Just a few short weeks after successful launch, Emon Lusk has announced a partnership with Bale Resorts to be the first private company to build a Mountain Coaster on the surface of Mars. Initially, Bale Resorts had their eyes set on the moon, but after the exposure and success of launching the Billionaires personal vehicle into orbit, they set their eyes on a bigger prize.
“Mars just seemed like the right place for a mountain coaster. With low competition, and really not much else for visitors to keep amused, we knew we had to make a move before someone else beat us.” Said Bale Resorts Chief Marketing Director in a private interview. “We chose a gorgeous spot on Olympus Mons with out of this world views. Our goal is to create an experience guests will remember forever.”
Mars only has 38% of the gravity compared to Earth, and Lusk has been tasked with taking the necessary steps to make sure guests will still have a memorable experience. Lusk’s plans currently include using an electromagnetic field on the 3000ft track to propel thrillseekers down the track, to the unloading dock where riders will exit through the gift shop.
“We plan on launching our initial payload & construction crew in April of 2018, so that construction may begin around January 2019.” Stated Lusk “Our goal is to have The Martian Coaster completed by May 2020, so that we will be ready for peak summer tourism.”
“The Martian Coaster will be phase 1 of Bale Resort’s expansion to the stars. If all goes right, we plan on bringing a first of its kind terra-formed 4 season resort & waterpark within 10 years. At the end of the day, we don’t want people to feel ‘bored’ on their Martian Vacation, and we want to secure early dominance in TripAdvisor ratings.” Bale Resorts Chief Marketing Director followed up with. “It’s all about keeping guests entertained. Sure, Mars may have unimaginable hiking, biking, & skiing opportunities, but we want to make sure guests also have first class amenities.”
Want to be one of the first riders of The Martian Coaster? Bale Resorts ended their statement saying they will be scrolling through relevant hashtags on Instagram for Social Media Influencers to be part of this journey.
“We just want to keep things #authentic and want real people, with a lot of followers, to experience this attraction first. We will be searching for Instagrammers, Youtubers, and Influencers to share this exciting time with us.”
To be considered for this once and a lifetime experience, share your most extreme Mountain Coaster photo using #MakeMarsMoreFun before June 1st, 2018.
**This is obviously a work of satire**
There’s something great about playing guitar outside, and you don’t miss it until it’s too cold to do it. Unfortunately this is something I’ve only recently discovered in the past few years. I was always afraid of being viewed as “that guy” who brings a guitar with him to a bonfire and insists on fumbling his way through Wonderwall or Wagon Wheel.
While living in Driggs, Idaho I started to play on the front porch after work. I think, as cliche as it sounds, playing in with a mountain view was a bit more inspiring. When I first arrived in Teton Valley I had a cheap, beat up brown Squire Stratacoustic that sounded literally like a plastic box with strings. It was a guitar I purchased from a friend for $100 in Highschool and from there it survived college dorm life. Not only did it lack a warm, embracing sound, it was god awful to play. After dragging it across the country, I got the bug to sell/trade it to purchase an Ovation. I listed it on Facebook Marketplace and a few hours later I received a message from a guy with an Ovation Celebrity in Jackson Hole that said he would trade straight up. We met at the top of the Teton Pass that evening and made the switch. I was absolutely stoked. I snapped a photo of the new guitar to send my dad and headed back down to Driggs.
My dad accidentally started a tradition when my sister and I were born where he would buy a guitar each time he had a child. He is a huge Jimmy Page fan, and is the one that introduced me to Zeppelin at a very young age. When I was born he bought an all black Les Paul Custom, like Jimmy would play in studio. My sister was born in 1995, right after Jimmy Page & Robert Plant wrapped up their unplugged No Quarter tour. Jimmy was playing a black Ovation Celebrity Deluxe on this tour, so guess which guitar he went out and bought next…
I learned to play guitar from a combination of my dad and playing bass in Orchestra. Actually, the whole reason I joined Orchestra in 6th grade was because it was essentially free music theory & guitar lessons while dad was teaching me chords at home. Throughout the years I’ve owned a lot of different guitars myself. My most recent, current favorite, and the one I’ve played more than any other guitar I’ve owned has been my Martin DRS2. I decided to keep my dad’s tradition going just before Olin was born in by purchasing this guitar in February of 2017. For as long as I can remember I have wanted a Martin dreadnought, with a D28 being my dream guitar (it still is). After spending a few hours playing different Martin’s in my budget, the DRS2 was ultimately the one for me. Especially because this guitar is sustainable wood certified.
