My Journey To Becoming A Ski Instructor

On my first day of skiing, if you told me that in just 5 short years I would not only (in my opinion) be a very good skier, but also teaching the magical sport on the same snow I was on then, I would have laughed you off and promptly fallen over into the snow trying to understand how I was to move the long, slippery shoes on my feet. But somehow, I managed to overcome all the hurdles that were placed in my way, and share my love and passion for skiing with others.

My journey started one day in my writing class. I wasn’t thinking about school, or anything much for that matter. Less than a week before, I’d had my arm cut open to end the unfortunate events that had taken place in the previous 9 months. As you could imagine, I was in a considerable amount of pain, with a rod, a plate, and 7 screws taken out of my arm. I’d had my computer open, and checked the ski report as I (and most hard-core skiers) do almost daily in the fall and winter.  I clicked around for a bit, and found a posting for a ski instructor. After reading the listing, I thought ‘maybe I could do that’, but at that exact moment, a sharp pain in my arm grabbed me and I forgot about it. After the pain subsided, I looked at the page again, briefly thought about it more, and shut my screen and came back to reality. There was no way that I could do that, right? A 14 year old with a broken arm and needing to convince my parents, I thought there was no way I could never get that job right now, or so I thought.

Fast forward a few weeks. Towards the end of October, I was out of my sling, and going more about my usual daily life. I had put the idea on the back burner in my head, but after my parents mentioned something about getting a job, it came back into my interest. With not a lot of schoolwork to do one afternoon, I did some research online, and found out that yes, a 14 year old CAN have a job. I quickly called my dad, and told him about my idea. He agreed that it was possible, but a very long shot, considering my age, experience, arm, grades, etc. As you would expect, I wasn’t very discouraged by this, so I decided to write a resume and cover letter, as well as fill out a fake application and watch videos on Youtube to figure out what I was up against. When I shared my writing with my dad, he was very impressed, but warned me that this was only the start of the process. I still had to convince my mom, doctor, and Timberline to let me teach. I wrote a proposal of the idea to give to my mom, at that point I knew that this was the first make it or break it point. I had one shot, so I had to get it right. I pitched my idea, and after, with the promise to consider it, she went to bed, leaving me in agony waiting for her decision. At that point, things started moving fast. Very fast. I had made the decision to apply to the job before I even presented my idea to her, as the posting was going to expire that day. I clicked a few boxes, got the standard ‘thank you for applying’ email, and felt a rush of excitement. Things were starting to happen! I didn’t expect a call back for at least a week, so I figured I was in the clear until I knew about my mom’s approval. As soon as she got home, I showed her the brochure I had made up. She surprised me by telling me to go ahead with it! I was thrilled. Then, not 10 minutes later, I got a call from Timberline asking me to go to an interview. I started jumping up and down with excitement!

The next 2 weeks passed very slowly. And I mean VERY slowly. It seemed like forever till the interview day! But it finally came. On the drive up to the mountain (I live on the west side of Portland, so about 1.5 hours), I was constantly asking my dad for interview tips. After a few practice interviews and Youtube videos later, we arrived at Timberline. I straightened my tie, adjusted my hair, took a deep breath, and walked in. I checked in with the front desk, got a copy of my application, and sat down next to one of my co-workers to be. He got called in, and I waited. After he left, I heard my name called. I got up, and walked to the back. I shook hands with my future bosses, and the interview started. It didn’t last that long, but at the end, they stood up, and offered me the job on the spot.  With a big smile on my face, I said “Yes, absolutely!” 

And so started my career as a Ski Instructor. I had so much fun, and learned a ton. I can’t wait to share that here in a future post. See you next time!

Paradise Park Mini Story

“How far do you think we should go?” I asked my dad. “I’m not sure,” he replied. “Maybe an hour more?” “Sure,” I said. Then, we rounded JT on Boulders - Paradise Park Mt. Hoodthe corner of the trail. What I saw was like a picture! To my right, I could see Portland and the valley. To my left, I had a huge pile of boulders about 20 feet tall and for the backdrop, I had Mt. Hood. I instantly knew that I would remember that moment for a long time.

