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Ski bumming in style

FRISCO – Ski Magazine recently selected Frisco as one of the top ski towns in North America for “ski bumming in style.” While there seems to be no agreed-upon definition for ski bums, several longtime Frisco skiers agree that Frisco is the place to be in Summit County.

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What is a ski bum?



Summit County has its fair share of ski bums, but a number of avid skiers in Frisco don’t care for the moniker.

“I don’t like to be called a ski bum because I worked hard to get up here,” said John Moberly, who has lived in Frisco since 1992.



Nor does Sam Parker, who has been working with Copper Mountain ski patrol since 1978.

“I consider myself a ski professional,” said Parker, also a Frisco resident. “I make money at one of my passions.”

Parker said he considers a ski bum “someone who just makes enough to buy a pass and only works enough to support that. The true ski bum, to me, is the person who works at night to ski all day.”

Connie Vereecke, who came to Summit County in 1978, agreed. A ski bum, she said, is “somebody who can ski all day, work all night and get up and do it again the next day.”

Like Parker and Vereecke, Frisco resident Mark Sabatini also came here in the ’70s. He worked as a construction coordinator at Copper Mountain and skied almost every day. Still, he never considered himself a ski bum.

“How the heck do you define ski bum?” asked Sabatini. “I think that, years ago, we all came together by virtue of a very deep love for the sport, for the outside, and because we were all nonconformists.”

If a passion for skiing alone is the key ingredient to being a ski bum, then Jody and Mark Thompson fit the bill.

“My definition … is, if you put where you want to live and what you want to do ahead of your normal lifestyle goals, like income and career, or you try to integrate the two (then you’re a ski bum) – which is where I think Jody and I fit in,” said Mark Thompson. “In some ways, “ski bum’ might be a misnomer for us because we both have professions.”

A true ski bum is one who puts skiing above all else, he said. It’s someone who works just enough to ski, skis every day and can do little else because he or she hasn’t the money.

“That means they’re sacrificing everything else to ski,” Thompson said. “That’s what I consider a hard-core ski bum, and I only know a few of them in the county.”

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Do ski bums have style?

According to what seems to be the classic definition of a ski bum, the idea of “ski bumming in style” may be a contradiction in terms.

“Back in the ’70s, I don’t think style had anything to do with it,” Parker said. “It may have been a style unto itself, but not for style’s sake.”

“If you look at the classic definition of a ski bum – somebody who puts skiing and living to ski ahead of everything else and works three jobs … I don’t know that there’s much style to that,” Thompson said.

“Ski bums don’t have style, they just have great equipment,” Moberly said. “It might be covered with duct tape, but … it’s always the latest equipment.”

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Frisco is ideal

Definitions aside, Frisco is the ideal location for skiers.

“It’s not at a ski area,” Moberly said. “It’s a real town, yet it’s still close (to the slopes).”

Thompson also chose Frisco for its location.

“It’s smaller and less Disneyland than the rest of the options,” Thompson said. “As far as ski towns in the county, Breckenridge is the only one at the bottom of the mountain. Dillon and Silverthorne … don’t have near the … small town feel.”

“Frisco just seemed a better fit for me – more centrally located, not quite as big as Breckenridge and not quite as commercial as Silverthorne,” Parker said, adding he chose Frisco for its location and small-town feel.

Vereecke, who lived in Frisco before moving to Summit Cove, said she misses living in Frisco because it’s within a 30-minute drive to all of Summit County’s ski areas and Vail and Beaver Creek.

And “(the) town was right there – you could walk down to the Moose Jaw and stumble home,” Vereecke said and laughed.

As Ski Magazine stated in its article, “Frisco lies as close to Colorado skiing’s epicenter as you can get. And in a region that has struggled with uncontrolled development, Frisco has somehow succeeded in preserving both its funky, historic downtown and a small-town community feeling.”

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Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or lsnyder@summitdaily.com.


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