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Signs of a withering relationship | Photo Credit:

Signs of a withering relationship? | Photo Credit: Public Affairs Office Fort Wainwright

Since moving to Big Sky in 2010, ski technician Jimmy Sieman has learned a lot. He’s become proficient in judging a continental snowpack from an inter-mountain one and can execute a seriously flawless daffy.

Also Read: Skier Sues Local Friend Following Ski Accident

However, finding balance between riding and romance has continued to elude the 6-year resident of Montana and it’s only getting worse. Just yesterday, Sieman found himself teaching his summer girlfriend how to snowboard on what he referred to as the first “real” powder day of the season. While many ski bums will wince in pain at hearing this unfortunate story, everyone knows that nobody is to blame but Jimmy himself.

Back in August, after 3 years without a memorable sexual encounter, Jimmy found himself at the Black Bear Bar and Grill when his elbow unitentionally made contact with new-to-town female and Florida native, Tricia “The Dish” Summers. That menial physical contact was enough to spur a conversation between the 22 year-old Floridian and Sieman that would ultimately last til bar-close.

Photo Credit:

What Sieman could have been doing | Photo Credit: Zach Dischner 

By the end of the night, the two lovers stumbled back to Summers’ apartment where they proceeded to have what Sieman still refers to as “the best sex of my life.”

Fast forward 4 months and Sieman is not so content. Reports from Sieman’s buddies indicate that the avid skier has yet to go for a rip with his friends but instead spent the last 10 days on the hill covering the basics of toe side vs. heel side turns with the object of his desire. The ski tech has never snowboarded a day in his life.

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There are three ski areas left in the United States that infamously keep snowboarders off their lifts: Utah’s Alta and Deer Valley, and Vermont’s Mad River Glen. Through legal battles and cultural differences, these holdouts have resiliently fought letting riders join skiers on the slopes, thus continuing the festering disdain between the two lifestyles, though most of their resort colleagues have long accepted snowboarding. That animosity has made Alta and Mad River Glen particularly easy targets for snowboarders to claim the honor of riding in ski-only resorts, to taste a fruit forbidden to those who prefer to stand sideways.

This past weekend, Vermont-based PowderJet Snowboards organized the first annual Mad River Glen Family Group Poach, aptly titled “Free It If You Can,” an ode to our lifestyle’s spirit of rebellion. Though this is unlikely to change the Glen’s dated attitude towards us, we hope it can crack a smile and a laugh for one of snowboarding’s oldest traditions. Ride on guys. — Jens Heig, Editor

Photography and captions by Shem Roose

Free-it-if-you-can-powderJet-Snowboards-Shem-Roose-3620 This group photo was taken by a friendly Mad River Glen employee just moments after riding down to hoots and hollers from skiers on the chairlift. From left to right: Ryan Macrillo , Brennan Guerriere, Mike Steen, Seth Beck, Chris Bolen, Simon Loomis, Jesse Loomis, Elijah Pedriani, Dan Pia-Needleman, and Shem Roose.

I was standing beside a horde of skiers, all eagerly waiting in line for the single chair, as my fellow participants in the first annual PowderJet Family Poach steadily descended, laying defiant slashes into the sacred Mad River Glen snow. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a little girl tugging at her mother’s jacket, wildly pointing at the procession. When her mother looked down, the little girl exclaimed, “mom, it’s, it’s….SNOWBOARDERS.”

Mad River Glen was not always the bastion of snowboarding discrimination. The ski area, founded on Rockefeller money with a goal to keep commercialization off the slopes, was actually one of the first to welcome snowboarders in the 1980s. A series of events, culminating in an infamous confrontation between former owner Betsy Pratt and a group of local riders, brought about the snowboard ban in 1993. The resort was purchased by a group of skier shareholders in 1995 who have steadfastly voted to maintain the ban ever since.

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Believe it or not, being a ski or snowboard instructor isn’t all powder days and partying. Welcome to the secret world of instructing where we work hard, are frequently poor and have to deal with way too many bodily fluids.Here are 20 things about us that you probably didn’t know:

1. We get paid shit all. You may be paying $800 for your full day private lesson but we’ll only see about 15% of that money. The truth is, most countries just don’t pay us much. Australia is one of the top paying countries with a starting rate of about $23 an hour, compared to places like Canada that will start you out at $13 an hour.

imag53202. We really are ridiculously good looking. Most ski and snowboard instructors are young and fit, so it makes sense we’re a little bit more attractive than the average person. BUT…

3. Everyone looks better in snow gear. Seriously. People look way more attractive with their goggles on but as soon as you get them in the bar you’re sure to be disappointed. Don’t be fooled. Plus…

4. Our feet are probably gross. There are a few downsides to squishing our feet into damp boots every day, and this is one of them. Expect calluses, ingrown toenails, bruises and blisters.

5. We only get given our uniform. We must provide our own snowboard/skis, boots, bindings, helmets, goggles, gloves, thermal layers and a phone (easier said than done in foreign countries). These are all essential for us to do our jobs but we get no compensation for them. However, we usually get pretty good store discounts.

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We’re psyched you’re getting ready to learn to ski or snowboard this season!

First, check out this resource to learn how to get started.

You’ll find answers to your questions, such as what to wear, where to go, where to find equipment, how to find a ski resort, and more!

Remember, taking a professional ski or snowboard lesson is the way to go. Regardless of your ability level, there are lessons for everyone – beginner, intermediate, expert, private and group.

If you’re learning to ski or snowboard, help set a Guinness World Record on Friday, Jan. 6 for the largest ski and largest snowboard ever taught. See what resorts are participating and sign up!

Have fun, and see you on the slopes!

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The town of Taos is is apparently a good home base for skiers.

Taos has been chosen as the “top ski town” in the country by USA Today readers. The honor was part of USA Today’s “10Best Reader’s Choice” contest. It included weeks of online voting.

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