WATCH: Epic Dream Job winner visits Vail and Beaver Creek to finish 2-month, 17-resort trip
Ski.com's Epic Dream Job sends Jackson Lebsack on ski trip of a lifetime
BEAVER CREEK — In February of 2018, Jackson Lebsack was 19 years old and dropping out of college. His passion for video production turned into a career quickly.
One year after having that conversation with his supportive parents, Lebsack is wrapping up Ski.com and Vail Resorts’ Epic Dream Job — two months, seven different countries and close to 20 different resorts, all available on the Epic Pass.
“It’s been a crazy, crazy snowball in that short amount of time,” Lebsack said from a chairlift at Beaver Creek on Wednesday. “I had some amazing gigs that led to my biggest one yet.”
Lebsack, of Hood River, Oregon, beat out 1,100 other applicants with his 60-second video in December and then embarked on the trip of a lifetime, documenting along the way. He started his journey in Stowe, Vermont, in January before heading to Europe, Japan, Canada and then back to the U.S. to ultimately finish his trip in Colorado.
When he wraps up in Vail during the Burton U.S. Open, Lebsack will have hit 17 different resorts in two months — all available to Epic Pass holders.
The Epic Pass provides access to 30 European resorts; five days at Hakuba Valley in Japan; seven days at resorts of the Canadian Rockies; unlimited access to 18 U.S. resorts and Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; and Vail Resorts continues to add destinations across the globe, recently including Australia’s “Powder Capital,” Hotham.
While he didn’t hit every single resort, Lebsack has a clear winner from his trip — though he still hasn’t been to Vail yet.
“They were all amazing, but my favorite was one that I wasn’t expecting from the itinerary, seeing Switzerland and Japan and all these spots that, as Americans, are a little more known,” Lebsack said, “but when I arrived in St. Anton, Austria, that place is unreal. I think part of it is the fact that it’s so legit — there are so little tourists there and the mountains were probably the most incredible of all the spots. It reminded me of the Himalayas. It was insane. The town itself was a winter wonderland, beautiful little town. They have the history of starting skiing. And granted, we hit it during one of their best storms.”
Lebsack ended up getting stuck in Austria, although he enjoyed a nice 3-foot powder day.
“It was the best skiing of my life and only four chairs were open,” he said, “so I couldn’t imagine how good it would be with everything open.”
Another must-visit is Japan, according to Lebsack.
“Japan was incredible, too. There’s no doubt there,” he said. “The people are just the nicest.”
A man has to eat, and Lebsack has enjoyed worldly cuisine in the past two months. He said Italy was the best place for food, and Japan’s ramen was exceptional, too.
“My favorite thing was actually a sandwich out of a gas station,” he said with a laugh.
‘Chasing the passion’
His trip has been an epic dream, but it’s more accurately been an Epic Dream Job.
“This has been an insane experience,” Lebsack said. “It has been the hardest job of my career, for sure.”
Between jet lag, a busy travel schedule and packed daily itineraries, Lebsack has done a diligent job turning content around for viewers to follow along at home. Early mornings in Europe would start around 6 or 7 a.m., he said, followed by a full lineup of epic things to do until 9 p.m., followed by three to four hours of editing, exporting and working on videos.
“It was long days but it was epic itineraries — skiing, helicopter rides, paragliding — and I was documenting it all,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s the best work I could ever ask for, but it is work. I love what I do, though.”
Lebsack said he’s excited to get back to the real world after a whirlwind of a start to 2019.
At 20 years old, he’s looking to take the next five to seven years to work independently, continue to travel and experience the world. He already has his own media company — Jackson Lebsack Media — and hopes to eventually have one of the top production companies in the game. He’s been documenting his life’s journey since picking up a camera in an online three-part series, “How the camera changed my life,” including one video about his transition away from college.
“I’m just going to keep running with the dream and chasing the passion,” he said. “One thing leads to another in this industry, so hopefully the ball keeps rolling.”