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Ideas for making a life in the mountains

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello everyone

Firstly let me start by saying I know this is an immature post and that who here hasn't thought of making a life in the mountains but please indulge me (or ignore Smile ).

I am a 37yr old man currently living in SW England and although it is fairly pleasant here I have always had a niggling feeling that the mountains are where I belong. I did two seasons in Canada in 2006 & again in 2013 and felt so at home there but alas it is just too far away from loved ones for me/us (my partner and me) to consider long term, so we returned. We have had many holidays in the alps and although it was more difficult to feel "at home" due to the language barrier (still learning both German and French and no damn good yet!) I still love the feel of being in the mountains, something that several trips in between and since those Canada trips have proven. It is more than just the riding or sport, it is something I feel about snow and mountains with the former being an obsession for me since an early age. So we have gone back to the same old question of the alps as a possibility. We are both at a stage of life where there could be bigger commitments just around the corner and it is starting to feel all a bit now or never. Granted the political situation isn't going to make it easier but in some ways that is another reason to finally go and do it!

The problem is what and how? We have a reasonable amount of capital (125K) and a modest house that we own here outright (only saying this to provide context for advice). My partner is freelance but I am a bit more loose with my profession having never really found a niche. We are both advanced snowboarders and I have always had an interest in doing something related since I discovered the sport when i was 19yrs old, but aside from an instructor which I assume is hard to get into what else is there? We wouldn't need a massive income from my work but it would need to be around 1000 euros a month at least I would have thought? (not including the potential rental income). My brother might also be interested in coming and could bring capital of his own, if that is at all advantageous?

Again, I realise this is a somewhat ridiculous question to ask a bunch of strangers but if you were in my situation what would you do? I am looking for ideas, any ideas. I have thought about the whole chalet scene but I think this is a bit of a cliche that never really pans out and with my partner being setup as freelance I am not totally sure she would be as involved as me with that anyway. I am a practically minded person and ran a small bike repair business and so something in this area either with boards/skis or bikes or even some sort of maintenance would appeal and suit my skillset. I have got quite a lot of office experience in various capacities, coordinator for an NGO, Land Charges for the council, Finance for a charity and now Admin/planning for a Uni but none of these things have ever been a calling for me or something I really saw much in long term. I do have a MSc. in Environmental Management which I worked hard to get but have not really used since. To be honest I am not sure I will ever really like office, desk based work and have always seen it as a means to an end rather than something I enjoy. I know I am not alone in this but the point is I like using my hands/brains at the same time is possible and hate writing reports or generally the presenti-ism of office life, at least here in the UK.

Is there an idea of how someone would get a feel for what to do or have any personal stories of a move to the mountains that they want to share by way of inspiration?

Anyway, thanks so much for reading this far and look forward (optimistically) to your ideas Very Happy


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Wed 29-01-20 18:34; edited 2 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
There are several threads with descriptions of how other people have done this, maybe not all that easy to search for though.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Your capital would buy a property mortgage-free I guess, so not much money needed?

Assuming you'd teach in the winter, the big question is how you'd earn money in the summer. Could you rent your UK property?

Teaching English?
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rjs wrote:
There are several threads with descriptions of how other people have done this, maybe not all that easy to search for though.


Thanks I appreciate that and have searched but not found all that much of note, maybe I need to be more inventive with my search terms though Puzzled
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Orange200 wrote:
Your capital would buy a property mortgage-free I guess, so not much money needed?

Assuming you'd teach in the winter, the big question is how you'd earn money in the summer. Could you rent your UK property?

Teaching English?


Renting the UK property would be another income stream and probably bring in a decent chunk (850-950 a month).

I have thought long and hard about TEFL type thing so maybe that is a good avenue to go down.
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Teaching English could be difficult but depends where you base yourself.
I taught in Grenoble for the first 5 years as an AE for some of it. Pretty poorly paid.

My wife has set up her own holiday rental and management company (explore oisans) which is going well.

