My Eddie Vedder wanna-be days.
When I moved to Jackson Hole in 1993, I knew no one. It was a big change for me, coming from suburban Connecticut to the wild west, but I was determined to make a go at being a ski bum. I spent my first 6 years in Jackson working in the lift operations department at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The first year I worked the Crystal Springs lift (now Sweetwater) and moved my way up the hill to the Casper chair and on to Sublette…referred to as “The Quad” by locals. After doing my time bumping chairs, I became what was referred to as a ‘lead rover’, more or less a foreman position for all the lifts on the hill….which inevitably meant more skiing on the clock. A good thing.
Sometimes I think back to those days and remember how simple life was and how important those years were in fine tuning my skiing abilities. As a liftie, you were forced to ski in every weather and snow condition imaginable, whether it was skiing icy bumps in Rendezvous Bowl in zero visibility or helping ski patrol close the mountain late in the day when not a soul would even think about skiing the Lower Faces.
I feel like Iskied a lot more back then, literally everyday, and it was all I could do to get some food into my body before I would pass out on the couch, much to the annoyance of my roommates. There was no time for girlfriends, or blogs, or even photographs, and it was all I could do to live up to the nickname I had acquired….X-Steve. Sometimes I think what it would be like to be a Village rat again, but those thoughts quickly disappear when I think how great the solitude of the backcountry is and remind myself that quality…is better than quantity.