ABC's ski bumming season 2017, Part II, North America - Page 8

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  1. #71

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    Misses, mistakes, regrets, lessons learned

    Misses:

    I didn't use all my MCP days, nor all the mountains in it. Realistically, there're only so many days I can ski. So between Epic and MCP, I ran out of time to hit them all. It's mostly a choice of which one is in good condition when I'm in the vicinity. Some of them were just not ripe when I was around.

    Of the mountains I REALLY wanted to hit, I missed Telluride by just one day! (or one week depends on how one counts). Was planning to hit it the Monday after they close.

    Also, although I brought my xc skis. But I never found good condition to xc ski. Practically everywhere I went, it's far too warm (would have been very slow going in the slush)


    Mistakes:

    For the most part, the season worked out pretty well. So there's no big mistake I can recall that I wish I had done completely opposite.

    Smaller stuff, mostly travel related.

    - Probably the biggest missed opportunity was my stay at Japan was too short! Having paid for the long flight over there, I only skied 4 days. Part of it was I under-estimated the transit time on the ground, going from airport to ski resort and back. I ended up spending 3 of my days IN Japan travelling and only 4 days skiing.

    - Navigation: I mentioned it at the time (above in this thread): DON'T blindly trust GPS! It can send you over some little travelled road with questionable condition IN THE WINTER.

    - Lodging on the road: Since I was driving, I prefer not to pre-book lodging. For the most part, I was able to find decent lodging at reasonable price while on the road. But I made one big booboo one night. I arrived at Boise and found EVERY SINGLE MOTEL FULL due to state basketball championship!

    - Lodging on mountain: For resort stay, I pre-book but pick the ones that has liberal cancellation policy till I'm sure of the weather. But at Whistler, it's just too expensive to add one last night, it being a Saturday night. SHOULD HAVE BEEN PREPARED TO CAMP IN MY CAR! (it was above freezing, car was in an underground garage, have access to shower + hot tub, next day skiing was free anyway)

    - I skied Jackson 4 days, 2 of which I had to pay (50%). The condition weren't that good on first day. I should have skipped it and just rest up. Especially since I skied extremely hard the previous 2 days (powder days at SLC).

    - Similarly, I wasn't very good at picking which mountain to go to after a storm, when there're multiple mountain to choose from. So the SLC/Jackson leg, I wasted some quality time at the wrong mountain or stuck on the road. I got better at that by the time I hit Tahoe. Partly because I met a bunch of people from Tahoe area attending the Whistler gathering. So each of them provided their own inside information on which mountain NOT to go DURING storm and which one to go AFTER a storm.

    - I thought about taking some lessons to help improve my skiing. But somehow didn't how find the right solution. I didn't want to just randomly drop in on some unknown lessons. That's something I'll try a bit harder next season.


    Lessons Learned:

    The biggest lesson learn was the Japan part of the trip. Next time, I'll need to do better research on connecting buses to flight timing so I can minimize travel time and maximize my time on the mountain. I'll probably spend all my time in one spot instead of splitting it into two (and end up wasting a whole day just getting from one place to another). That said, I anticipate all my future trip to Japan still be only partially skiing (I have family in Hong Kong. I go often, but can't just blow them off and go skiing the ENTIRE TIME). I just need to make better use of my days once I reach Japan.

    Ironically, the longest time I spend was at Summit county. Unfortunately due to weather pattern, I didn't have any REAL powder day there! A couple days of a few inches here and there. And a lot of lovely cream cheese. But otherwise underwhelming.

    I did use those non-powder days to work on my skiing. I think I had something to show for it by the time I got to Whistler. People I skied with last year said I skied "much better" this year. Plus, I can ski bell to bell day after day.

    Towards the tail end of the season, I also started on my new tele gear and ran with it on some days. But I can't say I've seen much result from that one yet. I must admit by then, I was somewhat bored with days and days of soft-to-slushy groomers. Had I not had my tele-gear as a diversion, I would have quit by mid-April.

