• take it easy

  • see this in Babine Provincial Park

  • meditation for men

  • grab a bike and take a tour

  • explore on skis

  • take a walk to here in an hour

Minimum Wage, Minimum Stress

Minimum Wage, Minimum Stress

For 40 years lifestyle over money has been our family's motto.  I'm still amazed we've gotten away with it for so long.  We didn't go bankrupt, we have friends,  we own a house in the country, we have several pairs of awesome skis, we own a cute little Inn and we travel all over the world.  I'm telling you this, not to brag, but to encourage others who might fear for their lives if they do choose 'what they love' over what they think they should do.

It all started in 1972 when my husband, Brian Hall, got a job as a liftee at Skiing Louise in Alberta.  He moved on to manual groomer, cat driver, slopes manager, avalanche forcaster, and father of 2 over the next 11 years.  At the same time we became owners of a small store in Field, BC for a few thousand dollars down, all borrowed from the B of M (bank of mommy) and the TD (the dad).  I ran the store and we skied the rest of the time.  Our children grew up with this Credo - you must ski but school is optional. 

We happily lived a great life with seasonal jobs, lots of time off, and really interesting work.  A fascinating thing happens to staff that work at big famous ski resorts.  On days off they like to travel to small, good powder hills with no line-ups.  Then one day my husband comes home with a mitt full of research on which ski hills in BC have the best snow along with a great community. He says " Let's move to Smithers, BC!"

To make a long story short - we sold the house, quit our jobs, packed up 2 kids and headed north.  It took us two days to get to Smithers and we arrived on a clear moonlit October night.  Rising up at the end of Main Street was the spectacular Hudson Bay Mountain.  Our joy increased when we noticed it was covered with ski runs.  We immediately fell in love with this quaint mountain town.

By Monday we had landed jobs at the local ski hill. Brian was the mountain manager and I was the combination pro-patrol-instructor-liftee-rental-shop worker.  And yes, it was almost minimum wage but we got to drive the staff van, had complimentary family ski passes and we were house-sitting a beautiful log house on the Bulkley River.  On the side, we were reps for a ski company so our skis were cheap. Once again we were living like the rich and famous. Believe me, it just takes imagination to live the life you want. On top of all this we were having a great time working with the other staff at the ski hill and getting to know this friendly community.

Many years and many jobs and businesses later we are still in love with this mountain town. Our children have grown up and embraced the Love-life over Life-shoulds.  They have settled in Smithers and produced 5 little grand-ski bums.

Ski Smithers hasn't changed much since we arrived, except the powder is even deeper and the skis are much wider.  You can still score a job if you arrive in October or November.  Are you friendly and love skiing?  Maybe you could be the marketing manager. If you love the lifestyle that belongs to the ski world, think about the possibilities in the ski industry.  It can lead you to surprising places, not to mention perfect powder.

Kym Putnam


Ski and Stay at the Stork Nest Inn

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