As I stated earlier, I’ve not only played this guitar more than any of my other guitars, but it’s found more time out of the house than any of my previous guitars. My favorite place to play, without any doubt, is in the mountains. Roan Mountain & Beauty Spot, both mountains that lie on the border between Tennessee & North Carolina. What makes these great places to play are their ease of accessibility and being surrounded by mountains. Playing outside for the sake of playing, not in front of people, not to get a pretty girl’s attention, not at a campfire, and not to get photos for Instagram, it’s just fun.
I decided to part with my Ovation after watching it collect dust in the months since I brought my Martin home. My dad had a Martin Backpacker that he won a number of years ago and I convinced him to trade my Ovation for it. Although the sound is a bit shallow, although somehow better than the old Stratacoustic, the best part about the Backpacker is its durability. This guitar has survived camping trips, being stuffed in the back of our Ford Escape between two dogs & a baby, and (unfortunately) may have fallen over in the closet a time or two. If you’ve ever played a Backpacker you’re immediately familiar with how awkward they are to play due to the narrow design. Where most guitars have a nice contour that pockets your leg, the Backpacker slips around like a fish out of water. For a mere $30 you can fix this problem with the Kraftboy Compadre, I recommend this to anyone that has a Backpacker, or is thinking about purchasing a Backpacker. It totally transforms it into an enjoyable to play guitar.
One of my biggest regrets is that in the two summers I lived in Driggs, I never took my guitar to the top of Grand Targhee to bask in Teton views. In fact, the thought never even crossed my mind. WTF, Right?
Over the past few months, I’ve been making it a habit to bring a guitar on our travels, and as more adventures start to unfold in 2018 they will definitely see more mountain time!
On a fall evening in 2015 I had the opportunity to not only attend, but sit in the front row to hear Yvon Chouinard speak at the Shift JH conference. At the end of the talk I was asked if I would take a group photo of the speakers. "Only if I can ask Yvon a question get a photo with them too" was my response.
In my backpack I had an old Patagonia sweater that I had received as a hand me down with the rumors that it was a prototype of the popular synchilla sweater. This was the perfect time to ask Mr. Chouinard of in fact, it was what I was rumored to be. He took it from my hands, felt it in a few spots, then flipped it inside out. "Well it's not from Patagonia" he told me. I asked him if he wanted it, or for me at least to dispose of it.
"Well do you use it?"
"Then don't worry about it"
I never would have expected an answer like that, from anyone. What he said that night stuck in my mind like something Obi-Wan Kenobi would have said to Luke Skywalker. The Jedi Master of the outdoor, conservation, and retail industries.
Unsponsored Content: The Great American Eclipse
I’ve been trying to write this particular piece for about 3 months now, but I’ve had a bit of a writer’s block. Yesterday’s eclipse was a perfect muse and way to hopefully turn my thoughts into words.
“We’ve Reached Maximum Totality!” yelled the ecstatic 14 year old boy about 40 feet away from us. We had been listening to him blurt out facts for the previous hour, some true, some made up, while the sun slowly disappeared. When that Appalachian Mountain ridge finally transcended into it’s midday darkness the crickets started chirping, the air was cool, and the sky was grey. We didn’t say anything, we just listened, until the neighboring Jr. Ranger in training abruptly shouted “That’s it, it’s over now.” Everyone around us picked up their belongings, and began the short hike back to the parking lot. The same people that had been sitting there for hours, packed up just moments after totality ended. The sky wasn’t even fully illuminated yet. We hung around for about 15 more minutes to give some space between us and the mass exitus. Allie, Olin, and I headed back down the mountain road while listening to NPR. Eclipser’s from all over the country we’re calling in discussing what they had just witnessed, how it changed their lives forever, how it was even “better than sex.”