“Woah, that is absolutely gorgeous!” I said to my dad, as he was pulling out his phone to take a picture. “Woah is right,” he replied. After a few pictures, we walked a little farther down the trail and took more pictures of the valley, then set down my pack and poles down to rest my aching back. I walked over to the base of the rocks, and saw that there was a little cave that it formed. It was pitch black in side so I couldn’t see the back of it. “There’s a cave here!” I called to my dad. “Check for animals then, they like to sleep in caves” he said.” I instantly realized my mistake. We were practically in the middle of nowhere, and bears and cougars had been sighted in the area recently. I would have walked into the cave, and possibly startled something, if my Dad hadn’t given me that warning. I grabbed my whistle that was hanging around my neck, and blew it several times. I waited a few seconds, and all seemed fine. “No sign of anything,” I said to my dad. “Good,” he replied. I started up the rocks feeling a little safer.

As I was walking along a fairly flat rock at the top of the boulder pile, I almost slipped, but thankfully I caught my balance before anything bad happened.  I thought to myself that if I had my hiking poles to help steady me, it would be much safer. I carefully walked down, jumped off the last rock, grabbed my poles and took off back up the rock outcropping, and jumped onto the first rock as if I was lighter than air.

I did some parkour-type moves, which made me feel great, except for my Dad’s grimace as he watched me leap from rock to rock.  I was almost at the top when I spied a small rock in between where I was standing and the top ledge. I put one foot on the rock, not expecting any trouble, when the rock started wobbling! I felt a rush of panic but was able to grab the side of a ledge, steadied myself, and hopped back. I looked closer at the rock in question, and realised that it was just barely sitting on top of another larger rock.  As I reoriented myself and reflected on where I had come from and where I was going, I knew there was only one thing left to do to complete my quest. I walked back, and set down my trusty hiking poles, which had been a great help, but would be a hindrance on the next leg of my journey. I carefully got into position, and started running. I felt a feeling of sheer terror and exhilaration as my adrenaline rushed into my muscles, allowing me to fly across the gap and safely land on top of the ledge. I had made it safely to my destination!

As I looked around and reoriented myself,  I realized that a cloud was passing by, practically right in front of our faces. We were so high up, that the clouds were level with our bodies! I felt disappointment in the fact that the cloud was obscuring my vision. But that disappointment soon faded and I was delighted that I was actually in a cloud. After a few minutes, the clouds passed and I could see for miles.  The view was breathtaking and I reflected on my surroundings as we stood at the top of Zig Zag Canyon.

I looked down and groaned. “How are we going to get down there AND all the way back up?” I asked my dad. “Hmm,” was his reply. I stood at the top of Zig Zag Canyon, looking down 1000 feet to a tiny river below. I knew that there was no way we could climb the sides.  Looking around a little more, revealed a small trail leading down. Good, I thought. “We don’t have to go down an almost vertical side of the canyon”. I took one more look at the view from 1000 feet up, then grabbed my pack and kept on going.  I took some pictures, and started to head down. The trip back seemed uneventful after such an invigorating and energetic climb up and for the fact that I was familiar with the route now.

I reflected on how beautiful and life changing just a day or two away from civilization could be.  When you are this high up on a volcano in the middle of the wilderness, it helps put your problems and frustrations into perspective especially in comparison to the grandeur of this ancient mountain. The mountain and forest listens to our problems but never judges us and gives us a sense of peace about the world. As I reached the ground, I silently vowed to come back to this spot someday. I grabbed my stuff, and kept on hiking, with one final glance back at the spectacular view.


NW Skibum Official 2018 Summer Announcement!

