Q: I get free gear from ski companies because I have a lot of social media followers. I'm kind of a pro, but my friends give me constant shit for it. How do I tell them to back off?
—Andrew, Salt Lake City, UT
Oh, hun. If you have a lot of social media followers, do you even need real friends? Seriously, I can't believe you're complaining about this. It sounds like your ego is bigger than the lift line at Vail on a powder day. You aren't as cool as the internet thinks you are.
After you cut yourself a nice big slice of reality check, wash that down with some get-over-yourself, and realize that your friends are jealous bastards. Anyone who is on your case about free gear is envious you've mastered the art of the Bro Deal by hammering the rep who casually said to hit him up the one time you took a lap together after your cousin's wedding in Reno. That sarcastic comment in the lift line from your bros, 'Hey man, nice jacket. You pay for that?' is likely to be followed up with a text asking for your contact's contact info.
Look, if your homeboy over at Helly Hansen likes you enough to send you free gear, you have to own it—hashtags, selfies, liftline gloating, and all. You are a "brand" now. That's what you signed up for when you haggled this hookup. So do your job, pipe down, and post another selfie.
Q: I just moved to a new ski town and I've already noticed ski cliques like The Kweens, Carnage Boys, and Cave People. Their houses have names like sororities and frats; they have Instagram pages and stickers plastered around town. What the hell is this? Does college ever end?
—Alexis, Bozeman, MT
Young people who move to ski towns are usually looking for new friends who aren't square city folk with tucked-in polo shirts. Hoards of socially anxious skiers find each other in the lift line and bada-bing, it's like the Island of Misfit Toys with way more beer.
If you are deemed "sick" enough to be invited into a ski crew that has stickers on the electrical box outside the dive bar, consider this your warning. Friend-incest culture is at large, cigarettes are a staple, semi-impressive GoPro edits will max out your newsfeed, disposable camera flashes will blind you at house parties (yes, there will be house parties), and there's a chance you'll end up dying your hair blonde.
If that's not your style, your people are the other high-minded ones talking smack on the ski hill about the lame ski posses, and just like that, you—the anti-clique—will become a clique. So to answer your question: No, college never ends.
Q: My roommate is a legend on the mountain. He's perpetually stoked, skis 200 days a year, and I've never seen a more impressive mustache. But recently, he got a girlfriend who doesn't ski. Last week he skipped a pow day to do yoga with her. He swore he'd never shave his 'stache, but the second she asked him to, it vanished from his face. What do I do? We need our hero back.
—Sam, Telluride, CO
This is a tough situation. And let's face it, there is not a whole lot you can do to free this boy from the claws of young lust. (I say "boy" because no "legend" would be skipping powder days.) My solution to your wayward savant? Expose him to ski bum kryptonite: Fear Of Missing Out. Grown-ass men in ski towns have worse FOMO than a high school girl who didn't get asked to prom.
To activate maximum FOMO, start ignoring him. That line your roommate has been itching to ski for years? Gather the crew and go rip it without him. Bring babes. Take an excess of photos and swipe through them while you're drinking beers on the couch. Best-case scenario, your bud will ditch the girl in order to avoid the soul-crushing feeling of not having any photos of epic backcountry missions to post on Instagram. If none of this works, pour one out on the chairlift to honor your fallen soldier.