Matt Poynton puts into words what we all feel after a ripping snow holiday. would you trade a cushy career job for a ski bum life?
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Repeat.
Hashtag snow. Hashtag snowboarding. Hashtag backcountry. Hashtag mountainlife. And so it goes, the average punter returning to normal life after snow. Whether you’re a weekend warrior returning to your day job after a few days on the hill, or experiencing that crushing return of reality after a 2 week holiday, we’ve all been there.
Even worse? The seasonnaire returning to the flatlands after a whole Winter. That is truly testing, and if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been in at least one of these categories before.
Your weekend, holiday, or season, is over. You’re back in the office, work ute, or retail outlet, staring at your monitor, toolbox, or rack of threads, wondering what the hell you’re doing with your life. So you turn to social media in an attempt to immerse yourself in mountain life for a short time, and block out the real world.
But it’s like trying to beat a hangover by staying drunk. It kinda works, for a time, but then sobriety smacks you in the face like a deadline, and you’re back where you started.
I’m a sucker for this. I’ll freely admit I’m writing this on the company dime, on day four of my first week back at work after a shred trip to Japan, and so it goes, the same story every time.
I first experienced this feeling after my first season working as a towie at Mt Hotham. I had quit my job, sold my car, and thrown it all up in the air.
The first time I saw snow was when I got off the Snowball Express in the Hotham day carpark, ready to start my new job. What followed was a four month paradigm shift, and I was never the same again. In October 2005 I returned to my home in regional WA, forever changed.
Instead of being surrounded by white snow, crisp alpine air, and $6 Jagerbombs, there was the all too familiar sand, dust, and wind. Luckily I had lined up a job in US for the northern hemisphere Winter, so I only had to last a few weeks, but I was depressed.
Not because I was home, but because I wasn’t in the mountains. I had changed. I had experienced things. New things, amazing things, things my friends & family hadn’t, couldn’t from WA. I felt different on the inside. I felt awakened, excited, and invigorated by life’s potential, and my newfound passion.
But without social media (in those days) to satisfy my hunger, I immersed myself in my laptop creating a season edit. I emerged a few days later, only to face the reality I had postponed was waiting for me.
It’s the same dog, different leg action, since the realisation of Facebook in circa 2007, and its ilk – Instagram, Twitter, et al. Now we have it all at our fingertips. Snow reports, forecasts, updates, pictures, video, brag reels. All from our phones. And it can be utterly soul destroying.
It is crack for the desk-bound powder hound. It makes you feel good for a little while, but that deadline isn’t going away, and no matter how many double taps you dish out, you won’t magically be transported back to the mountains.
The closest I’ve come to a tonic for my post-snow blues, is diving head first into planning the next trip. It gives you something to focus on, and something to look forward to, but it’s a double-edge sword because you’re still thinking about snow instead of work.
So you have those inevitable thoughts about returning to the life of a ski-bum. Bumping chairs, pulling beers, dish-pigging, or whatever menial job you can find to earn a bed and a season pass. The call of the mountain life is ringing in your ears, and your memory tricks you into blocking out the negatives.
Could I do it again? Walk away from this life, and into another? What other jobs could I do in the mountains? How can I apply my real world skills to something I’m more passionate about? Can I build a career in the mountains?
But gee, I’m earning good money in this gig. I can hit the slopes once a year in style, in a new part of the world. Stay in fancy accommodation, dine on premium fare, and ride in new gear. Hell, I can afford heli-boarding now.
Sure I’ll spend the 12 months in between dreaming about the next trip, but at least I won’t be scraping coins out of an ashtray to pay for beer. Working seasons was the time of my life, but I gave it up to achieve something in the real world. To own a home, a car, build a career. Because those things are important. Aren’t they?
They say reality is only an illusion created by the lack of altitude. Maybe the lack of altitude isn’t the problem; maybe the problem is the reality I’ve chosen for myself.
Author: Matt Poynton