Coworking spaces are all the rage in cities, but now mountain-town residents are getting in on the action. Frankly, we're surprised it took this long: Professionals who relocate to ski towns do it for the lifestyle, and often, their work involves telecommuting or self-employment. Working from home can be a hassle for a number of reasons, and ski towns are all about community. Welcome to Manifest Destiny 2.0: How to live and work in ski country when you're a grown-up. From Squaw Valley to Durango, we've got the lowdown on why high-altitude coworking hubs are hot.
The Mountain Coworking Alliance is a network of eight spaces located in ski resorts throughout the Sierras and Rocky Mountains like Tahoe, Park City, Jackson Hole, Avon, Frisco, Durango, and Basalt. It makes sense that some of these hubs are in affordable commuter towns, which enables them to offer more affordable rates. Their location also taps into the local professionals with flex schedules who live the mountain lifestyle, but can't afford or don't want to live in a major resort. Gateway ski cities like Durango, Missoula, and Boulder draw start-ups and tech industry employees, while resorts like Jackson Hole and Basalt have sizeable art communities from which to draw members like writers or graphic designers.
Why pay to share an office space when you can work from home (and write it off) for "free?" As Curbed Ski can attest, sitting alone in your pj's at your computer all day is isolating, and can actually be detrimental to productivity. Sure, it's great to avoid showers and let the dishes pile up, but living like an animal can turn into a downward spiral. Coworking offers a sense of community, and provides inspiration, companionship, and networking, collaborative, and job opportunities. Some work hubs offer meet-ups and business seminars. Free coffee or espresso machines, conference and private rooms, access to printers, scanners, and the like, and even free reciprocal days, local baked goods, kitchens, networking parties, and other perks are often part of the package.
Coworking spaces aren't just for locals, either. With everything from half- to full-day rates (starting at just $15) or 24/7 monthly access ($335 at Durango Space), the Mountain Coworking Alliance is also targeting tourists, domestic and international business travelers, and ski commuters. For weekend warriors, coworking can put an end to hellish ski traffic, and ramp up mid-week hotel and condo bookings. The potential for coworking to stimulate ski town economies, diversify demographics, and invigorate communities with new businesses and fresh ideas is boundless, especially if they come to isolated areas like Crested Butte or Telluride.
Whether you live in the big smoke or off-the-grid, coworking is a trend that's not going anywhere. According to Frisco's Elevate CoSPACE, "more than half of the workforce will work remotely by 2020." Rare is the person who can work from home day-in, day-out, without getting a bit stir-crazy. Having organizations like the Mountain Coworking Alliance will change the future of ski towns. Long live the culture of the ski bum, but Curbed Ski is stoked to see that people with "real jobs" now have a way to live their alpine dream, as well.
Looking for a work hub in your area? Here's a list of Mountain Coworking Alliance-affiliated locations:
South Lake Tahoe: Tahoe Mountain Lab
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows: Tahoe Mill Collective
Park City: Assemble Park City
Jackson Hole: Spark Jackson Hole
Frisco: Elevate CoSPACE
Basalt: River CoWorks
Durango: Durango Space
· Park City Added to Mountain Coworking Alliance with ELEVATE [Elevate]
· Beat Après Ski Commute- at Work [The Denver Post]
· Mapping the Best Community Ski Hills in the West [Curbed Ski]
· Why the Death of the Ski Bum Will Ruin Ski Towns Everywhere [Curbed Ski]
· Madrid's Coolest Coworking Pad is Full of Artfully-Placed Holes [Curbed National]