I laid in bed that night thinking about life and the 10 month identity crisis I’ve been unable to escape. Cliché, I know. Que the Counting Crows album.
For as long as I remember, I have told myself that I will never work a 9-5, get stuck in a cubicle, or have to fight for a window in the workplace. A hard promise to make for someone that doesn’t have a trust fund or credit card bills that magically disappear at the end of each month. After a long, long year I guess you can say that is true. (summary of said events, can be found here) I work from 7:30 - 5:00 in a 10x15 ft office with a coworker where we share a 3 foot tall by 2 foot tall window overlooking a methadone clinic, between our desks. I started out with the company as a Marketing Coordinator and 8 months later I was promoted to my current title, Marketing Manager. I spend my days writing, creating, and strategizing campaigns, among many other things, for an Amusement & Attractions company. With a degree in Recreation Management and minor in Marketing, 7 years experience in the Outdoor Industry, and 2 summers worth of experience mountain bike guiding. If you’re scratching your head, don’t worry, I am too. I’ve ridden my bike an embarrassingly minuscule amount of times this summer.
“We’ve Reached Maximum Totality” just as the eager mountainside kid yelled a mere 24 hours ago, the true can be said about life.
“We have a 4 month old Daughter, it’s normal to slow down a bit right now”
“We’re in a transition period, we’re figuring things out.”
“I’m building my resume and portfolio, getting great experience.”
“Our lease is up in December, then we can really make something happen”
These are all sweet nothings that I tell myself to make it through the day. The reality of it is that life took a very unexpected turn. We were lucky to be able to land on our feet but, we’re not cut out for this suburban lifestyle. Being stuck inside a mostly windowless warehouse 9 hours a day, 5 days a week is absolute torture. Every thought, conversation, and argument has us dreaming and scheming of a way out of this sedimentary lifestyle. Hell, we even have a countdown to the day our lease is over, hanging on our bedroom wall.
What comes after that? Well, nothing is set in stone, nothing ever really is, but we’re itching to make something different happen.
Article may also be viewed: https://www.tetongravity.com/story/adventure/unsponsored-content-the-great-american-eclipse1
Do you remember Highschool History Class?
Remember when "we" stopped using horse & buggies because cars got us places faster? Then Henry Ford created the assembly line to create more consistent, quality output.
The Wright Brothers built airplanes to get us across those far distances even faster.
Then we stopped using coal & fossil fuels to focus on efficient, renewable, sustainable resources. Except that didn't happen.
If the airplane was developed for the first time today, would it be successful? Or would "we" do everything in our power to ensure our existing means of transportation is protected?
What if the first automobile was developed today? Would "we" jump on board with this new technology, or would "we" advocate the horse and buggy so those business's didn't have to adapt?
Contrary to popular belief, progress is a good thing.
The marketplace is survival of the fittest.
And yes, new things are expensive at first.
If the manufacturer doesn't want to adapt they disappear.
This can be done without losing jobs. All "we" have to do is decrease the amount of people "we" are training for these industries until they are no longer needed.
Instead of training people to be coal miners, train them to be wind farmers. "By 2053 'we' will no longer be coal dependent"
No one loses their jobs, instead we develop new technologies.
The Middle class's number one enemy is automation.
Amazon closes small businesses everyday.
Robots are taking your job on the line.
Facebook AI algorithms knows how to target ads better than any person on the planet.
"We" have to start meeting in the middle.
Our planet should not be a partisan issue.
Sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting to catch a connecting flight to Springfield for work, I cannot stop thinking that my girlfriend, Allie, and I are expecting to be parents in 9 days. 9 Days.
