Friday, October 17, 2008

Ski bums finding the bumming hard

A good article on NewWest.net looks at an issue afflicting modern-day ski bums in Rocky Mountain ski towns: The bumming ain't cheap.

"Ski bum housing search grows desperate," by Michael Pearlman, examines how the days of living cheap in some lovely little mountain town so you can work a slave-labor job -- but one that comes with a ski pass -- so you can ski your arse off and hang with a tribe of other powder fiends have fallen victim to second-home and luxury life-style economics.
As gentrification extends to every back-alley cabin and shag-carpeted rental condo, it’s the workers on the lowest rung of the employment ladder that are most affected. When real estate prices skyrocketed in recent years, landlords and deep-pocketed investors cashed in, remodeling and selling older, low-end condominiums, the lifeblood of the rental market in most mountain towns. New owners who financed purchases with no money down had to increase rents to cover their mortgages, while skid housing was demolished to make way for new construction.
Personally, as a graduate of the School of Ski Bumming, this is tragic. College is fine; but for a real education in Life and How To Live It, nothing can beat a season, or seasons (or life, as some of us have stretched this portion of our educations) lived simply and scraping by in exchange for place and tribe and getting out and actually doing things.

And to do that, to experience that, to learn that, there must be places to do that. Entire micro-economies that feed that.

Maybe it's time for a ski-bum bailout, eh?
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