I think once you move somewhere full time you get a better idea for potential avenues to pursue.

ps don't go on the expat sites as they are so negative about people moving abroad!
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
smoking weed & a pot dream or midlife crisis?

we leaving the EU on Friday. Being a bum isn't going to get you a work permit.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
klang180 wrote:
rjs wrote:
There are several threads with descriptions of how other people have done this, maybe not all that easy to search for though.


Thanks I appreciate that and have searched but not found all that much of note, maybe I need to be more inventive with my search terms though Puzzled

I wasn't trying to suggest that you should have searched harder, just that maybe the other thread starters could post links to them here.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
So the big issue here is Brexit. If you have only a British passport, you essentially have until the end of the year to make a life elsewhere in the EU, before you lose the right and have to adhere to the same immigration rules as any other non-EU citizen.

Even as an EU citizen, you have three months to prove that you can support yourself financially, have a long term home and health insurance, so being a bum isn't an option unless you are sitting on some considerable wealth. Freelance is often a more expensive option in the EU too as you would have to pay your own health insurance. I briefly considered this, then rejected it for that very reason.

Back in 2016, I felt much as you do, that I would prefer a life in the mountains, but I didn't feel financially secure enough to take the plunge. Then in the space of a few months a good friend passed away and the Brexit vote happened. It was the kick I needed. I quit my job, sold my house and emigrated to Austria in the summer of 2017.

I can honestly say I have never looked back, and given the world of pain that the UK is inflicting on itself, I'm sure I never will.

I was lucky enough to find a fantastic job here which I still love and I work 4 days a week, so plenty of time to ski. I live in the heart of the Ski Amadé region and commute to Salzburg for work. I also rent a lovely modern apartment with balcony views of the local ski mountain.

I won't gloat any more other than to say that it's clearly possible but time is not on your side. Happy to answer any specific questions.
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Kebab van
Princess Diana theme pub
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@klang180, what skills do you have?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@klang180, here's our take on living in the mountains, may be different to what you're looking for as we retired out here......

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=119619
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@queenie pretty please,
Quote:

Happy to answer any specific questions.


Will you marry me?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@mr. mike, that would be a no, sorry! Toofy Grin
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Dave of the Marmottes, curry house! Curry and skiing the ultimate lifestyle.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

but if you were in my situation what would you do?


I would use the £125k to enjoy many lovely holidays in the mountains.

Without skills or languages it's hard to see you making a success of living and working in them
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@klang180, Would Scotland have mountains enough? That option takes away the Brexit question (for now).

Any chance you qualify for Irish citizenship? Laughing

Not knowing anything about your work life it is tough to suggest something. I appreciate above you said you've never really found your niche, so I don't know if you're practical or technical or something else.

If you're technical, what about spending some time and money now undertaking some computer training - programming or systems/network admin. Once you have some qualification in that field, then look for a job where you can work remotely. E.g. https://about.gitlab.com/jobs/

If you're more practical, have a look at what Douk does https://www.douksnow.com. I'm not saying you should do exactly that, but something like that where you can remain based in the UK, but with regular, long winter trips to the mountains (call it product testing). On the other hand, is the market saturated for custom hand made snow boards? Maybe, maybe not....
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
klang180 wrote:

Renting the UK property would be another income stream and probably bring in a decent chunk (850-950 a month).

Quote:
We wouldn't need a massive income from my work but it would need to be around 1000 euros a month at least I would have thought?

That's with or without counting the "850-950 a month" income stream?
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red 27 wrote:

I would use the £125k to enjoy many lovely holidays in the mountains.

Or do a season to get a feel for it?

Quote:

Without skills or languages it's hard to see you making a success of living and working in them

Language yes. "Skill" is something harder to define. A lot of people had made odd careers out of non-standard skills (or "collection" of skills).
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Rental shop.

Snow boards in the winter, bikes in the summer.

Live above the shop.
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What kind of work have you done up until now?