Among all the thoughts and ideas spinning in my head, there is one that keeps standing out. Last weekend Allie and I went on a “babymoon.” We decided to act on a spur of the moment idea and drive down to Charleston from Johnson City. We got a cheap motel for Saturday night and hit the road.
On the way back home on Sunday we stopped in Asheville for dinner. Walking out of the restaurant, Allie grabbed a local outdoors magazine. She was especially drawn to it because the cover story featured “New Adventure Families.” We’re adventurous, we’re soon to be a “full” family. It was a great concept we could relate to. What brought Allie and I together was our love of the outdoors, adventure, & travel. All things we want our soon to arrive daughter to love and have an appreciation for. Allie read the article quietly in the passenger seat while I maintained homeward course. “Well that's not really relatable.” She exclaimed a few minutes later. The families in this article were not all that average. One of these "adventure" families consisted of a mother & father who were both runners & USA athletes. The other family owned a gym that did not require their attention full time. Both families shared a common issue, however: mom & dad were struggling to find a balance between training, personal aspirations, & home life while "adventuring" as a family. If they're having these sorts of issues, do we even stand a chance?
The easy point to attack here would be: “well they don't even have ‘real’ jobs, they have no right to complain.” I guess the problem we had is that these were the faces and models of what an “adventure family” should be.
Allie and I both are still trying to dissect the definitions of our new titles “mom & dad” and what they mean. More importantly, what we want them to mean. After all, I went from being a full time bike/ski bum and Allie, a Nomad with a cause, in the matter of an instant. When we learned Allie was pregnant there was really no fiscally possible way we could have our child in the Tetons. The place we loved, that brought us together, the place we both considered home. It was impossible for us to remain there without health insurance.
Allie’s native Johnson City has since become our home because her, and the baby will have insurance here. Our lease on our home is up in December and we are trying more than anything to get back West. We want our daughter to grow up in the mountains, something we both longed for in our own childhoods. Even with a college degree & 7 years experience in the Outdoor Industry this is proving to be quite the challenge.
Life has been hectic since relocating, to say the least. We have become full fledged weekend warriors. I get the same satisfaction riding my bike for an hour as I did riding lifts all day out West. Fishing for a little while in the backyard brings about the same excitement as floating the Teton on a summers afternoon. At least it seems that way while it's happening. At this point, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad. Allie has been obviously more affected by her pregnant state. It's been months since she's been able to trail run, and hiking has been reduced to a mile or two at most. This brings me to a confusing crossroads. Can I still have this kind of fun even though she is unable to? Of course, she tells me to go ride longer, fish more, & continue to do what I love. But I still feel guilty. I want her to be right there with me, like always.
Neither of us are still really sure where, how, or if we even fit into the definition of an "adventure" family at all. Our daughters due date is the 23rd of April and above all else we are focusing on that, but hidden behind every parenting bids this recurring question:
"How/are things ever going to be normal again? How do we get back out West?"
The very first time I skiied I was about four years old. I remember my dad and grandpa schlepping me into the rental room at Alpine Valley. Standing at the counter I couldn’t see more that the wood desk in front of me, yellow walls, and feeling cold, really cold.
Next thing I know I’m sitting on a toboggan roped to the back of a 4 wheeler. Dad and Grandpa said they were going to go ski “the big hills” and that they’d pick me up here when my lesson was done. I sat on the sled with 8 other kids as we were brought around to the bunny hill.
I don’t remember much about the lesson itself, other than crying and hearing “Pizza & French Fry." A lot...of each. Nothing sticks out like a thought I had, that I would never see my dad again. However irrational that is, it somehow made sense in my 4 year old brain as I was holding on to the rope tow for dear life enticing yet another crying breakdown.
Assumingly, the hours past, and my father did in fact find me, with enough time to take one run together before we left. I guess that my biggest takeaway from these memories is that I will be the one that teaches my children to ski…
That was the first experience I had skiing, and it would be the only one I had for a number of years. Granted, I did beg dad to take me skiing, but lack of snow for a few years never really let that happen.
