Seasonal workers love life in Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – In a valley that depends upon its high seasons to survive, workers from all over the country and the world flock here for jobs that allow them to get more ski and snowboard days in one season than many people get in a lifetime.
The valley attracts all kinds of workers, from the life-long ski bum to recent college graduates not sure about what they want to do for a living just yet.
Every November these workers arrive for what many of them swear will only be one season. Some of them leave in April, while others end up staying for years.
Here’s an introduction to some of the seasonal workers who have chosen Vail this winter:
Kaleb Sedlock, from Kansas City, is back for his second winter in the valley. He worked at Beaver Creek last season and moved back home for the summer, but the ability to snowboard every day is something he wasn’t quite ready to give up. He just arrived back in town for a job at the Lodge at Vail, where he’ll work as a houseman this winter. And who knows, he might just stick around for the summer this year.
“Everyone here is so nice and friendly,” Sedlock said. “It’s an easy town to get around – I’ll probably stay this summer.”
After graduating from college, Howard Holcomb just wants to do something fun for a few months before getting serious. He moved to Vail from Gainesville, Fla., with a couple of friends so they could try something new. Holcomb said he’s never tried skiing or snowboarding before, but chose Vail after surfing the Internet. He and his friends, who live at Timber Ridge, plan to move back to Florida after the season to start a car detailing business.
Jake Sartin is entering his second season working at Vail Mountain’s Adventure Ridge. Sartin, from Birmingham, Ala., moved to Vail last December after a friend helped find him the job. He had been to Colorado a few times before, and had visited Whistler, British Columbia, but certainly never lived a mountain town lifestyle growing up in Alabama.
With a year and a half left of college to finish, Sartin plans to head to either Colorado State University or University of Colorado at Boulder next year.
Linnea Flores just arrived in Vail from Dallas. The decision to move here was easy, she said, because Vail had plenty of jobs available and living here means she gets to snowboard every day for free since she has a free ski pass through work. Living at Timber Ridge means cheap housing, too – another bonus.
“And I get to get out of Texas for a while,” she said.
Cody Campbell came to Vail for one simple reason – to ride. The snowboarder from Montana is going into his second season in town, after moving home last year for the summer. He said another reason he’s here is because he’s postponing college, something he plans to get back to eventually. This year, he’ll decide if he should stay another season or go to school, he said.
In the meantime, he’s enjoying the local music scene a lot. He said he doesn’t have access to the kinds of live shows that come through Vail when he’s back home in Montana.
After spending his college years as a ski racer on the University of Minnesota Ski Team, Mike Enright knows all about the sport and living it on a daily basis. Enright has already had three different careers after graduating college with a degree in journalism and history. He moved to Vail less than two weeks ago and found himself a job at Vail Sports, in Vail Village.
He said he’s going to see where it goes, but he’s already happy about the great skiing that he’ll have daily access to all season.
“I love it,” Enright said. “The view is a lot better than waking up to flat land every day.”
Mike Evans might live in the valley year-round, but that’s not stopping him from taking seasonal jobs.
Evans, originally from Utica, N.Y., likes the change of pace from winter to summer, so he gets a different job for each season.
Now in his 10th year in Vail, Evans is happy about this winter’s job at Christy Sports in Vail Village, where he gets cheap ski gear, a ski pass and a chance to ski just about every day.
“I’m a typical local,” Evans said. “I came out for a season and fell in love with the place.”
Vail is a long ways away from Orange County, Calif., where Megan Pulver is from. Pulver grew up with a girl whose family had a vacation home in Vail, so when she was deciding which U.S. ski town to move to this season, the decision was easy.
She found herself a job waiting tables at Garfinkel’s in Lionshead, just steps away from the nearest chairlift.
She’ll head back to California after the winter, but for now she said she’s enjoying every minute of what feels like an extended vacation.
“I’ve always wanted to go away to snowboard for a season,” Pulver said. “It’s a much slower pace here than in California.”
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