For the last five years I've proudly represented a minority in the ski industry: a girl.
Being the only girl working in ski shops has pros and cons. The perks? Residing outside of the ever-strange "alpha male" social phenomenon, giving feminine insight to coworkers confused by their lady friends, and getting all the cool women's stuff out of the lost and found. The downside? Definitely getting brushed aside by some guy who can't take ski advice from a woman. I've lost count of how many dudes have sidestepped me to find someone with a beard to help. Its a sore spot. I've taken to wearing a name tag that says "I work here" to try and make a point. The other downside? I've listened to more dubstep and gangsta' rap than I ever wanted to, and I have heard awful details about the nocturnal activities of my ski bum bros. Girls should never ever be privy to guy talk.
The reason I work in the ski industry is because I think skiing is a great time, and I like talking about gear with people. And so far, doing for work what I do for fun is going pretty well.
While working in ski shops around Aspen I spent my days renting out skis by the hundreds each day and slipping out around noon for a few hours on my own. Skiing the endless glades, cliffs, pockets and pow fields was a rip-roarin', smooth whooshin', big grinnin' good time. It was an intense place to work, and and an intense place to ski. These days I live in Marble and mostly ski there. Working at Cripple Creek Backcountry is a joy, and feels so pure after the hustle up around Aspen. My whole lifestyle changed. I end my days now in front of my fireplace instead of getting kicked outta bars for being obnoxious. I still love to ski hard but I look at skiing now more as a mode of transportation. (In Marble it's actually a practical way to get around) On skis you are a mountaineer. With safety and self-preservation in mind you can go anywhere you want. Skiing changed for me and became quieter, harder, more beautiful and so freeing. I can put my skis on standing on my front porch and hike to anything I see. It's the most efficient way to hike for half the year!
Sometimes I think I just get hired to break up the testosterone. Even if that's true I'm grateful to help other people do the sport I think is so much fun. If you ever need advice on ski boots, avalanche conditions, or have a sweet ski story to share come to the shop in Carbondale for a visit. I'll be the one with a name-tag on.