Day in The Life of a Ski Bum Photographer

“You only get one life, but if you do it right, once is enough”

This winter I went all in and spent 3 months living out of my car, taking pictures, meeting amazing people, and skiing of course. I just wanted to talk about what the day to day life was like.

Morning

My wake up time was pretty all over the place. On average I would say I woke up around 7:30 am

Waking up was always the hardest part of the day as I had to get out of my sleeping bag that seemingly just got warm and walk around in temperatures that were sometimes down below 0 °F.

After waking up I would get out my Jetboil and boil some warm water to make some oatmeal or if I was feeling really good sometimes I even made some eggs and sausage for breakfast!

Then it was off to the ski hill to meet up with the days athlete and get some epic shots

Afternoon

We were usually happy with the shots and starting to get tired around 2 pm. I usually made a quick PB&J and headed back into the nearest town to get some computer work done

On the computer I always had a list of things to do, sometimes it was editing the photos from that day and the last couple days, and sometimes it was just responding and sending emails.

But this usually lasted until around 5 or 6 pm or just till I got hungry for dinner.

Winding Down

After all that I was always tired and ready for a good meal and some sleep.

Dinner could be a lot of things, I tried to make my own food most of the time but fast food was a little too tempting some nights. Eggs were really popular, and so was instant noodles and rice. On top of that almost every dinner was followed up with a sausage link or two for “desert”.

Dinner wrapped up at 7-8 pm and it was already dark and time for bed! after reading some ski magazines and watching a YouTube video or 2 I was passed out and ready for another full day!

IKONic Trip Pt.3 Eldora, CO

Ice is fun to ski

-said no one ever

After one too many frigid nights in steamboat springs I decided I had to move on to my next ski destination which was Eldora, Colorado.

Eldora was almost the polar opposite of steamboat, going from a rich ski town with huge hotels all over to a humble ski resort tucked into the back hills of Colorado.

It only took one day of pure ice skiing up at the resort till I knew I had to find other ways to pass the time up there

Lucky for me it only took a bit of searching to find a really cool spot in the woods I had all to myself for the next couple nights

The next thing I needed to find was wifi and power to work on my photos. This quest me lead to a really cool coffee shop built into an old box car. I spent many hours in there

In all reality that is pretty much all that happened in Eldora, with the skiing too miserable to justify and a nice coffee shop to catch up on my Jackson Hole photos, I just spent my days there camping in the woods and working out of a coffee shop.

IKONic Trip Pt.2 Steamboat Springs

The next leg of my car camping adventure was in Steamboat Colorado. I ended up leaving here early due to extreme cold and bad snow, but I still managed to have a good time.

After hitting below -20 °F multiple nights in a row, I leaned to never take being warm for granted.

I was sleeping with 2 coats on and a base layer inside of my -20 °F rated down mummy bag. And after all of that it was still a bit chilly.

I also learned the value of warming your ski boots up on the drive up to the hill.

It only took two miserable morning to get that one in my head.

I wish I could say the snow was worth all of this cold, but they were in a dry spell and everything was just ice.

That was until my last day where I was poking around in the trees and found a untouched pillow field.

I still have no idea why this wasn’t skied out at all as it hadn’t snowed in like a week, but I sure was glad to be able to ski something other than icy groomers.

But as soon as I skied that zone out and saw only more cold nights in the forecast without new snow I new it was time to leave.

Next Stop | Eldora, Colorado

IKONic Trip Pt.1 Jackson, WY

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, Live as if you’ll die tomorrow”

-James Dean

December 29, 2020 I just left the place I have called home for my whole life to go off and live out of my 1992 Honda Accord for the next 3 months, spirits are high.

I have decided to call it the IKONic Trip, get it? Cause I am riding at all the Ikon Pass resorts in western America. And this IKONic Trip is about to be the best 3 month of my life, and I don’t even know it yet

This journey begins in Jackson, WY

I arrive in the town of Jackson not knowing anyone or even where I’ll be staying the night. Luckily after finding a local ski shop and asking the local ski bums the let me in on the spots.

It took about the first week to figure out how this whole ski bum thing works. My sleep schedule was off, my eating was off, and I had no idea what to do with myself.

Luckily about a week in I got a random Instagram DM out of the blue

This simple DM got me connecting into the Jackson Hole community and really launched me right into full ski bum mode. I started waking up at 7 am to get those early turns, and even 5:30 one morning to get on first tram.

There are way too many fun moments to recount them all so I’ll share one of my favorite days.

It was the morning of January 6th and my alarm goes off at 5:30 am. I didn’t sleep great given that it was right around 0°F all night, but I know that in a couple hours I won’t regret this early wake up time

I arrive at the trail head of with todays athlete, Sophia Schwatz.

I am scrambling to get all my gear ready to go with my half frozen fingers, but I can’t stop to warm them up because we have a sunrise to catch.

As a photographer power poles are usually my arch nemesis, but in this case they stick out like giants and make a very cool scene.

We keep skinning along until we finally hit the saddle and then I see it, an inversion!

Coming from Montana we don’t get inversions all that much so this was extra special to me. I get my camera out and prepare capture all this moment has to offer.

As quick as the sunrise began, it dissipated into the just a simple morning sun. But somehow the day still wasn’t over! We still had a jump session ahead of us.

With a soft landing and a jump already made for us Sophia absolutely threw it down for the shots!

Now the day was finally wrapping up and I couldn’t wait to get to the computer and start editing!

Conclusion

I had way too many amazing stories to put them all in this single blog so I’ll just let a small photo gallery do the rest of the talking:

What a perfect place to start off my trip!

Fun facts

  • Number of car malfunctions: 2
  • Coldest night: -5 °F
  • Number of nights in my car: 11
  • Tim Durtchi’s photographed: 1
  • Cool people met: 9
  • Picture taken: 1.9k
  • Hot springs enjoyed: 1

That pretty much wraps up my time in Jackson, WY. I wouldn’t replace it for anything, but I had other places to explore! Stay tuned to hear about Part 2 in Colorado! *Spoiler* It only got colder