The liftee needs a place to live, too. (Vail Careers/Facebook)
So you want to be a ski bum? Get a job at a resort, find a place to live, and get a pass for free. All sounds cool -- except for the “cost of living” thing.
Resort towns typically burst at the seams with short-term rentals, aimed at filling up with paying customers. Often, year-round owners put their homes or condos up for rent and leave town. That puts a crimp in the season-long rental market, leading to a shortage of supply and higher rents.
Most resort towns have ample bus service, often for free. But seasonal wages typically remain close to minimum wage, although several resorts like Taos Ski Valley and Mount Rose Ski Tahoe have recently jumped that up. So if you are still determined to be a ski bum, here’s some factors to consider, and resorts to look into:
There’s more subsidized employee housing going up every year as resorts seek to offset low wages. Most Vail Resorts properties and resorts like Jackson Hole and Steamboat are among many that manage employee housing. But they fill up quickly on a first-come first-served basis.
Ski bums working at resorts near “real” towns have a larger choice. Odgen, Utah, boasts affordable rents for workers jobs at Powder Mountain and Snowbasin a half-hour away. Taos Ski Valley sits 20 minutes for a historic town that has all manner of rentals at decent prices.
South Lake Tahoe has as much private housing for workers at Heavenly as any resort. Schweitzer is just up the hill from Sandpoint, Idaho, where rentals can be hard to find but affordable. The town of North Conway and Cranmore jointly help workers search for affordable places to stay.
Sugarbush has joined Jackson and Stevens Pass by giving homeowners vouchers, cheap season passes and other perks to get rental rates down.
Check HR departments at each resort. Coolworks covers much of these options all across the country.