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Seasonal work winding down

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VAIL -Gaston Muschietti will leave Vail with the memory of about a dozen girls he dated this winter. Andreas Lemche is going home to Denmark with 50 days of skiing logged and three pairs of Prada shoes. “Probably I wouldn’t have bought them at home, they are too expensive,” said Lemche, 21, who came to Vail in October to work at Tommy Bowers Ski shop, an upscale clothing store that carries top European brands.Muschietti, a 21-year-old from Argentina, is leaving Thursday after working for four months doing valet parking in Vail and Beaver Creek for Mountain Valet. His friends and work colleagues call him a ‘sex symbol.'”La rompio,” his boss, Santiago Benzi, said in Spanish – meaning Muschietti did more than well in the dating department. Muschietti, who also came last season to work, but was only 20, credit his dating success to having turned 21 and being able to hit the local bars.But the stay in ski country wasn’t all about dating and buying shoes for these foreign workers, who, like other hundreds, are getting ready to leave town as the ski season winds down. Muschietti got a chance to improve his English, learn to cook and do his laundry, and travel, he said. For Lemche, it was his first time working outside Denmark and a valuable experience learning about another culture.”I got a better picture of how Americans live,” said Lemche, who styles his hair and wears European jeans. “When I first came I thought Americans were very materialistic. I also thought that people here don’t know about other countries. That has changed. In Vail we have met upper class people who are well traveled.”

You can make more money, but …This was the third season valet parking for Leonardo Kogan, a 27-year-old computer science student from Mendoza, Argentina.Though he got to ski about 20 days, Kogan said to save more money this season he worked all the shifts he could take, sometimes seven days a week.”With the $4,000 I’ve saved from salary and tips I can live the rest of the year at home,” said Kogan, who is leaving April 5. “I came back because I make money and I’m out of school during this time.”The downside this season, Kogan said, was that he couldn’t improve his English because 10 of 18 workers at the valet parking were Argentineans. One of them, Manuel Garcia Citron, came to Vail this season for the first time.Garcia Citron, 21, a student from Buenos Aires, said his experience in Vail fulfilled his expectations. “We had a good life here, we didn’t eat rice to save money, we had always good food,” Garcia Citron said. “You can even make more money than what we made. But there’s a lot of consumerism here. You don’t realize how you spend money all the time.”

Garcia Citron and Muschietti said a lot of the money was well spent. They even got to travel to San Diego and Las Vegas in February and bought new computers and iPods to take home.One of the hardest things for the Argentineans was getting used to the nightlife schedule. “The fun here ends at the time it starts at home. At home, you go to the club at 2 a.m. and come back home at about 9 a.m.,” Muschietti said. “Here, we’re back at 2 a.m. The positive side is that at least you get four hours of sleep before going to work.”One of the highlights of his stay in the valley, Garcia Citron said, was meeting people from all over the world. “There are so many foreign workers,” he said. “You sit down to eat sometimes with a Polish guy, other times with an Australian.”Lemche, who arrived with Mads Hansen from Denmark on Oct. 26, said he met a lot of people at the shop or going out in the evenings. “There isn’t much to do here but to go out and ski.” he said. “Vail is a small town. Europeans are more liberals, Americans party more conservative.”Hansen, 21, said he learned a lot from being away and from not living with his parents.”You do your laundry and you learn how to cook,” said Hansen, who is going back home on April 10 to start a job as a trainee in a shop. “You become more mature. When you’re away from your country, you learn to appreciate it. I miss Denmark a lot.”



Won’t miss cold morningsThough he’s ready to go back home, Muschietti said he will miss his roommates and his life in the valley.”When I went back home last year, I cried the first night because I felt lonely,” he said. “I was used to sharing a bedroom with another two or three guys.”But I won’t miss the cold mornings and getting up early to go to work after going out the previous night,” he added.Muschietti also said he’s getting ready for a change of lifestyle. He’ll be leaving the mountains to go back to Buenos Aires and its population of 12 million.”If you have free time here, you go skiing,” he said. “At home, you go do some work on the computer or you sleep.”Kogan said he probably wouldn’t be coming back next season because he’s graduating from school. “I’m a little old to do this,” he said. “This is something to do when you are in your early 20s – you can go out, have fun and work.”One thing he won’t miss when he leaves the United States April 5? “The food,” he said. “It’s too artificial, too spicy. Nothing tastes natural. At home you eat a steak and it tastes like steak.”

Lemche, who is planning to take one more year off to travel, said he probably won’t come back to work in Vail again.”It’s too small, maybe I’d go to a bigger city,” he said. “But I would recommend it for three months.”It’s been a good experience, but tough sometimes,” he added. “Americans are very different from Europeans and Danish people.”Brennan Nicks, 22, who works with the Argentineans at Mountain Valet, said he’ll miss his co-workers.”They are excellent guys, they are honest,” he said. “But they speak Spanish all day. And they only taught me bad words in Spanish.”Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado


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