In 2000 we took a family trip to Vail, Co. If anyone can pinpoint a single, life changing experience, this would be mine. I use the term family very loosely because my mom’s boss, took us on one of his medical conferences.
Again, dad signed me up for a lesson, actually it was a 2 day lesson. Great, what repressed memories would come rushing out? Again, I was schlepped into the rental room, geared up. And again, I was terrified. Until we were all grouped together and we met our instructor, a total Brad (His name probably wasn’t actually Brad). Brad loaded us up to the midway station and we played the usual name games, showed us how to Pizza/French Fry, and made us ski down to him, one at a time. I didn’t go first, I didn’t go last. I was somewhere in the middle. I remember making my way towards Brad and my body somehow remembered how to Pizza and French Fry. It had been about four years but my 8 year old body somehow retained the basic skills to slide down a hill at a very slow rate.
The lesson ended and I met up with my dad. We were able to take one run together before things shut down for the day. That evening we left our hotel and did the thing every tourist family does apres ski, walk around and look at the “neat shops”. This would also be the very first time I walked into a ski shop.
Dad and I walked into the dark room. There was a small TV behind the counter playing clip after clip of skiers and snowboarders jumping of cliffs and skiing through deep powder all while funky music plays in the background. Dad and I walked through the shop for a bit, checking out the cool skis and things I never knew existed. Neither one of us had goggles when we arrived, so he bought us each a pair of blue Smith goggles with persimmon lenses. I was stoked.
Day 2 of lessons went by about as quick as day one. We went through the fun zone, I did my first safety grab off a little roller, and for the first time, I remember falling in love with skiing and the snow. This is the same feeling I chase every time I step into my skis, to this day.
The next day, dad and I set off to ski on our own. This was an absolute disaster. I’m not sure why, or how, but skiing just the two of us triggered something in me to emotionally shut down. There was one run that overlooked what seemed to be a never ending valley, that I took one look at and the tears started. While my dad was already half way down the run. I finally was able to reach him, still panicked, and he attempted to talk me down. From there we headed to the halfway house and took a break.
Dad asked me if I wanted to ski the rest of the way down, or if I wanted to take the gondola. I told him that I wanted to ski down and we began to reassemble our gear. I don’t remember much after this, except having a mental breakdown somewhere near a “Simba” trail sign...and for some reason, 18 years later, I can’t watch The Lion King without flashbacks of an emotional breakdown as an 8 year old.
I also witnessed my first rail jam in Vail. Skiers and snowboarders were hitting what was probably an 8 set down rail. The winner of the rail jam was awarded with a brand new hot tub. This absolutely blew my mind. All these grungy looking people had to do was ride down a rail and the person that did it the best got a free hot tub. "What the hell is going on?"
The next morning we packed up our bags and headed back to Michigan. And for some reason, even though I cried, I panicked, and I was cold, all I wanted was to go skiing again.
Posted 4/6/17: http://www.tetongravity.com/story/ski/unspsonsored-content-skiing-the-lion-king
August 1st was a beautiful morning at Grand Targhee Resort. As I was about to begin my downhill mountain bike 101 clinic scheduled for 10AM, my phone rang. Allie, my girlfriend, told me that things were not going well with her father’s health, and that she was going to head down to Florida right away to help him. I asked if she would wait a few hours until I got off work so I could head down with her. The couple that signed up to do a clinic with me only signed up for a half day, so we would be done around 1PM. Allie said that I did not need to come, and said she would be fine making the drive alone. I convinced her to wait for me to head out, so she did. She packed our clothes and loaded her car up so that we could just hit the road after I got off work. It was my Friday, so I had the next few days off, it was also slowing down a bit before the closing weekends of lift access riding. I called my boss and he gave me the okay to take the time off and I told him we’d probably be back in 7-9 days. We loaded up Dobby and Taco, our dogs, and hit the road. “I’m not ready to leave yet.” Allie said to me in the drive thru of McDonald’s in Jackson. “We’ll only be gone a few weeks, it’s all good.” I replied.
