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Another Way to Live


Money or Experience…The choice is yours

Here I am sat, at 3am, merely half way through my 2nd week of night shifts and all the lonesome blurred passing of the days that it brings. 2 days ago a bare mountain is now covered in fluffy white goodness that has blanketed the entire arlberg region, rejoice the giant dry dry slope is over. Over a month and a half into what is my first season I feel now is a good time to reflect on my settled down self as I’ve come down, slogged into a brief blip that has severed the reality of my usual hyper fused attempts of charm towards the new group. No amount of coffee seems to help, although it could be my breaking of the bank on booze (the only consistent part of my life since the teen years, sadly along with other not so attractive vices) and an eventual dip into the realisation that shit…this is my job for the next 5 months. I actually had to drag myself out of that rut, putting the job as the forerunner to your life in any situation is complete nonsense, not to mention when you’re making the rusty pennies of an overworked seasonnaire living on beans and blind optimism, tomorrow shall be the powder day.

Anyway, after the first 6 weeks it’s safe to say that this is some way to live. Putting intensive shift patterns and stunted financial gain lower on the minds checklist of importance allows for an easy going enjoyment to from the outside world and all the madness that has entailed over the last 12 months, hiding in a mountain bubble ain’t the toughest way to spend one’s days. One of the guys in the kitchen put it perfectly, we are “being paid through experience not financial gain”. Those who work in kitchens know how you’ve got to love those philosophical kitchen chats while keeled over 20kgs of spuds, putting the world to rights… just another way to spend that mundane time wisely).


In this period of time where I believe a shift is moving, from the that upwards sprint to put money in the bank, being forced down by monotonous jobs and underpaid salaries towards something all the more valuable in the end, the payment of experience. I’m not saying it’s on their on the same level… I mean to quote a Childish Gambino freestyle “Money ain’t everything, you need money to do what you wanna do, money is power, honesty is power, truth is power…ain’t nothing more important than the mula”. What I’m saying is that playing the cards right switching perceived ideas of what you should do in a certain time and place such as a season like the incessant nights out, pursuit of women etc etc you can still make money while doing what you primarily came to do, ski… and this can translate.

Sunlit days looking out beyond the seemingly never changing, never aging view of the Alpine backdrop it’s hard to take in the reality of it all; Nature really is medicine of the mind and body and every day when I’m finding work hard I completely forget where I am until I raise my head and look out that window. There are so many ways to relax here, the meditative state of solo riding, headphones in or out doesn’t matter here as the sounds of your own breathing, of the flow of the downhill weave are music to the ears, allowing the mind to be completely at ease. Chair lifts become time for reflection, positioned within the boundless beauty of snow topped trees, valleys hidden by fog and of course the odd mountain goat.

As cliche as it sounds, meaning can be found when working in a team and it makes all the difference when you’re doing the most pointless tasks as a grad. It was only 4 months ago that I was making 3 times as much money, yet was completely miserable. Angry at those closest around me, spending my money on the weekend haze that only momentarily alleviates an otherwise meaningless trudge of existence. Ironic when you think of it as mainstream society would have me believe the work I was doing was of so much more value, but who for? Well simply, it was myself. Pure financial gain, slogging it out to one day have greater assets, again always for myself. Being part of a team of people, who from the outset seem to hold so many differences, then asked to live on peanuts brings some kind of family bond that is non existent in the world of grad schemes and working the way up that ladder. Call me the typical millennial but spending the days of my life with people I have absolutely zero connection to ‘better myself’ is a notion that’s getting chucked straight in the bin, complete nonsense.

Yet another way to live, being simple to do what you want. In the end the working for experience notion is on the same level as working for finance in that ultimately it’s for the self, but it seems more than, real bonds are made and through that real memories. Seemingly it could be procrastination from the inevitable, whatever that may be and don’t get me wrong the idea of being that 40 year old working in random corners of the earth seems a bloody scary one but why? Is is conceived ideas of happiness drilled into us from The Culture Industry? Or is it a Universal Truth we all know, to one day lay down the sword, giving up the battle to create a life constantly refreshed and exciting, to live with those who created us and in turn nurture future life… even if that does mean living days out in a humdrum Groundhog Paradise.


Elliott Clay