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Potential Ski bum seeking advice and inspiration for a euro trip

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

As the title suggests I am looking for your opinion and advice on doing a season in a European ski resort. I am aware that due to my Britishness I may be restricted to 90 days. Work is not a must either so a tourist visa will do me just fine.

To narrow down the options:
I would like to stay in resort (I get that accommodation price will be fairly high even for shared apartments but are some countries/areas considerably cheaper than others?)
I would also like a reasonably large ski area so the small Eastern European ski areas are a no go for me.
Probably budgeting at most around £8000 - £10,000 for the season (is this even possible, I don’t know)

So where will I get the biggest bang for my buck? Trying to find the perfect equilibrium between quality of experience and damage to my bank account
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks in advance for your time and replies! (This part disappeared from my original message?)
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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?
I assume for 2022? If not maybe your local dry ski slope or Scotland depending on which opens first
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Yes for next season, probably should of made that clearer. I have some spring skiing booked in mayrhofen for this season. The optimist in me wants to say this will go ahead but who knows!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Flomansnowman,
Assuming the French get their vaccination system sorted out I'll recommend Tignes.
Ask on the Tignes Seasonnaire facebook page for an idea of the cost of season accommodation. Their is plenty available for 2019/20 (no surprise!), so make sure you specify 2021/22, with approximate start & end dates if you can.
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@Flomansnowman, what are your skiing aspirations and are you interested in apres? Also, what languages do you speak?

Wanting piste milage plus apres pushes you strongly towards the Tarentaise, bits of Austria etc. Off piste, somewhere smaller, quieter and cheaper tbat sees less powder competition would be sensible.

If I were doing it all again, it would probably be le Chable. Massive ski area, cheaper than Verbier itself and good balance of piste v off piste. Nendaz also viable but much quieter - though you can get a place for the season for about 3k.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I’d almost suggest that anywhere is a good answer.

If really just for skiing, and budget flexible, I’d go with @gorilla’s suggestion. The 4 valls have sooo much very accessible off piste.

But ... any big system has its appeal, Cham, PdS, Monterosa ...
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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!
Like @gorilla I wouldn't discount Switzerland and obviously the 4 Vallées is a big area with a good off-piste if that's your thing. Le Chable is in the valley with a railway station right next to the lift up to Verbier, but the accommodation is cheaper, as you'd expect. Verbier would be the best location as it's the 'hub' of the 4 Vallées, with the 'satellites' of Nendaz and La Tzoumaz being cheaper locations, but with the downside that the links are uncertain early/late in the season. In La Tzoumaz, from personal experience, you could probably get a discounted season rental at around £7K for a comfortable and well-equipped studio/1-bed near the lift.

But wherever you decide on, you'll need to contact the rental agencies directly and ask for a season rate: online booking sites never cater for season or multi-week bookings at a discount. Agencies will often then contact some owners to see if any are happy to do a season rental. So don't cast the net too wide - better to choose a location, email some agencies and the Tourist Office, outline your requirement and budget, and then it may take a couple of weeks before all the replies come in. To calculate a realistic offer, you need to appreciate that most studio/apartment owners will get at east 6 weeks full-rate rental for the school holiday weeks, so you need to offer them at least that. The attraction to them will be that you'd pay up-front and the income would be certain. If you can find some owners renting out directly (which is why I mentioned the Tourist Offices) then you may do better because agencies take a big cut of the headline rental charge i.e. with an agency, the discount is taken out of the owner's net income, not split between the agency and owner.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Mon 11-01-21 9:41; edited 2 times in total
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I did a full season in Chamonix in 1999 for about £3,500. Mont Blanc pass gave me all Cham, Les Houches and some days at Megeve/StGervais so more skiing than 90 days can handle.
£10k nowadays would seem plenty even if the £ is of low value these days. Stayed in a couple of gite/hostel places which although low end and a bit rough meant is was social and easy to meet fellow skiers and tag along with experts who were better skiers than me and who knew all the good off piste spots. They were in resort.
Brilliant time and I often wonder why I didn't do more of that as a twentysomething.
When wife, kids and mortgage come along, you're basically done.
Grab the opportunity.
Re budgetting dont do what a lot of young people do and wee wee it all up against a wall, out every other night. Get cheap beer/wine from supermarlets and concentrate on the skiing, not the nightlife. Men outnumber women about 10 to 1 in seasoners resorts so chasing tail is going to be difficult. wink Buy food and cook, don't eat out much.
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Klammertime wrote:
chasing tail