We took turns driving that afternoon and drove all through the night. At about 8AM we stopped for gas in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma. As I was walking out of the gas station I noticed a huge puddle of liquid formed under the Hyundai while we were inside. I kneeled down and got enough of the liquid on my fingers to smell it. “Shit” I said to Allie “That’s coolant.” I bought a gallon to replace what was laying in the pavement and we made the slow, steady 10 mile crawl to the nearest auto shop. Nine hours, a new radiator, and $400 later we were back on the road.
Florida is a long ways away from Idaho. We arrived in Pensacola the next night. Allie got her dad to the hospital where he stayed for a few days. I got the call from my boss that I needed to be back to work. I called my mom to find out if there was anyone in the family that could “gift” me some frequent flyer numbers. We learned that I myself actually had some saved up, enough to get me to Salt Lake City. The next day Taco and I went to the pet store to buy a TSA approved dog carrier, he was still a pup at the time and was small enough to be my carry on luggage. We used the rest of the money to arrange a bus ride from the SLC Airport to Rexburg where my roommate agreed to pick me up. Stressful, but manageable.
I was going to finish off the bike season at Targhee, save a few paychecks, then Taco and I would fly back down to Florida and drive back to Idaho with Allie & Dobby. A fun, scenic, off season getaway. Allie started acting weird. Total attitude change, one minute she was happy, the next she was pissed off. This continued for a few more days.
If there was ever not a way to tell someone you are pregnant, it’s over text message. The second worst thing you can do is to not answer your phone after you send a message like that. On Friday morning, while standing at the Dreamcatcher lift at Targhee I got that message. “Collin, I’m pregnant” that’s when the puking started. Somewhere around 16 times to be exact. Not a message you want to read while you’re standing in Wyoming and she’s eating lunch in Florida with her father. So I did the only sensible thing, packed whatever I could into my car, and started driving to Florida on Sunday after work.
Taco and I made it to Denver around 2 AM and slept in the car about 20 miles East of town behind a Tractor Supply Store. We woke up the next morning and drove the remaining 20 hours to Florida only stopping for gas and to let Taco walk around. At 6AM on Tuesday we arrived in Pensacola tired, smelly, and hungry. For the next week we tried to work up how we were going to tell her father, as well as what we were going to do next.
We decided to head up to Tennessee where she would qualify for insurance. We also had her tiny house to live in, located on her grandparents property, until we found something else. Allie got her job at the weightloss clinic back and I was in the library looking for jobs daily. With the last bit of money I had, we made a weekend trip up to Detroit to tell my family. Mixed reactions. Allie and my dad went on a car ride by themselves the night we told him, and to this day I do not know what they talked about. We headed back down to Tennessee and I finally caught a lead with a “real” job.
Towards the end of October I landed a job with a marketing agency in Kingsport. After everything we had gone through up to this point, it felt good. It felt really good. They offered me a job on a Thursday. I told them I could start the following week but I had to return to Idaho to get all of our stuff, and I would be back, ready to work on Wednesday. They were alright with that. Allie found a cheap flight from Knoxville to SLC and used one of her paychecks to book the flight. I used my only unemployment check to rent a budget truck to retrieve our belongings. On Saturday I flew into SLC, slept on a bench in the airport, then took an Uber to the truck rental the following morning. 12 Hours later all of our belongings in Idaho were packed into the back of that truck and I was sleeping on the floor of what used to be our bedroom. Luckily, our friends that we were living with found someone to take over our lease, he had the money in hand when I arrived to Idaho. He handed me the check for $500 and that was my gas money to get back to Tennessee. I did another non-stopper and arrived to Johnson City around 9pm on Tuesday night, ready to work Wednesday. Things were finally starting to make sense. For a minute anyways...
On a Tuesday evening at the end of November I was laid off from my marketing job because a client did not want to renew their contract. That hurt. I was finally doing something I really, really enjoyed, and was starting to feel comfortable. It was all taken away from me. That was also the day after our Ultrasound where we learned we were having a daughter. We also were about to sign a year lease on a house. We took a huge risk and signed the lease anyways. We had enough saved up from my first paychecks to keep us afloat until the end of January if I could not find work before then. Allie and I signed the year lease, on a $950/mth rental while only one of us had a job. “Terrified” does no justice to the emotions that I was feeling.
