Since 2015 I was averaging over 100 days a year on the hill skiing, taking winters off work to make it happen. This was the life I chased and swore it would never change. I was living the classic ski bum life that you read about in ski magazines, or hear stories from an uncle who had lived out of his car and skied every day of the season for most of his 20s. I idolized those stories and set out to chase the turns as often as I could. I even quit my full time job to be able to ski care-free on my own schedule. I found a weekend gig as a freeride coach at The Summit At Snoqualmie, my home hill. Getting paid to ski, what a dream right?
Photos: Mark Erickson
""The scariest word I knew was 'WORK', and here I was, choosing adult life over 100 day seasons and mid-week storms. What happened next was unexpected. I became hungry for even the worst conditions, as long as it meant I could go hard on snow. I remembered how lucky I was to be skiing."
Although I was living an hour from the resort in Seattle, I still found myself at the hill skiing everyday. Driving back and forth from the city to the slopes in my 1994 Ford Explorer became costly, and with an already low income I built a bed in the back of the rig and was able to stay at the resort to save money... I was skiing every day. This was my life for the next 5 years.
Then 2020 hit. Before the season had even gotten started, I broke my collarbone and by the time I was finally cleared to ski, the pandemic brought everything to a stop. Little did I know this was going to be my last season as a full-time skier. After a few months of being stuck at home during the pandemic, I began working full-time again. The scariest words I knew were 'Work' and 'Job' and here I was transitioning to adult life over chasing snow every day.
Having this new weekend warrior schedule filled me with dread, but that didn't last for long. As I learned to deal with the balance of work and riding, I realized all over again my profound love for the sport. I found myself skiing icy nights, wet weekends, and even finding some sleeper pow days. Not being able to ski when I wanted to, I became hungry for even the worst conditions. Being deprived on mid-week days made me go as hard as I could on weekends. I may be skiing half as many days as I used to... but my stoke is as high as it was when I was hitting 100+.
Words by Team Rider COREY NUGENT