What a horrible turn of phrase. rolling eyes
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We used to rent out our studio in Chatel on a winter season basis for something in the £3-3.5k range. A Finnish guy had it one year to do a solo season as a ski bum. More often resort workers (Chalet cooks, piste basher drivers etc). If you had a mate that would be around €2k each for accommodation. You could have a lot of fun on the balance of your budget.
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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.
queenie pretty please wrote:
Klammertime wrote:
chasing tail


What a horrible turn of phrase. rolling eyes


Sorry if crass term, just seen it often, the holiday atmos, the money frittered away in bars and clubs, in late, up late, hungover, miss the freshies, then they have to work in resort for buttons, missing the skiing and lose the impetus of what they came to the mountains for.
Each to their own of course.
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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
I used https://www.inter-agence.ch/ in Nendaz. Immomapper.ch looks pretty good, although as my ski bumming days are long gone, I haven't used it myself. Looks like you can get something in le Chable for about 1700CHF per month. Some very cheap stuff going in Verb itself as well right now but that may just be Covid pricing.

Re ski access from Nendaz. I rarely skied into the 4v network as it took about 45 minutes and the limiting factor was the speed of the lifts, not the speed I skied at. I almost always got the bus to Siviez and skied from there.

In terms of powder day access, which is what really matters, starting early in Siviez gets you up Mont Fort and col des Gentianes faster. People coming in from the Medran will beat you to Attelas and Mont Gele. Swings and roundabouts.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Klammertime wrote:

Re budgetting dont do what a lot of young people do and wee wee it all up against a wall, out every other night. Get cheap beer/wine from supermarlets and concentrate on the skiing, not the nightlife. Men outnumber women about 10 to 1 in seasoners resorts so chasing tail is going to be difficult. wink Buy food and cook, don't eat out much.


Seen the ways people blow it or lose enthusiasm quite a lot when I spend seasons in places. A broken up romance can lead to a couple of weeks of moping, a party habit can severely interfere. And it's hard not to succumb to perfectionism when truly bumming - "it hasn't snowed in a week so I'll not bother". The people that enjoyed seasons the most/ were keenest to repeat were the ones that got out every day possible even in crappy conditions because that made them better skiers/riders.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Best bang for your buck may be Canada. Also has the added benefit of 180day tourist visa, rather than 90 for EU.

My budget breakdown for last season in British Columbia;
£335 per month accom
£575 lift pass
£460 flights
£50 transfers
Around £5 per day food (supermarket bought and self cooked).

Throw in a few extra costs and it worked out just under £3k for 3 months.

Of course you wouldn't be "in resort" - although you wouldn't want to be as there isn't much there, everyone stays in the town and travels to the ski hill. Somewhere like red mountain or fernie you would only be about 10mins bus from the lifts.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
It's worth appreciating that a season residency in one place may change your perspective, as Dave says. AS well as being a bit more picky about the weather, you may find that you find the busier Weekends and school holiday weeks less rewarding. So it's worth staying somewhere where you can take a day off and perhaps go into a town/city somewhere, just for a change of scene. Just as an example, if you were in Verbier, you could hop down to Le Chable and be on the train to Martigny, Montreux, Lausanne or Geneva. Or even go on a day trip to Berne or across the Alps on a scenic excursion.

We did our first long trip in early 2019 and with almost 4 weeks to play with, we ended-up not bothering to do Saturdays as the pistes were so busy and there were a lot of nutters around. Instead, we drove down to the valley and went to the market in a nearby large town. We also ended-up doing snowshoeing more at the Weekends, especially if the weather was indifferent, because we could quickly get away from the busy slopes. We also did some completely-on-foot excursions across the area, using télécabine, combimix and navette - which we found surprisingly rewarding: unencumbered by skis and poles you get a completely different perspective on the area that you're usually skiing, and I got some of my best mountain photos.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 11-01-21 11:31; edited 2 times in total
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@Flomansnowman,
Quote:

Probably budgeting at most around £8000 - £10,000 for the season (is this even possible, I don’t know)

JanetS and I did 12 weeks in the Salzburger Superski area a few years ago - budget was under £5k for the two of us, excluding supermarket food shopping, which we would have done at home anyway. We have done working seasons in Paradiski and Chamonix, but if not working would definitely go back to Austria, where it all seems so much better value for money.
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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?
Quote:

And it's hard not to succumb to perfectionism when truly bumming - "it hasn't snowed in a week so I'll not bother"


Solution is to get into touring. Can get fresh tracks long after last snow and easy to justify the uphill when lift served terrain is all tracked out and you have an entire season.

