Autumn Phillips: 10 questions
October 13, 2005
Answer these 10 questions to determine whether you should move to a ski town.
Suddenly, that seemed like such a profound offer. Some sucker who had just watched a Warren Miller movie was planning to pack up his or her Pathfinder for a new life in the mountains. By taking this quiz, he or she could be saved the fate suffered by so many who show up here in November with big dreams and leave town a few years later — bitter and complaining about the time they wasted.
I’ve been in town only four years, and already my life has been a Mardi Gras parade of goodbye parties. Almost every one of those goodbyes has involved the late-night, long conversation on the porch with the soon-to-be departed. They sigh and begin with, “I would stay, but …” followed by a tirade of complaints that usually are economic or romantic in nature.
The goal-oriented ones learn quickly that if you’re climbing any kind of ladder here, there are only a few rungs. Those who have “made it” are balancing on the tops of kitchen stools guarding their positions. Instead of following the traditional career path to the grave, you have to make a lot of sacrifices to live here, or at least spend some time redefining what’s important.
My mind wandered through all of this before I read the first question of the 10-question quiz. So, of course, I was disappointed.
The quiz was in the back of Ski Press Magazine, a free publication that mysteriously appeared all over town this week. I grabbed a copy at the post office along with my mail.
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As I took the quiz, I realized it was just a test to see whether the reader had a grasp of the more obscure ski and snowboard jargon and the finer points of gondola etiquette. And because I can’t just see the obvious humor in something like that, I tossed the mag aside and grumbled that this is the kind of propaganda that keeps people naively moving here “to ski.”
While they are building their mental ski-town fantasy, most people forget that the ski season lasts only five months, unless you’re willing to hike. Even then, the snow eventually melts and you find yourself on Lincoln Avenue in a pair of shorts and flip flops needing another reason to be here.
So that I don’t have to keep saying goodbye, here’s my attempt at 10 questions you should ask yourself before moving to a ski town. They’re based on all the “Why I’m leaving” speeches I’ve sat through during the years.
1. When you dress for an evening out, what shoes do you consider appropriate?
a. Strappy heels
b. Above-the-knee leather boots
c. Birkenstocks, Tevas or muddy Merrills
2. When you think of your dream job, which of these three perks comes to mind?
a.Regular trips to Hong Kong, Paris and New York.
b. A huge computer monitor and the latest cutting-edge software.
c. Enough income so you only have to work one job.
3. If you had an extra $500 burning a hole in your pocket, you would:
a. Buy a new pair of shoes.
b. Replace the rain gutters.
c. Upgrade your bindings.
4. If you blew out both knees and could never ski again, you:
a. Say it’s not a big deal. You take taxis everywhere anyway.
b. Worry about how the surgery scars would hurt your social life.
c. Suddenly become a sort of community exile with nothing to do from November to April.
5. What is the first thing you think of when I say “trailer park”?
a. Is there still such a thing?
b. I’m never more at home than when there are wheels and a hitch under the living room window.
c. Sounds like land just waiting to be developed.
6. When I say “nightlife,” you think:
a. Making sure I’m on the list at all the “it” spots.
b. Hot dogs, Budweiser and season tickets.
c. I’ll go anywhere they don’t charge a cover at the door.
7. You decide to get a dog. You choose:
a. Something that can fit in my Louis Vuitton handbag.
b. Something furless. I hate shedding.
c. A golden retriever.
8. What’s your favorite restaurant?
a. Any one of the five Indian restaurants within walking distance of my apartment.
b. I’m a regular at the oxygen bar.
c. I can’t imagine eating anything but a steak or Mexican.
9. You’re shopping for a new car. The most important feature is:
a. The built-in, hands-free cell phone.
b. Fake wood paneling.
c. Four-wheel drive.
10. I get my information about local politics from:
a. US Weekly
b. The New York Times
c. I ask the City Council president at the free summer concert.