    I would have been way better off to spend more time at Tahoe in terms of catch the powder. On the other hand, the Tahoe Vail Mountain are far apart. So I wouldn't have quite the same freedom to hit the right mountain base on each days condition.

    Also, not having "free" lodging at south Tahoe, it would have been a lot more expensive. So unless I see good potential of powder, it was hard to justify basing down there.

    I'm not sure how I would/should have done it differently, balancing cost while chasing good snow. So it's still an on-going lesson I'm in the middle of learning.


    Regrets:

    That I haven't done this earlier!!!








    Last edited by abc; May 6, 2017 at 8:25 PM.

  2. #72
    How far is the good skiing in Japan from Tokyo? My closest cousin is taking a job transfer this summer from Singapore to Tokyo. It won't be next winter, but I'd like to visit him. When I go, hitting the big snow region of Japan is definitely going to happen. What can I expect?

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  3. #73
    Did you land on your feet career-wise or are you going to be a permanent ski bum

  4. #74
    I'm thinking about 4 hours from Tokyo to Hakuba Valley (Happo One, Hakuba Cortina, Hakuba 47/Goryu). I never went to Nosawa Onsen when I was there which was a colossal mistake. You can take bullet train then to a local train.

    This got me so fired up to go back there:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HDsMeVB3ik
    And:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ahp2IAeYR4

  5. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by deadheadskier View Post
    How far is the good skiing in Japan from Tokyo?
    There're skiing close to Tokyo. But I've not skied there.

    I went to Hokaido which is a different island than Tokyo. Most people take an internal flight to get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimk View Post
    Did you land on your feet career-wise or are you going to be a permanent ski bum
    Neither.
    Last edited by abc; May 7, 2017 at 12:49 PM.

  6. #76

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    Partway through my season, some AZ'er popped the question:

    "do you think returning to suburbia is going to be a difficult adjustment after all this travelling? Will you maybe start making a plan for a more permanent move, like saving a pile of money-live lean for awhile while working?"

    At the time, I hadn't been into the season long enough to answer that question. But I think I can now.

    But first, a summary of what I like and dislike of the past 3 months.
    I enjoyed my road trip. I particularly enjoy the traveling and seeing different mountains part.

    I also make sure I stay put for just long enough to get to know the mountain I'm stopping. I particularly enjoy meeting others who're just as enthusiastic about skiing. Sharing turns on the mountain were the highlight of my trip.

    Skiing almost become the excuse for my travel. Wait... skiing IS just the excuse, traveling and meeting people is what I enjoy the most!


    Conclusion

    With that, I think I can now answer the question of "what next?" Or at least what I WISH to do next, that is.

    There're TWO aspect to the question put to me:

    1) Work vs Ski

    So...instead of keeping my head down, work hard and save hard for an early retirement to the mountains, I think I prefer to ski more NOW!

    However, that doesn't mean I want to ski, ski and ski some more. Or non-stop skiing without working. I don't actually like skiing all the time. (shock!?)

    I really do want to find a way to work less, ski more. A lot more. But not skiing all the time, and without totally stop working.

    That, obviously will have impact on my finances. It would mean I need to work more YEARS if I work less each year. But I feel that's what I really want. Rather than work, work, work, then stop working altogether to ski, ski, ski. I'd prefer to work, ski, work a bit more, ski some more etc. Whether I can make that pattern work out is a different matter. But that's my wish anyway.

    Part of the reason is I actually enjoy my line of work. So I'm not ready to quit working altogether in order to ski. I do want to ski more, but not necessarily skiing all the time. I had a couple of interviews in the middle of my trip. To prepare for the interviews, I had to do a quick refreshment of the technical stuff. I found the intellectual stimulation filled me with excitement all the same!


    2) "MOVE"! (to the mountains)
    More importantly, as I mentioned above, I also enjoy the travelling a lot. In fact, that's one of the MOST enjoyable aspect of my 2017 season!

