Outside Magazine’s May issue just hit the stands with the cover feature, “The 50 best Jobs”. The article highlights career profiles, best companies to work for and those souls lucky, skilled (and adventurous) enough to have these jobs. No surprise here … many are based in ski towns.
Achieving a balance of work and play is a key factor in mountain living. If you move to the mountains and do not have the time to enjoy the natural environment you live in … it pretty much defeats the reason you chose the mountain lifestyle in the first place.
The article begins …
Seeking ambitious individuals hungry for life-affirming employment in emergent industries. A firm understanding of the need to balance work and play is preferred. Ideal candidates think big, enjoy travel, and are plagued by a voice that keeps repeating, You can do better than this.
as for some of the best jobs mentioned …
* Endurance Trainer/Coach
Not only is this a popular profession working with athletes but there is a substantial market for personal trainers to work with seasonal/part-time residents who regularly work with a trainer wherever they go.
* Landscape Architect
Great mountain job. Architects, Engineers, Land Surveyors, Interior Designers, Project Managers … a few other popular full-time careers in resort towns.
* Resort Host
Hosts, Concierge, Guides … High end destination resort visitors want service … top notch service and they are willing to pay for it. A favorite for the mountain adventurous types … Ski Guides, River Guides, Climbing Guides, and Fishing Guides. They often work long, strenuous hours, are highly skilled, and highly passionate about what they do.
* Adventure Consultant
A business consultant who helps tour operators develop their adventure tourism products. The featured consultant in the article travels the world testing out these products!
* Sustainability Director
Green Resorts are big these days with more and more resorts adding Environmental Managers to their staff ever year. For example, see Jackson Hole’s newest green hotel, Hotel Terra.
* Helicopter Pilot
Fighting fires in the summer and heli ski guide in the winter … another adventurous mountain local favorite.
* Adventure Filmmaker
This was listed as the ultimate dream job. Quoted from the article, ”Series depicting real people taking serious risks have left the developmental sidelines to become top cable-programming goals.” They highlight six positions from the crew on Discovery Channel’s, “Deadliest Catch”. One of the key positions noted … ”Gyroscopic Camera Operator”- ”Manually tilts, pans, and zooms a $600,000 specialty camera-while seated in a helicopter frequently batted by 50-knot Arctic winds and capable of flying 100 miles per hour.”
A handful more of the jobs noted in the article that you will often see in a ski resort town … Gear Designers, Snow-Sports Entrepreneur, Action-Sports Agent, Wine Director, Bike Builder, Executive Chef, Libations Professional.
In reading on through the best companies to work for, the Ketchum, Idaho Smith Optics company profile caught my eye. These are the kind of benefits that encourage employee retention in a ski town …
“At Smith, it’s flextime, most of the time: Get your work done, and you can establish your own hours. In a ski town with world-class mountain biking and fishing, that matters. To help employees of this sunglasses and ski-goggles manufacturer take full advantage, Smith gives each worker $900 per year to spend a ski pass or gym membership. Each week the 68 Smithies can take one 2.5-hour lunch to ski, bike, run, boat, or fish.”
As far as the ultimate balance in work and play in a ski town … it is not always such an easy task to achieve, but if the employer acknowledges the value of employee retention and the reason people choose the outdoor lifestyle, and the employee acknowledges that hard work is required to receive the extra outdoor benefits as the reward, the ultimate balance can (and does) actually occur. It takes a good deal of communication and trust to make it work, but when it does work, it does so wonderfully … and is a win-win situation for all.