Post-Brexit, you might find Spain turns out to be easier than e.g. France or Austria; I'm certain that the UK-Spain agreement will be pretty much the best of the lot. *Big* vested interest on both sides (due to the high reciprocal ex-pat residency numbers), and Spain always strikes me as less arsey and more welcome-you-at-face-value than certain other countries (though that's entirely subjective of course). In Spain you'd have the Pyrenees or Sierra Nevada (Granada) or numerous other small places dotted about.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Tue 28-01-20 21:09; edited 1 time in total
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@klang180, I am the same age as you and did exactly this two years ago. It is a good time to go, easier now than it will be. Your circumstances are actually quite similar to ours. I am freelance, my partner was a contractor but has now gone full time. We both work remotely, online. We rent out a house we own in the UK and rent our flat here. £125k cash is way (way) more than we have, but we still had plenty to satisfy the authorities that we could support ourselves, so you'd probably be fine for that.

I don't actually ski that much, but my standard of living is still higher than in the UK. Some things here are cheaper (petrol), other things cost more (cars, car insurance), most things are similar (rent, bills, house insurance, food), but that will all depend on where you decide to go.

It took us 18 months from deciding to move to picking a location and moving to it, so you need to get on it. However, we did have a house sale/purchase to contend with, which you could avoid by renting out your current property if it's viable. It will likely be hard to move in December because of the holidays, so I'd aim to be done by then. Ideally, you want to be in by September so you have your 3 months residency in the bag before Brexit. Shout up if you have specific questions. I'd probably start packing.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
^ Excellent point; try to get those 3 months in before the end of the year (even if you take a short sneaky off-the-radar trip back to the UK during those 3 months after having got your temporary residency card).
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Do it. We moved away from the UK to life in the mountains in 2014. We’ve been to France and are now in Switzerland- completely different offerings but we feel that Switzerland is more suited to us long term. Resort life is not for the feint hearted year round. You have approximately 100% more savings than we did - but I did have a job that transferred me to Geneva so that was enough for two sets of authorities. We now have two children, a ski apartment in resort in France and live 60mins away from the Swiss Big Boys like Engelberg, and zero intention of returning to the UK. Go for it, what have you got to lose?
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Also, depending on what you want, you don't need to live in the mountains necessarily - and there are numerous advantages to not doing so. The trick is to be within reasonable driving distance.


However, ultimately, emigrating is emigrating. It simply won't work out if you don't, in your heart-of-hearts, want to live in a different country, culture and language.
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Pyremaniac wrote:
^ Excellent point; try to get those 3 months in before the end of the year (even if you take a short sneaky off-the-radar trip back to the UK during those 3 months after having got your temporary residency card).

Yep, you just need an address, you don't actually need to be in it (no-one will check), but you'll be paying for it so probably don't want too much overlap with another place.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
^Not sure that that's technically true (in Spain at least); but in practice no-one will know.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Anyway; judging from the "feeling" that you described, you absolutely must at least try spending a year abroad. You have a metric ton more capital than I did, so money really doesn't even enter into the equation.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
klang180 wrote:
..
I am a 37yr old man currently living in SW England and although it is fairly pleasant here I have always had a niggling feeling that the mountains are where I belong.


Many have been in that situation.
The usual path is to stay put, bottle it up and let the resentment gestate for years to come until you end up a miserable old narrow-minded c*nt with incontinence.
Hope that helps Madeye-Smiley
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Pyremaniac wrote:
However, ultimately, emigrating is emigrating. It simply won't work out if you don't, in your heart-of-hearts, want to live in a different country, culture and language.

That's a pretty important point.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
klang180 wrote:
Firstly let me start by saying I know this is an immature post


BTW it didn't strike me as remotely immature. Quite the opposite.

