Winner of Columbia ski scholarship arrives in Summit |

Winner of Columbia ski scholarship arrives in Summit

Aaron H. Bible
Special to the Daily
Special to the Daily

Residents of Dillon will have a new neighbor at the beginning of February, but don’t expect him to be sitting around the house much, chatting with the neighbors. You can probably catch him on the chairlift. Just keep an eye out for his giant beard.

Newly anointed card-carrying ski bum Rob Wallace, 30, will spend 90 days in Dillon living the proverbial dream as part of Portland, Ore.’s Columbia Sportswear’s first-ever ski bum scholarship program.

The package includes a plush condo, season passes to eight Colorado resorts, a four-wheel-drive rental car and a food stipend.

Columbia’s ski-bum contest invited skiers, snowboarders nationwide to submit a video essay explaining why they would be the perfect ski bum. Applicants could also record their video at Columbia booths at a series of Warren Miller film events around the country and were encouraged to promote their video on Twitter with a dedicated hashtag. The 245 videos Columbia received were available for public viewing and voting at the contest’s website,

The three most popular videos received more than 20,000 votes each. Among the field of creative and qualified candidates, Wallace, a self-described “geographically displaced skier” living in Knoxville, Tenn., won the judges over with a two-and-a-half minute video essay that was quirky, hilarious and convincing – much like Wallace’s incredibly thick beard.

“It’s daffy and doesn’t seem real,” Wallace said. “I just started skiing six years ago, but when I saw the scholarship, I thought, I’ve got to give this a shot. You’re going to kick yourself if you don’t even try.”

Detailing the desolation of his snow-deprived plight in Tennessee and his unwavering commitment to becoming the best ski-bum he can be, Wallace’s video included footage of his rigorous training program, including ski flick vocabulary research and energy drink consumption regimens.

“Columbia Sportswear is proud to award its first Ski Bum Scholarship to bearded snow-bomber Rob Wallace, and also extremely pleased with the overall success of the campaign. ‘Trying Stuff’ is what we do best and the results of this unique contest prove yet again the value of creative experimentation,” the company said.

The dedicated website received more than 85,000 visits over the course of the contest with viewers spending an average of four minutes on the site, well above average view rates, including130,000 video views and more than 1,300 people shares on Twitter and Facebook.

And while Summit County locals can follow him on the slopes, ski-bum wannabes around the globe can follow Wallace’s slacker-fabulous season of ski bumming at Columbia’s social media outlets and at #skibumscholarship on Twitter.

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