I agree that lots of people don't take full advantage of their seasons. It's a fine line though between enjoyment and forcing yourself to ski. One of the main reasons I go for 3 months rather than a full season now is that I know after 3 months of snowboarding pretty much everyday I'm starting to get bored and lose motivation.
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queenie pretty please wrote:
Klammertime wrote:
chasing tail


What a horrible turn of phrase. rolling eyes


First time I've heard it. It's a lot more polite than other phrases he could have used....
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
As others have said, longer trips may mean you are tempted to pull the duvet over your head when a storm kicks in. rolling eyes

Our longest trips are usually for about 3 weeks but, regardless of the weather, we make sure we ski every day that we are there. It certainly makes bluebird days more special! Very Happy
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Quote:

Seen the ways people blow it or lose enthusiasm quite a lot when I spend seasons in places. A broken up romance can lead to a couple of weeks of moping, a party habit can severely interfere. And it's hard not to succumb to perfectionism when truly bumming - "it hasn't snowed in a week so I'll not bother". The people that enjoyed seasons the most/ were keenest to repeat were the ones that got out every day possible even in crappy conditions because that made them better skiers/riders.


In France, we would go down into the valley every 10 days or so and buy food. It was a lot cheaper than buying food in the resort. The price differential did not exist in Switzerland so we didn't bother.

For most people, ski bumming is something that ends. It's really hard to get it to work either economically or in terms of personal relationships if you divide your time between the UK and the mountains. So go skiing unless the weather really sucks.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Bergmeister wrote:
As others have said, longer trips may mean you are tempted to pull the duvet over your head when a storm kicks in.


No, if you are doing a season you go to the laundromat when a storm kicks in AND there are only a couple of lifts due to open. wink
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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!
If anyone knows any good seasonaire facebook pages for France or Austria can you put them on here please as I too am looking at doing a month or so in 2022.
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gorilla wrote:
Quote:

Seen the ways people blow it or lose enthusiasm quite a lot when I spend seasons in places. A broken up romance can lead to a couple of weeks of moping, a party habit can severely interfere. And it's hard not to succumb to perfectionism when truly bumming - "it hasn't snowed in a week so I'll not bother". The people that enjoyed seasons the most/ were keenest to repeat were the ones that got out every day possible even in crappy conditions because that made them better skiers/riders.


In France, we would go down into the valley every 10 days or so and buy food. It was a lot cheaper than buying food in the resort. The price differential did not exist in Switzerland so we didn't bother.

For most people, ski bumming is something that ends. It's really hard to get it to work either economically or in terms of personal relationships if you divide your time between the UK and the mountains. So go skiing unless the weather really sucks.


There was a swedish fellow there when I seasoned on his 10th straight season, you have to give up quite a lot to do that I think. Bet he has few regrets though!

Breaks are important, I made a point when skiing 4 months straight of purposely taking one day a week off, a rest day, get laundry done, go round the gear shops, coffees, more sleep etc. Hard to do sometimes but looking after yourself physically is important.

Bad weather days can be great skiing if you find the right part of the hill, in trees. Chamonix got closed a few times when I was there for excess snow/storms but having Les Houches on the pass was great, remained open, quiet and offered some interesting 'combat skiing' and loads of tree lined pisted runs, essential in poor viz. Le Tour has some great off piste tree skiing over the back on the swiss border, loops on a shortish run but still great. The larch trees by the retour pendant lift at bottom of l'Avancher bowl is good in bad weather too. Always somewhere. Defo think being raised on scottish ski areas makes a big difference to mindset, when a European or North American says it's bad weather or icy they really have no idea Laughing
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Quote:
Defo think being raised on scottish ski areas makes a big difference to mindset, when a European or North American says it's bad weather or icy they really have no idea Laughing


I can well imagine. Though I remember my one Scottish day tour, a local woman in our group turned back after the third time within a few minutes she was blown over by the wind doing a kick turn.
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I have done 3 months in Chamonix last winter without working. The accommodation was about 5k - not the cheapest or the most expensive around but I did not want a shoebox. Plus about 1k for season pass. Rest was food, tourism and etc but I did not spend much more, probably similar to UK if I was around here. It's pretty difficult to choose an area given so many are awesome but in the end I chose Chamonix cause I just love being there regardless of skiing
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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.
@Flomansnowman So I just took a look at our La Tzoumaz Agency's website and there's a 50m² 2-bedroom apartment for season rent for CHF 6'000 (£5,000) 180m from the lift with shared laundry and boot room and underground parking space. So perhaps my estimate of £7K for a studio was on the high side. See Bellvue 530. Just an example - I'm not necessarily recommending this specific place. And so much for my statement that websites don't usually offer season/monthly rentals!


