Beast bindings, because the setup was “too clunky.” When you get onto the skintrack before the sun has even risen, you see them skiing down from their second lap with a headlamp on. Sleeping in for them is waking up at five to go for twenty-mile cross-country ride before work. They work only minimal hours to ensure maximum backcountry time, and don't spend money on booze or weed, since they're saving every last penny for a one-way ticket to the Himalayas. You barely see them, but gape out on their blogs, where it seems they are posting daily pictures from the summits of mountains so high commercial airline pilots can be seen waving at them from cruising altitude.

#8) The Girl Who Shreds Harder Than You

She moved out here from a small mountain town back East. You are pretty sure she was breast-fed skiing and maple syrup as a child, and spent more time at warp speed on glare ice growing up than you ever spent even thinking about skiing. You are not sure if your dream is to sleep with her or ski as good as her. Either way, both are pretty unattainable. She dates a rotating cast of Semi Pros, and is in a permanent state of dissatisfaction with her boyfriend’s skiing abilities and his stalled “ski career.”

#9) The Importer

One of the real letdowns of living in a ski town is the lack of females. The bars are crowded with tons of bros and a good party ratio is 5:1. Fortunately for this guy, it isn’t a problem. To get him through the cold winter, he constantly is importing hotter girls he knows from high school, college, summer camp, or one-night stands in other parts of the country. They stay for a couple of days, warm his bed, leave. You respect the guy, but wish he would at least invite some twins next time.

#10) The Peter Pan

You think he is 29, 36,….57 maybe? You actually have no idea how old this guy is. Every time you think you have his age nailed down, he throws out a comment like, “Blizzard of Aahhhs was the turning point in my skiing,” or talks about heli-skiing with Doug Coombs that one time in the ‘90s, and all bets are off again.

What did you think of our list? Did we miss any?? Let us know in the comments!

I have a coworker that’s the ageless wonder!! He’s that guy!

There’s no way I couldn’t throw that photo of Benny The Blade up on the Aspen Snowmass homepage. Honestly, it’s still one of our most popular images and people were talking about it for weeks.

    You had to dude…. you had to!

11- The crocodile hunter.      we all know where hes from
12- The hippycrite               always bleating on about saving the world one bong rip at a time. Whilst wearing ski gear/snowboard/ski made completely of non renewable resources
13-  ski bum lifer         In it for the long haul, often hanging with “the alcoholic” bumming smokes and pilfering half drank beers  
14- Scandi kids       euro background, bright gor tex attire more colors than the gay flag
15 The fossil         As old as the mountain, up there everyday. always at least 100 years old and still going strong

Britney Spears - knowing there is a 5:1 ratio. The girl that no one really likes but all the guys put up with because the only place with a worse ratio is prison, and even there you might have a better chance of getting lucky. Standards die a surprisingly quick death in mountain towns.

The Tuner - the guy that tunes everyone’s gear in town under the table and as a consequence always has a full fridge of beer.

The Stoker - the guy who’s always just so happy to be here. Skiing, happy to be here. Working, so stoked. Party, can’t believe it’s happening. The guy everyone can agree should be there.

I kept laughing out loud thinking of how you absolutely nailed it… and then I realized we live in the same town. You must know the people I know.

What about the possessed “Etherial Healer?” From some southern state, this person some how attained mind/body/spirit equilibrium through the claim that skiing is their “meditation.” They confuse being with doing. The vibration of their speaking resembles a night you recently experienced hot tubbing after discovering everyone else was on ecstasy. You are pulled in with lofty words of spiritual alchemy [that sparkle in their eyes] before you realize there is nobody home flying their kite. Feeling a bit light headed, you ask them to ground their wisdom in observable phenomena. Their eye’s glaze over and look through you in a vain attempt to place your body in time and space before replying “everything is all good, one love:)” Sure it is. No, you can not practice Reiki on me. And yes, let’s pick dandelions on the valley floor and make wine before the festival begins… after all, they’re starting a “revolution.” Thanks for the quatrz-crystal too, I’ll leave it here in heavy salt water to clear in the moonlight before it enters my home. After 10 years of growth and development, you return for a visit and have the same conversation with this person although from their looks it could have been 20… they never knew you left.

The token Aussie! Every ski town has one of those.

    Token? One? Maybe in the USA. The great whit north is overrun with them.

Of course, there’s the “perfectionist” who, when exiting the lift stops to make sure the goggles are snug, gloves “just so”, earbuds and ipod tuned, crotch adjusted correctly, boots get unbuckled and rebuckled, etc…meanwhile the rest of the group has charged downhill to notch another run.

Typical east coast nonsense, you guys will never get it.  Oh, Benny the blade is not a real local, he’s from Cali I believe.  Great guy though, he’s been featured as a Halloween outfit by others.

This is kinda funny ... I remember the unique caste of characters in town when I lived in Sun Valley in the 80’s

“The Dirtbag”
He works at the rental shop, or maybe he just hangs out there because it’s warm and the bathroom sink is low enough for him to wash his balls off in.  His gear is a mish-mash of hand-me-downs and stuff he picked up at the lost-n-found, but he still shreds fierce.  He somehow scored a bed in a furnished cabin, but got evicted after burning the furniture when he ran out of firewood.  Now, he mostly sleeps on couches and in his non-running car.  He smells like shit.  He will eat every piece of leftover food and drink every unfinished beer in the day lodge; on slow days he survives off saltines and non-dairy creamer packets.  He’s figured out how to steal from the gas station, the bar, the board shop, the vacant cabins, and your cabin, whenever you invite him over.  He’ll bum all your smokes, drink all your booze, eat all your food, crash on your couch until your roommates demand that you ask him to leave.  But he’ll never steal a board because “Karma.”  His most expensive possession is his season’s pass, but the dude in the picture doesn’t quite look like him.  He met your ex when you guys were still together; now he mostly crashes at her place.

    The dirtbag isn’t just one type of person you meet….its everybody up there. Its a very distinguished population in civilization whom all tend to congregate at the mountain in winter haha

    oh my buddy Matt at Baker you know him

I know all these people plus the characters that the casinos generate, a list unto itself, which are missing from most ski towns. Also the ever present catch all descriptive phrases “flakes” and “charlatans”. But being local to one of these towns, I never forget that each of these towns contains Physicians, Teachers, Dentists, Librarians, Mechanics, Grocers, Developers, Architects (in our case Entertainers), plain ol everyday folks and I would say politicians here, but your list disproportionately already covers them, particularly Type 2. These people I list deserve some attention while living in a Mountain town, especially by the kids who grow up there.

‘Coolorados’ - Kids that come up from Colorado and compare everything to the resorts there. Often found in bars acting a ‘little’ louder then most for no apparent reason, boasting a ‘little’ too much about the lines they road that day and asking the tram operator to play some Panic brah.

Funny article but please get an editor. Your misuse of pronouns was driving me nuts. “Where they were trying to sell his half season…”

The exec on sabbatical, he spends a good deal of time associating with the the the tourist crowd, most likely colleagues or customers. This guy always has a few bucks for bros’ beers at the local watering hole. His life is about finding himself, so very few things matter beyond socializing with folks and strapping in for fresh powder, of course only on the best bluebird condition days as he’s been at the thing as long as you’ve been alive so kinda spoiled. This guy/gal can regale you with stories of the land of business till he/she’s blue in the face but prefers a low key chat about all the mountains they once visited in their 20’s.

Jonathan Desabris,

#8 is pretty bad man. It’s is blantently sexist and objectifies a woman’s skiing ability as a reason to sleep with her. TGR tries to promote women but with writing like this it isn’t. Do better next time, come on man.

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