The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

In Appreciation of Proximity

Stark black and white contrast with powerline and snow

Hoar frosted trees and dark metal throw sharp contrast on a bluebird day.

At 3:30 I sent an email. By 4:00, I was skinning up the south side of Teton Pass in complete awe of the bluebird sky and 1/4″ hoar frost (hoar frost is a beautiful but dangerous snow crystal). While the conditions warranted prudence, I couldn’t help but lose my mind in the ease of transitioning from work to outside with my favorite outdoor partner. With both of us possessing all the necessary gear, knowledge and desire to use it, it was almost as simple as jumping in the car to head to the grocery store. But as wonderful as all this is, I still find myself asking: can I afford to stay here?

There was a day when I was happy with three roommates in some crappy basement ‘apartment’ in Vail. At the tender age of nineteen, I watched in awe as twenty-somethings who seemingly had it all, chose to leave town to take ‘real’ jobs where they could vacation in the mountains a few times a year. Was it an age-related illness? Was it something in the water? After years accumulating kayaking, climbing, skiing and biking gear along with the ability to use it, why would they throw in the towel and head back to nowhere?

With a few more years under my belt, I’ve come to realize that nowhere is a matter of perception and anywhere outside a resort/tourist town is infinitely more affordable than my chosen haunts. In fact, my current choice is so severe that a quick Google search revealed my county as the highest personal per capita income in the U.S. at $132,728, surpassing Manhattan with $120,790. (article here) Standards of living change, too. These people weren’t bailing out on their dreams; their dreams changed and/or realism set in.

All of the above weighs in as I begin to question my ability to afford this lifestyle and this town in general. When a seemingly average afternoon like this proves to be so extraordinary, the idea that I must find a way to persevere in the land of expensive become prominent. So maybe home ownership and student loan payoffs will have to wait for a while. The raw fact of desk-to-skis in under thirty minutes is a pretty incredible reality.

Crazy French Athlete Video of the Day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtL9FQFBqiE

One Response to “In Appreciation of Proximity”

  1. Taku says:

    Think hard about having to own a house. If you can be disciplined and not buy quite so much gear – (got any room at your place for a few boats/bikes/packs/etc.) it can really be nice to not have to spend weekends doing house repairs, painting, gardening. Having just moved to Jackson and not being able to sell the house in MT – and having to use it as a rental with all the attendant hassles – makes home ownership a questionable adventure. Now about being able to make an affordable salary here….. See you on the Pass tomorrow afternoon after work – it is worth quite a bit!!!

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