This story originally published in the February 2016 issue of POWDER (44.6).
The media is saturated with idealized images of rad people self-actualizing in the alpine while wearing colors that pop and articles about The Best Mountain Town—nothing but sunny powder days and Adventure Lifestyles as far as the eye can see.
Ski Town is the laugh-out-loud counterpoint, a reality-based sitcom about living in the perennially second-rate resort village of Mount Shredly, where starry-eyed dreams collide with third-world housing, crap jobs in the rental shop, weird rich tourists, and blown knees. The show will center on the lives of young rental shop employees as they figure out how to Live The Dream on $11 an hour.
All the ingredients of Compelling Television are there: sex, suspense, avalanches, rental skis, dramatic failure and redemption, ecstasy, shame, mustaches, malamutes, mixed husky-malamutes, two-dollar PBRs, and an apocalyptic Town Downhill where the stakes couldn't be higher.
1. Six Pack Bro Tune
The boys are stoked when they get jobs in the ski shop because the locals trade them beer and weed for ski repair work and they make a lot of new friends. By January, they realize they can't pay rent with beer and weed and they never ski anymore because they've either been fixing base damage or are heavily intoxicated. They stop taking beer for tunes and lose all their new friends.
2. Johnny Gets Sponsored
Johnny quits the rental shop, gets a bunch of cool gear, does a video interview while wearing a branded ball cap, finds a hot girlfriend, and then blows his knee at his first photo shoot. He has to go back to work at the rental shop and sell all his cool gear on eBay—except for the stuff he gave to his now ex-girlfriend—to pay his deductible.
In a montage of Johnny's visits, Shredly Memorial Hospital is revealed to be the most successful business in town thanks to all the blown ACLs. The doctors are masters of knee surgery, but incapable of treating anything else. People signing in with flu symptoms or erectile dysfunction wake up in a recovery room with patellar tendon grafts. A shadowy scene shows Johnny's orthopedist passing an envelope of cash to the guy in charge of building jumps in the snowboard park.
3. Firsties and Lasties
Tired of always losing out in the battle for first tracks, Johnny decides to sleep in and go up late on the next pow day. The next morning, everyone else waits for hours in line as the patrol does avalanche control on the upper mountain, until tempers flair and a brawl erupts in the lift maze, leading to mass arrests. Johnny shows up after everyone has been carted off to jail just as the top opens. He has it to himself, the best day ever, but nobody is there to Instagram him teeing off on everything, and people get super pissed when he tries to talk about it after they get out of jail.
4. Harvest of Sorrow
In October, everyone goes to Humboldt to trim weed. It sounds great: just camp out, smoke up, and scissor buds in a tent with some hippies. Which turns out to be the most monotonous thing ever, and the hippies are weird. Everyone opts to get paid in an amount of weed theoretically worth twice the cash they're owed, flooding the local market with now-worthless dope and leaving the entire town mired in apathy. In the final scene, the rental shop skids have run out of firewood and are burning weed in the wood stove and spreading it on the icy driveway for traction.
5. Everyone Goes To Europe To Ski
And it's the exact same thing as home, except the locals there treat them like tourists and get upset when they put Alta stickers on everything. Plus, there are crevasses. Poodles roam the streets instead of malamutes, and everyone smokes cigarettes at all times. When the locals return to Mount Shredly, they wear scarves, say "ciao," and have Speedo-clad sunbathing and wine picnics on the ski hill while talking about how tranquille it was in Cham.
6. Shralp Squadron
Johnny hears a rumor that the ultimate core local bros, the Shredly Shralp Squadron, are considering him for induction. In order to impress them, he turns into Johnny Gnar and hucks off everything in sight until he blows his knee, again. It turns out they were going to induct him anyway, specifically because he was always holding weed from all the bro tunes and the trimming episode, but they didn't want to distract him while he was on such a tear. He gets his squadron patch ("Shralp, Shred, Schuss") in the hospital from one of the most respected skiers in town, who's in the adjacent bed recovering from the total knee replacements that were recommended to treat his mild but persistent shin-bang.
7. Taco Tequila Tuesday
After a particularly intense Taco Tequila Tuesday at El Bandito, everybody accidentally switches boyfriends and girlfriends. Nothing really changes.
8. Town Downhill
Everything is on the line as Johnny duels with fate on pair of 223s. Will he win back the heart of his ski racer ex-girlfriend, stop a secret plot by Vail to buy the ski area, and save an adorable malamute from peril? Stay tuned for the next episode.