You'll need to be a little bit of a "self-starter" to make it work. The fact that you posted what you did shows that you are one (or capable of being one). But you don't need to be the most extrovert or wheely-dealy person on Earth to start; just enough to make the leap and find work. The self-sufficiency will grow from there almost on its own.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Over many skiing holidays I have been surprised at the number of British apparently permanently based in each resort. But as far as I can tell they are in a handful of categories:
(1) Fully self-supporting, typically retired and with a pension
(2) Maintaining a nominal UK job they can do remotely and flexibly (mostly freelance/contract stuff done by computer)
(3) Have a local job (e.g. bar/restaurant, ski hire shop, occasional instructor) but needs excellent language skills and will restrict hours on the slope
(4) Have established their own business that gives flexibility to ski/board (usually running chalet or similar) but needs capital and business skills, plus sufficient language

If you can work out a way to fit yourself in one of those categories, you are away.

Alternatively, as pointed out above the capital you have would allow you to buy a reasonable little apartment in quite a few ski resorts, you just have to research places that meet your expectations without being expensive. The challenge then is how to make enough money in the UK during the rest of the year to allow you to spend 3 months a year boarding plus full year running costs of your apartment.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
How does the 3 month rule work and interact with Brexit ?
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(5) Integrate yourself into your new country. Find whatever job (e.g. bar work) but with a plan to move quickly into a more stable line of work - which could be just a normal "boring" office job like anyone else. Learn the language. Let the new culture blur into your existing one. Live like a native - because you're well on the way to being one anyway.

I don't know how many Brits fit into that category, but I know enough of them who do (plus my own first-hand experience) to know that it's an entirely reasonable objective for newcomers.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Orange200 wrote:


Teaching English?


I'm told that it is getting harder and harder in France (by a qualified English teacher).

1000 euros a month doesn't sound like much to cover food, heating, other bills etc. Which country would this be?
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I don't fit into any of those categories. I have no business or capital. I simply moved and was lucky enough to find a great job in the same field I'd always worked in.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Vast majority of 'Brits" I know here who work hardly have anytime to ski, as they're so tired and come free time just want to chill, or just ski at the weekend.

Those that are instructors have very little time to ski anything remotely interesting unless they have clients that are eager for off Piste etc

It is not the dream one might imagine.

Geezonaires have the best lifestyle along with those working remotely.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
davidof wrote:
1000 euros a month doesn't sound like much to cover food, heating, other bills etc. Which country would this be?

Spain. Italy?? Presumably also Slovenia and other more leftfield skiing options.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Tue 28-01-20 23:27; edited 2 times in total
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@klang180, after doing seasons before university, I moved to Austria full-time straight after. Absolutely nothing in the way of savings or capital, but still essentially living like a student meant my expectations were low too so living cheaply was easy. My then girlfriend was also Austrian, which again made things easier, not least of which being able to move in with her. Lived here full time since 2012 now, and no intentions of moving back.

You seem to be in a good situation though. Assuming your partner continues working, your capital + rental income would easily be enough to get by for a year even if you don't find any work.

I would say forget instructing type stuff. It's not well paid, and working 6 days a week with no holiday over the winter sucks (granted as you move up the ranks you have more flexibility there). If you want to go that way, teach golf or something all summer instead so you have more time to actually ski.

In fact, IME, living in a ski resort generally sucks after a lot less time than you'd think.

There are plenty of towns and cities really close to the mountains with a lot better lifestyle than living in resort, with much more 'normal' (ie properly paid and not seasonal) employment opportunities. Often in English too - in this part of Austria check Swarovski, Med-El, General Electric, Black Diamond, etc. Decent salaries, weekends off, and 5 weeks of holiday + 13 public holidays gives you more than enough opportunity to ski or travel or whatever else.

Or start an online business.

What work have you been doing up to now?

Brexit will put a spanner in the works for you though, so better get things moving ASAP!


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Tue 28-01-20 23:18; edited 2 times in total
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How much are people paying for apartment cleaning these days? I suspect that there is a decent living in turning a few flats over on a Saturday, with a few bonus long weekend or midweek changeovers. Especially if you tap up the ex-pat marketplace. Become a trusted face, have a few tradesmen on speed-dial for emergency repairs etc. you could become a handy one-man property management company....
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