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Mon 11-01-21 15:04; edited 1 time in total
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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
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I think in my first "season" (in Whistler) I managed at one point a month streak (probably 31 days spanning Jan into Feb). Some days it was a bit of a cheat e.g. going out for a couple of hours first thing then hitching a ride down to Squamish or up to Pemberton to do some shopping or general seeing something different. Wouldn't bother trying such "records" again - take a break when you're tired and things won't be stellar, much better than breaking down an missing the powder week of the winter etc.

Curiously enough my most regular "dream" these days revolves being on a ski holiday and not getting out for a succession of reasons until about the 5th day...now that is anxiety...probably Covid related.
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You know it makes sense.
Does anyone know at what point it becomes tricky to do remote working in Europe from a tax perspective?

For example, if we rent a place in Bourg or Mayerhofen for three months and work remotely from home via internet for 3 days a week...at the job we currently do from home in England.

Will we get stung?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

There was a swedish fellow there when I seasoned on his 10th straight season, you have to give up quite a lot to do that I think. Bet he has few regrets though!


Exactly, the saying you only regret the things you didn't true seems to work for ski seasons. It's a personal thing, but for me the negatives are definitely outweighed massively by the positives. In that respect I feel like I'd be giving up more not be doing a ski season.

Quote:

It's really hard to get it to work either economically or in terms of personal relationships if you divide your time between the UK and the mountains.


Economics are not so difficult if you go full ski bum - going off my budget a full 6 months snowboarding in Canada would be around £4k. If you want a bit more comfort and luxury it becomes a more a difficult balance. In terms of personal relationships I manage to keep in touch with the people I want to, not hard with Skype, Facebook etc. On the flip side is say my social life is more lively while ski bumming, and have made a lot of good friends there too.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:

And it's hard not to succumb to perfectionism when truly bumming - "it hasn't snowed in a week so I'll not bother"


Solution is to get into touring. Can get fresh tracks long after last snow and easy to justify the uphill when lift served terrain is all tracked out and you have an entire season.


This is great advice. Helps burn off the beer belly too! Go somewhere high. Touring in April is magic
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@boarder2020, Just out of interest what type of accommodation do you get for £335 per month? That sounds remarkably cheap compared to anything in the Alps.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@GeorgeVII I should clarify that £335 per month is not going to get anything at Whistler or Banff. In interior BC it can get you a shared house with private room. Here is an example at fernie https://ferniehotelandpub.com/rooms/
£350 per month.

It's a lot easier if you know someone living in the town who can ask around and put in a good word for you. A lot of people have spare rooms they will sublet out to the right person.

Yes it's far cheaper than the Alps. I have wanted to do a season in Chamonix for a while but the cost is crazy. Even looking at hostels sharing a room with other people is way more expensive. Lift pass is double the cost too. Even with the transatlantic flights Canada is so much more affordable. That's why I mentioned Canada even though the op said Europe, I think it offers best bang for buck as they were looking for.

Quote:

This is great advice. Helps burn off the beer belly too! Go somewhere high. Touring in April is magic