Hey Skibums! Before we get to today’s article, we have the long-awaited announcement. Are you ready? Here we go… NW Skibum is going to go on a 3/4-night camping trip at Paradise Park! Paradise Park is on Mt. Hood, so it is skiing related. We will be vlogging it all, with multiple live-streams throughout. This trip will happen sometime in mid July. We will have more details and dates as it gets closer to the trip. If you would like to sponsor us with gear, please email If you would like to provide money, please sponsor us on our Patreon page. Stay tuned to both the blog and our YouTube channel. See you in a few for today’s article!



PR Manager, Lead Young Adult Editor

Co-Founder of

What is Snow Farming?

I will be doing a series of “what is” articles, where I explain aspects of winter and skiing related topics, such as in our previous article onSnow Farming Ridges at Timberline Lodge Mt Hood summer skiing. Today, I will be discussing snow farming.  First, a little disclaimer.  I was asked by my Senior Editor to create a large article on snow farming, with a specific deadline. This topic is not too broad, so it was challenging trying to come up with enough to write. That is out there now, so let’s jump into the story.

Snow farming is simple…All you do is get some snow, dig a hole, stick it in the ground, and wait for it to grow! Hold up, that isn’t possible, you say. Well of course not! If you know me, I always start off with a sense of humor!  Snow farming is, (all jokes aside now) the process of packing snow down to ensure that there is enough snow for a time of year when snow does not typically fall, i.e. in the middle of July on at Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood, Oregon.

Timberline lodge has a video out on their YouTube channel, detailing the process of this activity. After a snowstorm, the lodge will send their groomers out on snow cats (grooming machines) up the mountain where they will create giant corduroy like ridges in the snow (called spines), eventually forming a backwards slope of snow that is about 10 feet tall.  This wall, and the grooves that go in front of it act as a collection mechanism for the next snowstorm to catch the massive amounts of snow that is dumped and blow above the treeline. Once the new snow fills in the gully that was created by the groomers,  they head up to the glacier again to repeat the process. In the end, by time the glacier opens, they have 60-70 feet of snow to ski on during the summer months. It is really quite interesting, and a great idea.

Now, that is only one type of snow farming. This next one is a technique used by almost all ski resorts is snow blowing. Snow blowing works is by, blow a very fine mist of water into a fan which creates and blows crystals of snow. These fans can be used anywhere on the mountain where there is low snow pack, or in terrain parks that need a little more snow. 

The last type of snow farming I will be discussing today is grooming. It is not necessarily snow farming, but it does fall under this topic in a more general sense.  A tractor like machine called a snow cat puts on an attachment similar to those used to rake baseball fields (but much stronger), and heads out to the slopes. Most people don’t think about where that nice, strong, corduroy in the morning comes from, but in truth it is made by the groomers and their snow cats working very hard through the night. The cats do occasionally get stuck, and I have see only the roof of one sticking out of the snow. Still, without this machine and the people to run it, all we would have is ungroomed runs (which are fun but just not all time).

Indoor ski resorts rely on the second type of farming (snow blowing) to have snow. They have many blowers, and use them in their ski areas. Another use is at the top and bottom of ski lifts, so that there is snow at those places. Man made snow is more prevalent than most people think. Even Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood, Alaska makes snow, as their lodge is actually at sea level (the only ski resort in North America who can say that) and Mother Nature doesn’t always do what we want.

Snow Farming is a very important part of skiing and winter sports and without it and our brave late night groomers, Summer Skiing would be nearly impossible. I hope that you have enjoyed this article! See you next time!



Summer 2018 Teaser Announcement!

Hey Skibums! Sorry we haven’t been active in a while. Today, I have several important announcements. First, be looking forward to a new article on Snow Farming! It will be releasing on Wednesday, June 20th to kick off summer! And for our second announcement. The NW Skibum team has something big planned for the 2018 summer. It could be anything, from skiing on Palmer Glacier, to climbing Mt. Hood, or anything else! Try to guess it in the comments below. Look forward to this exciting announcement, and we will let you know what it is on Wednesday, the 20th of June. That’s it for now! See you next time on NW!


PR Manager, Lead Young Adult Editor, and Co-Founder

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