After a grueling four month application process to Teach English in Korea, just weeks before my anticipated departure date, on a sweltering night in Central Texas, I received a call from my recruiter, informing me that the EPIK (English Program In Korea) had overhired. My options were simple. I could either chalk the whole thing up to a loss, and move on, or I could wait seven months and enter with the Spring ‘18 class of GETs (Guest English Teachers) in February. I still remember the rapid fire movement of my thumbs as I typed out this note. I shared it to Instagram, I’m not really sure why. And then came the calls. Friends from college, family, and distant Facebook friends spammed me like I’d just threatened suicide. I took it down, no one understood. It would have been easy to fall even deeper into that whole by continuing to do nothing for the next seven months, but I chose to make the most of this time.
Since that family trip to Angel Fire New Mexico, in 2000, I’d been in love with the mountains. As a Texas kid, who hated the heat, I’d spend 51 weeks a year daydreaming of the slopes of Wolf Creek. My love for the mountains influenced my decision to go to Texas Tech. Lubbock Texas isn’t often a selling point, but to me, it was six hours closer to my escape, and it was still in-state. It was there that I joined the ski club, and finally got a couple seasons with double digit days. Naturally, after graduation, I fled North West, and that’s how I found myself on the Front Range. As one of my last purchases before depleting my savings, I bought an EPIC pass, which gave me unlimited access to several resorts in the area. Keystone was the closest, so that’s primarily where I went.
Cut short by my move back home, I think I managed somewhere around 15 days of snowboarding in the winter of ‘17, and while I still had much to learn, I finally felt like a solid intermediate. More importantly, during one of those days at Keystone, I linked up with a friend of a friend who taught snowboarding. So, when I got that dreaded message of doom in July, I immediately reached out to him.
Sure, I could have googled “winter jobs Keystone”, you could too, but hearing about the process from Sean made me feel as if it could actually be achieved. For nearly a year, I’d googled opportunities, only to see my motivation fizzle out from frustration, so having that point of reference was crucial to me. Sean was living proof that it could be achieved. I was far from expert on a board, but he’d ridden with me, which gave me the confidence to apply to teach. He sent me to the Vail Resorts Career Page, where I easily navigated to the “Keystone Jobs” page, and began the application.
I spent hours, updating my resume, writing and rewriting a custom cover letter, and answering each question with care. I hoped that with a degree in Hospitality Management and Sean as a reference I’d at least get me a call back, but after a literal year of disappointment, I had serious doubts. Aside from an automated email that generated when I finally submitted my application, I heard nothing for several weeks. I now know that winter recruiters rarely reach out before late August, and after many days of anticipation, the email invite to schedule an interview finally came through.
Deep in the San Juan mountains, on a last minute road trip, I remembered the phone interview fifteen minutes before I was supposed to take the call. I had Jason, my college roommate, pull off at an abandoned car wash, and it was from there, leaned up against his truck, that I did the interview. The guy on the phone was friendly, and it didn’t last long. He asked me if I’d prefer to work with kids or adults, to tell him about a time when I helped someone out, and a few other basic questions. I asked when I might here back. And without even seeing me, or confirming that I could ride a snowboard, he offered me the job. It turns out, nearly everyone who applies to seasonal jobs gets a call.
More resources for Seasonal Jobs: https://www.coolworks.com/