Every email, each blog post that I come across of the “should I, shouldn’t I” nature in regards to living in a ski town, moving to the mountains, I want to yell from the top of my lungs, just do it! I tend to hold back though understanding that telling family and friends that your taking off to a ski town for a ski season or two (or three), or possibly for a lifetime doesn’t always cut it according to acceptable societal and familial rules and your left with the never ending “what ifs” …
I know, I’ve been there, but really, I think I do need to say this, if you are in a position to do so … just do it!
Making the decision. Do you have quite a bit of debt, a mortgage, kids, responsibilities that require you to stay in your present location? Yes, well than there is your answer, it is not the right time. This doesn’t have to mean never though, start formulating a plan. On the other hand, are you unencumbered yet over analyzing the decision? Will I miss out on the next best job? Do I need to be in a large metropolitan area in order to move forward in my career? Will I be able to buy a house in 5 years? Will I never get married? What if? What happens if … ?
The truth is you can go, you can come back, you can follow your passion and life will still go on and even quite possibly thrive if you follow through with this dream.
I believe it was 2 maybe 3 years before I finally picked myself up and moved westward. Basically, I did not enjoy city life (at all) and the suburban dream was not calling my name so I started in Colorado and then ended up in Jackson Hole for over a decade. I looked up, out and beyond the Tetons every day with no regrets. Not a fantasy, but real life, filled with normal every day ups and downs, a lifestyle that definitely worked for me. And most importantly, this small mountain town became home.
What people say about ski towns and mountain living
I came across this blog posting heading “Anyone ever move to a ski mountain and hate it” on epicski.com and had to read further. Hate living in the mountains? I couldn’t imagine.
The Blog Poster’s scenario:
“…business/ job no longer excites me and my house has become more of a burden than a pleasure. I’m im my 30’s never married and no kids. Most of my friends are married with kids etc. I’m thinking of selling my business and my house and moving out west. Just not sure if this is the right decision. I’m sick of the city and am at a ski mountain every weekend as it is. Wondering if anyone has felt this way, moved out west only to find it wasn’t what they wanted.”
So I read on and picked out some of the comments to share …
* “If the stars are aligned for you, or you can align them, do it. If you don’t you will have one more regret to fill your time with. Don’t dis the tourists, they pay for all the really good stuff.”
* “Take with grain of salt from conservative, old fogie who never left for the mountains…you appear to be a good candidate for such a move since you have few material or emotional attachments. Shaking up a less-than-ideal status quo usually leads to good things and nothing says the move has to be forever. If you go to a true ski town prepare to be poor working in a service industry and ready to accept that you’ll have less toys, but a nicer yard to play in.”
* “…after 9 years of living in tahoe and getting to ski every day my love for skiing has gotten stronger each season. i appreciate it more and spend more time at the hill each year.
* “The 95% of regrets I have are from the times I shoulda done or tired something and didn’t.
Fact: I had the chance to move to the Sierras 11 years before I did. Doors were wide open. I didn’t due to fear and not wanting to leave the familiar. I wish I had made the earlier move in retrospect.”
* “Don’t know what business you are in, but the skills to run one normally transfer. Most communities always need, and welcome, capable people. Just do not let the new boss work you to the point you don’t have time to ski, seen that too. If you like what you find a new life is there for you. If it is not your idea of how you want to live your life you’ll return to what you are doing refreshed and have memories you will treasure. “
* “Here’s another reality check. Not everyone has the same definition of success or happiness. There are plenty of people that stopped one day and realized that the boring job, Mcmansion in the suburbs, and the cost associated with it wasn’t for them. Some people don’t want all that. Welcome to the rest of the real world. Who are you to decide what way is right? I say do what makes you happy. if you want to sell everything you own. Move to the mountains. Don’t let anyone tell you how your life should be lived.”
* “I made a similar decision when I was in my 20’s to move to Maui. Lot’s of similarities I’m guessing. I think it depends on your priorities. To me, outdoor recreation was a priority. However, now that I have a family, mortgage, etc, there are other prioriites as well. I think the best case scenario is to have a successful career ( unfortunately, you need money to live) and to feel like you’re part of a real community. All of that takes time and committment. If I had to guess, there are “locals” in every community. however, in a resort town, it can be hard to break into that community as they are used to seeing people come and go. If you’re a PT, that’s something you could build a career on. Assuming you need money to live, it’s a pretty good mix to live somewhere that’s beautiful and gives you the opportunity to do great outdoor sports. But there’s more to living than just doing the outdoor sports. But, depending on priorities, you don’t necessarily need great opera and theater to live a good life. Just my 2 cents. “
* “I too am almost twice your age. My experience tells me that you are more likely to have regrets for the things you do not do than the regrets you have for the times you step outside the box and try something new that does not work out. The world is full of old codgers sitting on the porch saying, “Well I coulda”. It’s not 100%, but the odds are with you to be happier in the mountains, particularly if you do your homework. Remember you do not have to be in a ski resort to be in the mountains. There are cities like Santa Fe, Denver, Reno and Salt Lake City that a very close to mountains. There are smaller places like Bozeman, Spokane and Kallispell too. There are also jobs that can be done from anywhere in the world. I think 8 out of 10 of us who did not do what you’re thinking of doing regret not giving it a try.”
Having no regrets. A family emergency over two years ago in the east had me leaving the mountains which lead to a second and then a third family emergency. While facing these challenges in a place I left behind years ago, I often think about what it would have been like if I never would have left. Scary. So thankful that I had the courage to leave for myself and the compassion to come back for my family. Feeling comfortable and confident in the choices made both now and fifteen years ago, I can be strong for my family and at peace with myself knowing that the mountains will always be there to welcome me back.
Life happens, it is meant to be lived. I am sure you have heard, the only true constant in life is change. If you have the opportunity and the desire to go to explore a new and different way of life, embrace this, it will likely only enhance the life you already know.