There has been times we've really wanted to do certain tours and while we ofcourse enjoyed all the powder days there was a slight disappointment in seeing more snow forecast and knowing avalanche danger would remain to high to get out there Laughing
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@boarder2020, very few "proper" jobs want you for half of the year. Women also usually at best lukewarm on guys that f'off to the Alps for months on end. Those who I know who have really made it work went all in and moved there properly.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Fwiw I would always recommend shared accomodation over private to anyone doing a season. I get that shared has its drawbacks. It's by far the easiest way to meet others though. You know anyone staying in that accomodation in fernie is there to ski. Straight away you have something in common and partners to go out with. Also highly likely that they are going to be working on the hill or in bars/restaurants. As a ski bum these are the people you want to be friends with - ski info and potential free/cheap food Laughing
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@boarder2020, Thanks for the info. I know from my own experience what it can cost in the Alps. €1200 per month for a 23 sq.mtr studio (in resort). Big enough for two when my partner flew out to stay and had the seasonnaire bonus of a washing machine. I had fantastic 5 month stay as retirement gift to myself. Last Season I was looking to do about 8 weeks but Covid brought all that to a halt.
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Along the lines of the Canada suggestion, do look at Niseko. Much cheaper than Europe, much more snow, and so easy with lots of cheap/shared accomm in Hirafu (in effect Niseko's main base/hub), or easy 15min bus to Kutchan (nearest decent-sized town). I did five weeks and adored it; something like 20 days of fresh snow from 31 days of total skiing. I paid a shade under £30/day and this included excellent half-board Japanese style meals. My room (shared, but what did you expect at that price) was also just a 90-second walk from the lifts. These places are dying out as Niseko gets more known/developed, but cheap and excellent is still possible.
You can grab most of the info from Fall-Line website (Season In A Month, Japan On A Budget etc) as I wrote about it all. Yes, the flight will cost you more, but as soon as you land everything is cheaper than North America or Europe...
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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!
TheGeneralist wrote:
Does anyone know at what point it becomes tricky to do remote working in Europe from a tax perspective?

For example, if we rent a place in Bourg or Mayerhofen for three months and work remotely from home via internet for 3 days a week...at the job we currently do from home in England.

Will we get stung?

It's a bit of a minefield. Not only do you have to consider your own tax position (in terms of where you are resident for Tax purposes, which used to be that <183 days abroad wouldn't take you away from being considered UK resident for Tax), you also need to inform your employer (since some countries have payroll reporting requirements for workers who are in one country and working remotely into another).
There is also the GDPR aspects if any of the data that you are accessing shouldn't be leaving UK territory.

My current client sent out an edict in September to all staff saying that anyone who didn't return to the UK before the end of the month would be barred from access the systems (and considered to be on unpaid leave until they returned).

The best course of action would be to be totally upfront with your employer and see what their HR department said.... and then get specific legal advice (because the HR department almost certainly won't know) relating to the type of work you do and the location you'll be working out of.

As a self-employed person.. while I've often considered working remotely for extended periods like this, the tax considerations of operating a UK Ltd Co in another country's jurisdiction has made me think again. I know many people that do it.. but I can't be bothered with all the red-tape and dealing with "withholding taxes" that get reclaimed annually where possible.
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@gorilla If someone wants the recognition of having a "proper" job ski bum is not the lifestyle they should be picking. For me personally I left a professional job for a year out, which ended up morphing into being a full time ski bum. Personally I am far worse off financially. I could probably use my time away from snowboarding to earn more money, but instead choose a lower paid but extremely enjoyable summer job. I am happy to sacrifice financial earnings for quality of life though.

I have a friend whos not a ski bum but travels a lot. She goes home to Florida and will work as a waitress save up money and then go travel for 6months to a year before returning. She likes it when people turn their noses up at her being a waitress as it's not a proper job. Little do most of them realise as a waitress in Florida she's making around $200 per day! So just because it's not a "proper" job it's possible to earn plenty of money.

I know another guy who does winter in Canada and summer surfing in central america. In between he returns to UK to see family and do clinical drug trials that pay for the rest of his year.

Neither of these people have a job society looks on particularly highly. Most of them are much happier and imo have a much better quality of life than those I know with professional careers.

As for women not liking guys that leave for months at a time. I'm not looking to settle down and get married anytime soon so not particularly a problem. I have had a couple of girlfriends in Canada, i suspect they wanted something more short term and casual so knowing I would be leaving the country in the not too distant future was perfect.

I'm not trying to say that there is a right way to live your life. Even doing a ski season is probably not the right choice for everyone. I just think a lot of the traditional ideas society has of "get a good job, buy a house, get married, have kids" are put forward to why ski bumming is bad. Personally I think these ideas are a little outdated and don't actually lead to happiness for a lot of people. It would be much easier for people like me and the ones I mentioned to live a more regular life, we choose not to because we think what we are doing is better for us right now. We are not so naive we think it is perfect, we understand the downsides and why others with other interests/goals may not want it for themselves, but for us any downsides are massively outweighed.
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Thanks for all your detailed responses guys, really did not expect such good feedback!

Looks like I’ve got some research and filtering to do. Definitely leaning towards a quieter town not dominated by apres as I am not much of a drinker. I have also been wanting to try ski touring for many years so some of your suggestions seem to fit my ideal very well.

What is the best way to get into the touring side of the sport just out of interest?

Again thanks a lot for your in depth suggestions, really appreciate it Very Happy
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