How To Become A Ski Bum? [Expert Guide!]

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If you live in the United States and you’ve always dreamed of traveling Europe in the winter, your dreams may be about to come true! Backcountry Traveler, a travel company specializing in off-piste adventures in the winter, recently launched a full-time job posting seeking experienced skiers who want to live their dream and make a career out of skiing in the winter.

The job posting reads as follows:

Live Your Dream: Travel Europe in the Winter

Do you dream of traveling to Europe in the winter? Getting away from the crowds, exploring the backcountry, and taking in the views are some of the perks of a ski trip to Europe. But you need a winter vacation arranged, the right visa, and to be able to afford the trip. You may not be able to arrange the first two, but you can certainly get yourself on a budget for the third.

Off-piste travel in the winter is not a new concept, and a number of travel companies specialize in helping skiers navigate off-piste terrains in the snow. Backcountry Traveler offers a curated collection of experiences designed to satisfy the needs of experienced winter sport enthusiasts who want to live their dream and make a career out of skiing.

What is an Off-Piste Adventure?

Backcountry Traveler describes an off-piste adventure as “a backcountry ski tour that does not follow clearly defined trails and takes place away from the slopes.” In other words, it’s going where the snow (or sometimes the rocks) leads.

Though you may not end up in the exact spot you target, off-piste skiing is still a form of skiing, and it’s a legitimate way to explore a ski resort. The snow can be unpredictable and changeable, with weather patterns affecting the runs and lift services.

The lack of trail signage and frequent changes in weather and conditions make off-piste tours very interesting to explore. If you’ve never tried it, why not? Tourists often flock to popular ski resorts in the winter, but there is so much more to discover in the backcountry!

Why Make The Switch?

If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at skiing, but were intimidated by the thought of taking on the slopes, now may be the right time to give it a try. With more people than ever trying to get away from the grind, more and more people are looking to make a change. With the cost of living continually rising, it’s not easy to find the finance to embark on a new adventure.

Skiing is a winter sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities. Though the thrill of skiing may not be for everyone, it’s certainly an attraction that’s worth a try.

Where Do I Need To Go?

If you want to become a ski bum, you need to travel to one of the top European ski resorts. These are the biggest and most popular resorts, often visited by royalty and famous sports stars. Though there are hundreds of smaller resorts across the continent, if you want to make a real career out of skiing, you need to head to a top European destination.

The choice of destination is completely up to you. You may want to try Val d’Isere in the French Alps, for example, or Thredbo in the Australian Alps. Do you want to go to the more traditional locations, like Switzerland and France? It’s your choice. Just remember that the farther you go west, the harsher the winters, with only a few locations in Spain offering a decent winter holiday.

How Do I Get There?

To get to a top European ski resort, you first need a plane ticket. The options are endless, with low-cost carriers like United making it easier than ever to get away for the winter. You also need a visa to travel to Europe for the winter. Check with the nearest diplomatic mission or embassy for the best application form, and ensure you have all the required documentation in order to secure the visa. Expect to pay some fees for this service, as well as an additional cost for the visa itself.

What Do I Do While I’m There?

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, the next step is to look for work. No, not as a ski instructor or a ski valet. You want to become a ski bum, so you need to get a job in the town that pays you to ski. This may mean getting a summer job in the town you’ve traveled to in the winter, which could even be part-time. Just remember that the more seasonal work you can get, the better, as travel is expensive and you won’t be able to support yourself solely on seasonal work.

Aside from working, you may want to consider doing some research into the history of your chosen destination. For example, if you’ve never been to Val d’Isere before, you may want to learn more about the history of the resort and the french alps in general. This could also involve reading books or research papers written by prominent historians and authors from the area.

Can I Live A Normal Life During The Winter?

If you’ve always dreamed of traveling Europe in the winter and making a living off your hobby, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. The snow may give you a bad case of winter fever, but you’re still free to explore the city you’ve fallen in love with in the winter as often as you like. Just remember that shopping centers, museums, and other towns may close down during the harsh winter months, so you may find yourself snowed in for part of the winter. The travel restrictions and closed businesses that come with the winter climate are certainly a stark contrast to the daily grind of a normal life, but they may be an attraction that draws you back year after year.

The Rewards Of Becoming A Ski Bum

Aside from the all-around entertainment value of skiing and the freedom to explore a new town in the winter, there are a number of perks that come with the job. These include a steady paycheck, health insurance, paid vacation, and more. After taxes and other deductions, you may even end up paying less in taxes than you would if you worked a standard job. The rewards for becoming a ski bum are certainly there if you can see them!

If you’ve ever thought about trying your hand at skiing, but were intimidated by the thought of taking on the slopes, now may be the right time to give it a go. With more people than ever trying to get away from the grind, more and more people are looking to make a change. With the cost of living continually rising, it’s not easy to find the finance to embark on a new adventure. Still, the rewards for becoming a ski bum are definitely there if you can see them!

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