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How to Survive Busy Season in a Ski Town

Because we're not all on vacation

This rendition of advice on life and love from a girl in a ski town we call Sweet Jane (she's not that sweet) was first published in our December 2016 issue (45.4).
Illustration: Andy Rementer

If she's not my girlfriend, do I have to hang out with her parents when they come skiing?
—Anthony, Big Sky

Oh, Tony… Tony, Tony, Tony. You might not think she's your girlfriend, but if she wants you to meet her parents, she definitely thinks you're her boyfriend. You have two options:

1) Let her down gently, and then when she takes someone else home from the New Year's party you're both at to get back at you, understand that it's your fault and try not to be a little bitch about it.

Or 2) Put on a clean shirt, brush your hair, smile placidly through the dinner her family wants to treat you to and try not to talk about politics or the plans you don't have for the rest of your life.

Look on the bright side: Since parents who visit their kids in ski towns usually have money, at least it'll be a restaurant you could never afford to go to by yourself.

Tickets go up to $160 a day at my resort during Christmas. That's more money than I make bartending most nights. So why are these lift lines so damn long? You'd think at these prices, this place would be a ghost town. How can this many people afford it?
—Stacey, Frisco

I have no idea, especially because it's not just your resort. Every resort raises ticket prices during the holidays, and it does nothing to deter crowds. Where does the money come from? There aren't that many investment bankers/doctors/lawyers in the world, are there? No, seriously. Are there?

Here's a good thing to keep in mind when you're working doubles during the high season getting shit on by people who think of service-industry workers as servants, and act accordingly: Most of these shirt-tuckers work 50 weeks a year just to be able to afford to play for 7-14 days in the places we call home.

And by the time they're ready to retire to a town like the ones we already live in, they'll be too damn old and beat up to enjoy it. So let them have their fancy cars and 401Ks and mortgages and spoiled, bratty kids. We are rich in life.

Also, people who never ski can't hang for more than a couple of hours on the slopes, so they only wad the lift lines until lunchtime. You can handle it.

My friends are finally visiting, but I have to work doubles for 10 days straight. How do I find someone to cover my shift on NYE?
—Derek, Truckee

Buddy, unless someone you work with owes you a big favor—big as in, you donated a kidney to their mother or set them up with their now-spouse—nobody is going to save you from ringing in 2017 on the clock. Tell your bros to come by the bar while you're working, and instead of spending all your money in one night, you'll be walking into the New Year with a fat stack of cash. Cash you'll need because you know what pairs nicely with a January 1 hangover? Paying rent.

Besides, New Year's Eve is statistically the most disappointing holiday of them all thanks to whomever decided it was only about champagne and "magic" moments. In reality, it's overcrowded bars, making resolutions you know won't last three days, getting vomitted on by Jimmy, and forgetting to nominate a designated driver before the ball drops, leaving you walking home in wind that blows sideways and backward at the same time.

You should be thanking your boss for giving you an excuse not to make elaborate plans that won't pan out. Save your days off for when everybody goes home, Jimmy isn't mean drunk, the lift lines clear, and it's just you checking off your bucket list on the mountain.