    So, quitting the northeast and moving to ONE mountain (or even one mountain "region" such as the Summit county or Tahoe) for the rest of my life would NOT be my choice anyway. (that said, I wouldn't mind spending an entire ski season there, or even several seasons, may even include summers too! But I doubt I want to resettle to ANY of those places the rest of my life)

    That said, I'm awfully tempted when it was suggested that I look for work at say, Boulder, CO. I can see myself doing that for... a few years!


    Basically, I don't exactly want to be a ski bum. It's not the skiing that's all important and all consuming. It's an enjoyable pass time that I use as the excuse to travel all over the US (and the world), and the potential it provided for chance encounter of other like-minded people and the sharing of our experience.

    So, work less but continue working. Staying put. NYC is as good a base camp as many other cities. But will spent more time to the west, different mountains each year.
    Last edited by abc; May 8, 2017 at 8:13 PM.

  7. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by abc View Post
    Partway through my season, some AZ'er popped the question:

    "do you think returning to suburbia is going to be a difficult adjustment after all this travelling? Will you maybe start making a plan for a more permanent move, like saving a pile of money-live lean for awhile while working?"

    At the time, I hadn't been into the season long enough to answer that question. But I think I can now.

    But first, a summary of what I like and dislike of the past 3 months.
    I enjoyed my road trip. I particularly enjoy the traveling and seeing different mountains part.

    I also make sure I stay put for just long enough to get to know the mountain I'm stopping. I particularly enjoy meeting others who're just as enthusiastic about skiing. Sharing turns on the mountain were the highlight of my trip.

    Skiing almost become the excuse for my travel. Wait... skiing IS just the excuse, traveling and meeting people is what I enjoy the most!


    Conclusion

    With that, I think I can now answer the question of "what next?" Or at least what I WISH to do next, that is.

    There're TWO aspect to the question put to me:

    1) Work vs Ski

    So...instead of keeping my head down, work hard and save hard for an early retirement to the mountains, I think I prefer to ski more NOW!

    However, that doesn't mean I want to ski, ski and ski some more. Or non-stop skiing without working. I don't actually like skiing all the time. (shock!?)

    I really do want to find a way to work less, ski more. A lot more. But not skiing all the time, and without totally stop working.

    That, obviously will have impact on my finances. It would mean I need to work more YEARS if I work less each year. But I feel that's what I really want. Rather than work, work, work, then stop working altogether to ski, ski, ski. I'd prefer to work, ski, work a bit more, ski some more etc. Whether I can make that pattern work out is a different matter. But that's my wish anyway.

    Part of the reason is I actually enjoy my line of work. So I'm not ready to quit working altogether in order to ski. I do want to ski more, but not necessarily skiing all the time. I had a couple of interviews in the middle of my trip. To prepare for the interviews, I had to do a quick refreshment of the technical stuff. I found the intellectual stimulation filled me with excitement all the same!


    2) "MOVE"! (to the mountains)
    More importantly, as I mentioned above, I also enjoy the travelling a lot. In fact, that's one of the MOST enjoyable aspect of my 2017 season!

    So, quitting the northeast and moving to ONE mountain (or even one mountain "region" such as the Summit county or Tahoe) for the rest of my life would NOT be my choice anyway. (that said, I wouldn't mind spending an entire ski season there, or even several seasons, may even include summers too! But I doubt I want to resettle to ANY of those places the rest of my life)

    That said, I'm awfully tempted when it was suggested that I look for work at say, Boulder, CO. I can see myself doing that for... a few years!


    Basically, I don't exactly want to be a ski bum. It's not the skiing that's all important and all consuming. It's an enjoyable pass time that I use as the excuse to travel all over the US (and the world), and the potential it provided for chance encounter of other like-minded people and the sharing of our experience.

