Spring Skiing at Park City Mountain Resort

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Skiing

Less than six months after graduating college, I got fired from my first job. Facebook post from when I lost my job and moved to Park City.

I was hit with a tidal wave of emotion: anger, disbelief, and finally relief.  For the past 5 months, I had been losing weight working 75-hour weeks and going to classes on nights and weekends.  This was my chance to change that.  The next morning, I applied for a job as a ski instructor in Utah.  4 weeks later, I was spending my work day at 9,000 feet in the Wasatch Mountains.

 

My 4 months in Park City was one of the best times of my life.

I stood feet away at the Olympic Trials for Bobsled, Moguls, and Aerials; I walked the streets with the celebrities at Sundance Film Festival; and I made great friends from around the country; all while skiing at some of the best ski resorts in the country and making money doing it.

The US Men's 4-Man Bobsled Team in Park City, UT.
The US Olympic Bobsled team…from ten feet away!

In life, things are not always what they seem.

Diets never work.  Politicians lie.  And your favorite sports team never seems to get over that hump.  But being a ski instructor is exactly what it seems. 

 

Yes, you need to be a strong technical skier; and you need to like kids and have patience.  If you can do that, you will get to spend your days out on the mountain surrounded by amazing views and fresh powder.

When things don’t go well, you build a snowman, have a snowball fight, or take a hot chocolate break.  On your days off, you ski for free at some of the best resorts in the country.  So what are you waiting for?

But where should I go?

I worked at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, UT and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Deer Valley’s ski school is consistently ranked #1 in children’s programs by Ski magazine and has over 500 ski instructors each season.  You’ll get more hours, better tips, and teach more celebrities’ kids how to pizza and how to French fry than anywhere else in the country.

Deer Valley Resort in Park City, UT
Deer Valley after a fresh snow. Image: Nick Pistone

 What if I don’t really like kids?

Don’t fret, there’s hope for you yet!  While ski instructors make more money than most people who work at a ski resort, EVERYONE who works there gets ski benefits.  Whether you work on the lifts, in the restaurants, or in the ski shop, you still get to ski for free on your days off.  Many resorts also offer employees free or discounted passes at other resorts in the area.

Will I miss out on building my career?

No.  The office will always be there.  But the energy to ski 110 days straight will not.  I didn’t find a job right away when the season ended.  I didn’t always have the necessary experience.  But I always had something interesting to talk about in an interview.  And after a couple months, I joined my friends living the big city life working in front of a computer screen from 9-5; and I didn’t miss a beat.  I’ve lived in three cities and done, seen, and skied more things than most people my age.  Take a chance!

You won’t regret it.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Jackson Hole, WY.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort moments before I shredded the *&%# out of it. Image: Nick Pistone

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