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I grew up in the Midwest and snowboarded since I was about 6, but we could never afford to go to any big resorts out west and I just rode at the small ski areas that were close. After taking my first trip out west I was hooked and saved to move out. I had no clue how to live on my own though, especially in an expensive ski town. I got a job teaching skiing on the weekends and worked some nights at a store. Everything was entry level and didn't pay well.

Now why it was amazing. I moved into a studio apartment with my two best friends and no furniture. We slept on the floor. The apartments around us were filled with Australians doing the same thing, and some dudes from LA.

All of us became close real quick and they were endlessly cooler than people back home. That season had one of the biggest snowfalls in decades, and I had access to world class resorts. My work schedule left me with 5-6 days a week to ride it, with people from around the world.

That alone was worth the struggle. Outside of that, we all hung out every night playing music, poaching hot tubs, playing penny slots at the casino for free drinks, building snowboard parks to ride at night, and just being immersed in this culture that was so different from where I grew up. It was like living in the magazines I grew up reading.


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Also riding with and meeting all the pros back then was insane. More than anything though it was the friendships, we all looked out for each other and struggled together so we could keep riding together. Our power was shut off a few times till we got enough tips to turn it back on, there were a lot of times we only ate by

eating people's garbage at the resort, and I don't think either of my roommates or myself bought a single thing outside food and bills. It was a learning experience though and a time I'll never forget. Easily the best year of my life.

I ended up sticking it out and moved my way up to a comfortable spot. The second year was a lot easier and after that it was real easy. Still though, nothing will ever beat toughing it out with my best friends just so we could snowboard and live out this crazy idea. That next summer I wrote a note about how my view on life had changed, and on really stressful days I'll pull it out and remember why I chose this path.


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"Its good to know that some of the happiest days of my life occurred while I had no money and few possessions, but that the next day I would wake up in one of the most beautiful places on earth, be surrounded by good friends,

and do something I absolutely love. Over the course of my life I hope to have a successful career, and do well for myself, but I can't describe how

comforting it is to know that I could lose all the material possessions to my name, and I could still be as happy as the day before. A wise group of men once said "All you need is love." and I couldn't agree more.

Love where you are, who your with, and what your doing, and you'll never fall asleep without a smile on your face."

Clint Patterson/Unsplash

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