How often do you find articles written about the work/life balance of let’s say, an engineer or an architect based in a place like Jackson Hole, Vail … or Park City, Utah?
Not too often I am sure. It is not that these people are not important in their communities (quite the contrary), but what the general public is usually “surfing” for in regards to resorts like Jackson Hole, Vail and Park City is information about skiing, powder, vacations, and ski resort jobs … and they are not usually wondering (or caring) whether or not Joe the accountant in Jackson Hole gets to take an extra long ski break on a powder day!
This can be disappointing to those of you who have just made the life changing decision to leave the rat race and head west to the high country because you are actually wondering if the “Joe’s” of Jackson Hole get to take an extra long ski break on a powder day.
Will you be able to maintain your career that you have been building for the past 5-10 years and enjoy the mountain lifestyle as well? Will you finally move to a ski town only to have little time to ski? Will a resort job be satisfying and can you afford to take that slice in pay? Commonly asked questions before making the big mountain move.
A ski forum discussion I read recently was started by an engineer who was considering leaving his steady job, solid salary for a ski tech job in a ski town for about a third of his current pay. The majority of the responses he received were either to stick with the career, or the exact opposite, some variation of “live the life” and forget about the career. A few responses though suggested more of a compromise, and how to maintain the career while allowing for more time to ski.
Offering part-time, flex-time hours to a company that is in need of your skill may be an option for you to consider. It is one solution that I have seen work very well for professionals in their transition from a big city to a small ski town. It is a way to continue on the career path while getting to know more about the mountain lifestyle, and can often lead to a long-standing mutually respectful, working relationship with that company.
After a period of time, many of you will opt for a full-time schedule while others will change your career completely. As I am reminded every time I leave the mountains, the culture of a mountain town is so very different from a city. It will be very difficult to predict exactly how things will unfold prior to making such a major lifestyle change. To the best of your ability, try to stay flexible, open to the unfamiliar … and embrace and enjoy the change. I can only say from my own experience that it was the best decision I ever made.