    So, work less but continue working. Staying put. NYC is as good a base camp as many other cities. But will spent more time to the west, different mountains each year.
    Interesting post. When we skied Banff region and Kicking Horse we got the bug. The following year we vacation in and skied Summit County. That led us to think about moving to Colorado. We ended up in Colorado Springs which is a bit further than we would like from skiing but I work 4 10s and have a three day weekend or more. We also found a greater interest in the outdoors and found ourselves actually hiking during the winter. So it can be done. I wish you the best and hope you land in a situation that works.

    I met a ski patrol at Vail that works as a contract software developer in Huntington Beach, CA from May until October then works at Vail for the Winter. I thought that was pretty cool.

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  8. #78
    "I really do want to find a way to work less, ski more. A lot more. But not skiing all the time, and without totally stop working.

    That, obviously will have impact on my finances. It would mean I need to work more YEARS if I work less each year. But I feel that's what I really want. Rather than work, work, work, then stop working altogether to ski, ski, ski. I'd prefer to work, ski, work a bit more, ski some more etc. Whether I can make that pattern work out is a different matter. But that's my wish anyway.

    So, work less but continue working. Staying put. NYC is as good a base camp as many other cities. But will spent more time to the west, different mountains each year. "
    =============================================
    Sounds like a good plan. My head is basically in the same place, but for slightly different reasons. I have a non-skiing wife who likes our home in DC area. I have a 20 hour per week job that supplements my USG pension and helps pay for travel. I can take more frequent ski trips out west, but still can't go out there for an entire winter which is what I'd really like to do. I like what the Grumps are doing. Each year they spend a full winter at a different, major ski area, then return to same home base for offseason.

  9. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimk View Post
    I like what the Grumps are doing. Each year they spend a full winter at a different, major ski area,
    The Grumps have each other.

    Travelling solo, it can get lonely quick. I spend most of my time at Summit county partly because of free lodging, but also because I have a buddy to ski and hangout together. Also, this year works out well because I met a bunch of people from NoCal at Whistler so I got to ski with them. With epicski light out, all of us will be groping in the dark for the next year or two.

    then return to same home base for offseason.
    I don't have a off-season. I bike, which I can do back home. And I kayak, which is not much fun to paddle the same stretch over and over. More over, I do like to travel.

    So I have to jiggle between time for kayaking vs time for skiing, despite them not being in the same season.

    I have a slightly different restriction. My Mom is turning 80. She's still in good health right now. But who knows for how long? So really, now is the better time for me to go away rather than 5-10 years later when I'm "financially secure" to retire. I may find myself financially ready but can't leave for more than a few days...

  10. #80
    Quote Originally Posted by abc View Post
    The Grumps have each other.

    Travelling solo, it can get lonely quick. I spend most of my time at Summit county partly because of free lodging, but also because I have a buddy to ski and hangout together. Also, this year works out well because I met a bunch of people from NoCal at Whistler so I got to ski with them. With epicski light out, all of us will be groping in the dark for the next year or two.


    I don't have a off-season. I bike, which I can do back home. And I kayak, which is not much fun to paddle the same stretch over and over. More over, I do like to travel.

    So I have to jiggle between time for kayaking vs time for skiing, despite them not being in the same season.

    I have a slightly different restriction. My Mom is turning 80. She's still in good health right now. But who knows for how long? So really, now is the better time for me to go away rather than 5-10 years later when I'm "financially secure" to retire. I may find myself financially ready but can't leave for more than a few days...
    Traveling solo restricts a lot of my skiing too. I have the ability to take a week off work and go ski somewhere, but if it is not going to be with friends, I often wait, or restrict it to just a long weekend.

    The skiing more NOW, really resonates with me too. There's too many factors that are going to restrict my skiing when I'm closer to retirement age from parents to my own health. As long as you enjoy your work, I don't have a problem with balancing more right now. Of course, I may feel completely different in 20 years when I am living the result of my choices.

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