Top 10 Signs You're a Ski Bum

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Jim Campbell Illustration

Back in 2002, I cut out a Giant bike ad about “biking bums.” Through almost 10 years of moving, I still have it. The line where it says “You know you’re a bike bum because your bike costs more than your car” always makes me smile. Over the last 10 years, I’ve also been unable to make any life decisions without considering the effects on ski season. Maybe I’m not the only one.

10. You make no concessions during the dating process for those who don’t ski. While living in Seattle last summer, I went on one date with a guy who claimed he was a skier. When I asked him how many days he got in last season, he said, “None, it wasn’t a good snow year.” Like I said, one date.

9. You find ways to use your ski gear in daily life. I have a pair of goggles handy when in the kitchen to prevent my eyes from tearing up if I ever need to cut an onion.

8. You’re always looking for the magical ski that can do everything but always end up owning multiple pairs. Rock skis, powder skis, crud skis, groomer skis, touring skis, all-mountain skis. Of course you need a pair of each.

7. You work all summer so you can be unemployed all winter. There are several professions that line up the ski bum for a winter free of work. Or at least free enough to work limited hours at the ski resort to earn a season pass.

6. Your badge of honor is your goggle tan. We’re not talking about a tan line that can be achieved with a long weekend up at the mountain; no, we’re talking the well-defined, deep raccoon tan you can only get by lining up for first chair, every day, at your favorite resort. When you are forced to make a random trip to the city, you can’t figure out what all the city dwellers are staring at.

5. You find yourself storm-chasing with a car full of gear, sleeping bags and beer. Regularly.

4. For you, first chair isn’t an anomaly but a way of life. While only a few will actually get to say they scored first chair, the concept of first chair is more than that. The tradition of first chair is one of building relationships and camaraderie. (OK, maybe it’s a little teeny bit of an addiction, too.)

3. Aprs ski is a cherished daily ritual to you — like brushing your teeth and drinking your coffee. One time I was visiting a ski area outside of the Northwest, and I asked someone where the best bar for aprs ski was. The response: “That’s a term we’ve never used here before.” Like I said, I visited one time.

2. Even if you have a “real” job, you still somehow manage to clock in 50 days a season. Hint: Get it in writing. My Snowlander contract specifies I can bolt in the event of “six inches of fresh snow, or three inches and sunny skies.”

1. You drink PBR. Enough said.

Got a funny ski story, true or kinda true? Let us know about it and we might publish it in this space. Email or post a message at Facebook/SnowlanderNW.

Welcome to Snowlander

Every year at this time, it’s a guessing game as to when we might start skiing. We’re always hopeful of a Thanksgiving opening, but we know that many years December is the first month for sliding on snow.

Jim Campbell Illustration

News & Notes Looking forward to a snowy winter | Will Mt. Spokane expand? | How (and when) to score cheap lift tickets

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Going into a season guessing keeps me on pins and needles. Every little shift in the weather has me thinking the big storm is rolling in. And last season was one of wonder. Early season, I was wondering if the snow was going to keep falling in such epic proportions. In January I was wondering if it was ever going to stop raining. In May, I was wondering if the snow would ever let up. Overall, a great year.

Now ski season is a reachable grasp away. Ski movie premieres are in full swing, garages are being cleaned out as old gear is dropped off at local swaps. Life is consumed with finding the perfect jacket, dreaming about buying new ski goggles (even though I already have way too many) and scraping off the old wax and getting the tuning bench all set up.

Here at The Inlander, we’ve been busy plotting a new chapter in the local ski scene — Snowlander, your resource for skiing and riding all over the Northwest. In addition to the monthly printed insert in The Inlander, starting with the one you are reading right now, we’ll be keeping you posted on all developments in the local scene every week online.

So check out our new web page,, for an interactive resort map, stories, blog posts and enter-to-win contests. We’ll also be actively updating our page at That’s where you can post comments, read the latest news items and check out user snapshots and videos. Check ’em both out now and you can enter to win either a brand-new Rossignol snowboard or a pair of Rossignol skis.

Keep looking for snow, and hopefully by this time next month I’ll be writing this between powder turns!

Jen Forsyth Snowlander Editor

50th Odessa Deutschesfest @ Odessa

Sat., Sept. 18, 7-1 a.m. and Sun., Sept. 19, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
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About The Author

Jen Forsyth

Jen Forsyth is the editor of the Snowlander series.