The Mikeynix Guide to Mountain Town Employment
Objective: Your parents were right. You do, in fact, need to work to sustain yourself. In the words of The Big Lebowski: “You gotta feed the monkey”.
A successful man I am not, but I have managed to find a few jobs over the years that haven’t compromised my freedom.
So here’s my resume; I offer it up to provide guidance for anyone willing to sacrifice job quality, stability and status for the sake of unrestricted powder slashing.
(Approach with caution).
Clean-up Crew, Downie Timber Mill; Revelstoke, BC, 2003
This position holds the distinguished title of the worst job that I’ve ever had.
Duties included crawling into the crevices of heavy machinery and cleaning out the wood shrapnel created by a week’s worth of production at a fully-functioning timber mill.
Solidarity was gained with the local teenagers, mostly in the form of dodging our cokehead boss who took great pleasure in firing people on the spot.
Pros: The graveyard shift allowed an open schedule for sleepless Rogers Pass missions the following day.
Cons: Death, dismemberment and the wrath of Eugene, a gigantic, Charlie-fuelled man who looked like a bleach-blonde Jay Leno with a bad case of Leprosy.
Lifty, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort: Golden, BC, 2004-2005
This here is the Shangri La of shitty ski hill jobs. You’re so close to the candy but NO YOU CAN NOT TASTE IT. Ride breaks for lifties are like conjugal visits for inmates. But be careful about the ski break policy at the hill you’re working at, because some of them make you keep it above the jeans and stay on the green runs.
If nothing else, this job made me truly appreciate the freedom associated with sliding on snow.
Pros: Free ski pass, cheap daylodge food, ski breaks.
Cons: The phrase “It must suck to work on a day like today” uttered most often by gapers (real ones) on their way to traverse through the lower 1/3 of your favourite stash.
Trail Crew, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort: Golden, BC, 2005-2008
In any job, it’s important to have a mantra, something that boosts morale while capturing the essence of the work itself. For us on Trail Crew, it was: “that sounds like a tomorrow project”.
Most ski hills don’t even have a TC in wintertime, but the infrastructure at Kicking Horse is so spread out that it’s worthwhile to have a mobile labour force. We worked hard, to be sure. But with loose supervision, we got to do it on our own terms.
This resulted in a lot of under-the-jeans boardin’ time.
Pros: The high calibre training we received from the KHMR ski patrol. (Also the boardin’).
Cons: Pumping out the septic tank at the notoriously shitty-smelling Eagle’s Eye, the fancy restaurant at the top of the resort, whenever VIP’s showed up.
Editor, The Force Gazette: Golden, BC, 2006-2009
This job, like most writing jobs, paid very poorly. It included a mad scramble at the end of every month to create/gather enough content to fill a 48-page magazine. After each issue was sent to the printers, we’d pledge to be more organized the following month (maybe even smoke a little less weed). But neither of those things ever happened.
Either way, as an editor for any publication—online or print—it’s hard to concentrate for all the tits, ass, Bentleys and champagne.
Pros: It looks good on paper.
Cons: It doesn’t involve very much “paper”.
Busman/Server, Old Spaghetti Factory: Whistler, BC, 2010-2013
When the going gets weird, the weird go to Whistler. And a lot of them get a job at The Old Spaghetti Factory. The restaurant is constant chaos, with toddlers drunk on tomato sauce hurling pasta at the walls and angry chefs yelling at rookie servers while pumping out over 600 plates of pasta in a single evening.
One year working at “The Spag” is like seven years working at any other restaurant, like dog years.
Pros: Girls, lots of them. And my shift started around 5pm, so I could get a full day of shredding in, as long as I hustled back.
Cons: Finishing work at 10:30pm in the heart of the Whistler Village with a mitt-full of small bills. Decisions were made, most of them questionable. (Also I became quite racist).
Bartender, The Crystal Lounge, El Furniture Warehouse, Sushi Village: Whistler, BC, 2013-2016
All you need to know as a bartender is that a Shirley Temple is made with 2oz of Rye, Bitters and cube of sugar.
And if anyone ever orders a martini, rim a glass with salt, mix 2oz of Tequila with equal parts lime juice and simple syrup and shake it vigorously while making unflinching eye contact with the prettiest girl in the bar. If the customer complains that you made their drink wrong, tell them that they clearly have never been to Mexico.
Pros: The Ladies! The Ladies! (Also the tips).
Cons: Walking home from work around the same time people are lining up for fresh tracks. (Also the alcoholism).
Content Producer, Doglotion.com: Whistler, BC, 2016
I’m here to take the “skiing” out of freeskiing. This will be achieved with the right combination of booze, fieldwork and forcing either Felix Jauvin or Brian Coles to transcribe all my interviews.
And the entire Doglotion posse (except me) has agreed to drop into The Asian P#$$y on snowboards after a melt-freeze event this year, which will likely give me something to write about.
Pros: I might, after all these years, discover what Dog Lotion means.
Cons: You have $6 I can borrow? I forgot my wallet.