Curbed Ski will be highlighting some of the most expensive vacation rentals later today, but we begin Renter's Week with a shout out to the little people. Everyone who loves snow has contemplated running to the hills and living the sweet, simple life of powder. There's even a Ski Bum Scholarship, if you can believe it. Packing everything now and headed to your favorite ski town? Congratulations, you've made the decision to be a ski bum. Whether you bum it up in Whistler, Vail, or Park City, here's a handy guide for getting a roof over your head and skis on your feet, stat. Just beware, the ski bum life is amazing but isn't just about your goggle tan. Be prepared for late nights, crowded digs, and lots of irritating tourists.
1. Go wherever you can find a cheap place to live. Know a cousin who's slumming it in Aspen or an old friend who just moved to Tahoe? Don't miss out on a potentially cheap lodging situation just because you'd rather be in a different mountain town.
2. Team up with other ski bums. Ski bums stick together, so seek out the rattiest people in town and find lodging together. Share apartments, rooms, or houses in order to bring costs down.
3. If it all possible, rent an apartment close to the ski area. We know, we know, there's a cheap apartment an hour from the ski area, and it's tempting! But don't do it. A ten-minute drive is one thing, but any long commutes (often over mountain passes) mean that you pay more in gas, car repairs, and you might miss work if the roads get bad. Instead, find a rental within a twenty-minute drive of the ski resort. You won't regret it.
4. Look beyond Craigslist. When you're searching for a rental, get off the computer and into town. Go to coffee shops, pizza parlors, and the visitor center. Check out postings on the local corkboards and talk to everyone you meet. You'll never know whose dog walker's brother needs a new roommate.
5. Try to get a job with the ski resort. Many ski resorts offer employee housing for those who score the coveted resort jobs. That fancy cocktail waitressing job may pay a bit more, but it doesn't come with housing!
6. When in doubt, beg. If you can't find any reasonable rentals, ask for help. Volunteer to shovel snow, clean houses, and walk dogs in exchange for a free stay in someone's Harry Potter closet under the stairs.
7. That's it! You've done it! Now get out there and ski till you can't feel those legs.