I returned to my familiar post at the library computer and got back on the job hustle. Luckily this period of unemployment lasted less than a week. I received an offer from FACE Amusement, an arcade group based out of Gray, Tn. They needed a Marketing Coordinator. I never would have guessed I’d be working for an arcade company, but it is strikingly similar to working within the ski industry.
Our baby girl is due in Mid April. No, we do not have a name. No, we have not read any parenting books. No, we are not ready for this. We have had an overwhelming amount of support from family & friends though. I have driven across the country more this fall than most people will ever. The last 7 months have been the most stressful of either of our lives. But we’ve made it through. We love each other. We’re happy. We’re confident.
So What’s Next?
**This is NOT an excerpt out of a personal project**
What is and what isn't an ad?
While scrolling through Facebook and Instagram I am bombarded with an increasingly overwhelming amount of #hashtags and @handles of companies, pages, or “influencers” that don't really exist beyond the screens we're looking at.
“If we want authenticity we have to initiate it.” Travis Rice, 2011. Or “Bong Hits with Travis” as my college roommates and I called it. Unfortunately it seems that it is becoming more and more true every day.
Check that banger shot you just grammed. “What the heck!? It only has 26 likes!? But it’s prime browsing time on Sunday night, that’s at least a 16ft cliff, and you can see the base logo clear as day! It should have triple this many likes. Shit, don’t want to look like an amateur, better delete it real quick and regram it another time.” We have all done this. If you say you haven’t, you probably don't have an Instagram account. Everyone with 1500 followers on Instagram is a self branded “pro skier” or “travel grammar” or “lifestyle blogger”, my personal favorite. Why? Get a few gear hook ups? Sweet, the boys are gonna be super jealous you're brand ambassador for @sickhatsbrahheadwear and you got 3 new beanies. Fo Free! Just remember to use #beaniebrahs when you upload those shots from earlier.
What happens when we get bored of it? Remember when Myspace died? That perfectly crafted flash base profile, the right song that took months to find, all those damned bulletins. They all just disappeared. One day everyone just stopped caring about what was happening on Myspace. Who the heck is Tila Tequila anyways?
What do I do when my followers delete the app? Do I move on too?
There's just something that feels so good about seeing that orange box pop up with a 53 next to a white heart. We are in an era when we worship Gary Vaynerchuk and increase his view count as his ego is evermore inflated. We’re just perpetuating the never ending cycle of self obsessed promotion. Social media is the mainstream media. We see ads and sponsored content all day long. Sometimes we realize it, sometimes we don't. So how does one stand out? Why do we even want to stand out in the first place?
I'm not saying everyone needs to go throw their phone in the toilet or delete all your apps.
Just ask your self "why am I using #gopro?" the next time you post up that self taken action shot.
***This is a small excerpt out of a personal project that I am working on. Any and all feedback is appreciated.***
“Retail Help Wanted” read the ad in the back of the Jackson Hole News & Guide. “Sales associate needed for part time & weekend sales within TGR office in Wilson.” I snapped a photo of the ad with my Iphone while eating pizza and drinking a beer at Wildlife Pizza & Brewery in Victor, Id on an August 2015 evening.
The first thing thing the next morning, I sent an email inquiring about the position along with a copy of my resume and link to my social media profiles, hoping to show that I not only fit the part, but maybe they’d want to send me to ski in AK too. A few hours later I received an email back from Carol asking if I’d come in on Wednesday for an interview. “F.YEAH I’LL COME IN FOR AN INTERVIEW” I screamed to myself, but replied with the more elegant “Wednesday will work great! Can’t wait!”
Granted, I didn’t necessarily need this job. Habitat was paying me enough to get by on, and I was never feeling “bored.” This was a bit more personal. A chance to work at Teton Gravity Research. You’d be hard pressed to name anyone more iconic in the ski industry that has remained so core.
I hopped on the old Yamaha and headed toward the Teton pass nervous and anxious as ever. Looking down at the watch on my handlebar I noticed there was 45 minutes before our interview, and it only took about 12 to get to the TGR office from where I was standing. I got off the bike at the top of the pass and walked a few circles trying to calm down.
The Suunto on the handlebars said I was about 10 minutes early as I was pulling into the parking lot. “Perfect” I thought to myself as I started taking my helmet off. I walked through the door and two nice ladies welcomed and greeted me. “Hi, I’m here for an interview with Carol” I responded. The one closest to me stood up and introduced herself as Carol, as she walked me to the main office. We sat down and talked for about 15 minutes. She asked all the basic questions, where I was from, how long I have been skiing, my favorite TGR movie. She thanked me for coming in and said that she would be in touch. I thanked her again and told her I appreciated the opportunity as I walked out the door.
If there was ever a time I needed to stress eat, this was it. I made my way over to JHMR and took a tram ride to the top. There I grabbed myself a waffle and walked the short distance to Corbett’s Couloir to eat it and watch the tram go by a few times as I reflected on the interview, and just how stoked I was to be living where I was living.
The next day I got a call from Carol offering me the job and asking if I could start that Saturday. Trying to contain myself as much as possible I told her “YES” and thanked her about a million times.
For the first 2 months I didn’t know how much I was getting paid, just that I’d have a check for $150 every other week and all the TGR logo wear a kid could want. Working at TGR was a dream come true. My Saturdays were spent by waking up, driving over the pass, grabbing a D.O.G burrito or eating at Nora’s Fish Creek, walking across the street and opening up shop. That’s when the fun would start. Tourists, athletes, and brand enthusiasts would pour in from across the world. My only job was to make sure they were stoked from the second they walked in until the second they got in their car. I’d play them a preview of the latest movie in the private theater, show them the “executive office”, or on really lucky days show them the moose that lived out back by the mini ramp. I’d talk them into buying a shirt or hat, and sometimes a movie, then send back out with a pocket full of TGR die cuts.
I really was the “Living The Dream”.
The second summer I brought my girlfriends dog, Dobby, into the office a few times. (Yeah, you read that right, I lived in house and had a girlfriend in the Tetons). Most of the time she would just lay behind the desk by my feet and play with her stuffed puppy. When a guest would come in she would get excited and go running around the counter to greet them. They usually got a kick out of it.
It was a sunny Saturday afternoon, when one of the founders, sorry Steve, swung by to pick up his camper for a weekend getaway. I don’t know what happened, or what went through her mind but she turned into an absolute lunatic. Every time he’d walk into the door she would bark and go running up to him. It was slow so he asked me to help him align his truck to the trailer while he was backing up. Dobby was out there with us and was running circles around his vehicle while he was backing up and attempting to jump in, what can I say, she loves car rides. I put her in my car for the rest of the day and we had a long talk about boundaries on our way back to Driggs.
Working for TGR was absolutely incredible. When I was forced to leave the valley due to my knee injury there was a position waiting for me when I came back. They had my back when I broke my back. If I ever wanted tickets to a premiere, they had them for me. The best analogy I could use is that it was like a chubby kid working for Willy Wonka. I loved every second of it.
A marketing position became available around spring. If ever I have been within sight of my dream, this was it. I wrote a 2 page cover letter, attached my resume, CC’d my manager, and sent off my application to the hiring email listed. Crickets. Not even crickets. No reply at all. Over the next few weeks I accepted the fact that I had not been considered and did the best I could to move on.
I worked for TGR for another 2 months until I was asked to change my hours at Targhee and work Saturday's. I reluctantly told Carol & Torie that I couldn’t work at TGR for the remainder of the summer, but if there was still a position for me in the winter, I’d be back. “Yes, definitely” they responded and asked me to keep in touch and they would do the same.
A lot of life happened in that period short time and we were not living in the Tetons that winter.