Working as a Ski Journalist
Writing is a powerful art form and words are a strong form of communication. People dream of earning a paycheck from writing.
A ski journalist gets paid to write about skiing. They don't make ridiculous amounts of money, but they do get to do two things they love - write and ski (or snowboard). Many ski journalists work other jobs at the ski resort and write in their "free" time.
Most skiers and snowboarders have visited skiing websites, blogs, Facebook pages, or flipped through a ski magazine such as Powder, Freeskier, Backcountry or other widely circulated snow sports magazines.
With very little effort, you can find information on ski resorts, backcountry, skiing, snowboarding, telemarking, ski towns, terrain, new improvements, tips, profiles, restaurants, bars, controversies, expansions, advertisements, competitions, adventures, gear reviews, destinations, après, and much more - all of it written by ski journalists who earn a paycheck by writing about what they love.
"This is as good of a writing job as one can get. So you get paid to take other people's vacations." Well in some ways it's true. It's hard to write about something honestly without experiencing it. Ski journalism allows you to combine work with fun. It certainly beats sitting in an office all day bent over a computer - instead you're typing away while the snow falls outside your chalet after another epic powder day. Heck, some writers are working in 'real time' while on the chair lift using their mobile device.
If you want to be a ski journalist, start writing and submit your articles to magazines, websites, and newspapers. If you start to get published and people enjoy what you write, then join the North American Snowsports Journalist Association (NASJA). The NASJA is a great place for ski journalists to find work, make contacts, and boost their resume.
The hardest part of writing is staying motivated. You must have a special kind of self-motivation to survive in the writing business, Even if you're sick and you just feel like burrowing down deeper in bed, you still need to keep things fresh, entertaining, and exciting. As a writer, you'll most likely never get rich, but you sure will enjoy your life.
It's easy to come home after the ski day, cook pasta and drink a beer next to the fire, but a ski journalist has to come home and log a few hours tapping away on his computer to get his work completed. It's how he gets paid.
Staying focused is important. Finding the delicate balance between time spent skiing and time spent writing is the key to success. Once you find a system that works for you, the opportunities are waiting.
Types of Ski Journalism
There are two main career pathways to work as a ski journalist. Both are unique and both are excellent ways to twist words into paychecks...
Ski Writing - Armchair skiers and snowboarders around the world love to flip through this type of writing while daydreaming about what they wish they were doing. Ski writing is typically freelance work, where you get to choose your topics and find your markets. It also means less consistency.
Ski Public Relations - Writing to promote a ski area is a different ball game than ski writing. It is marketing, public relations, and promotions. It is full time work and often requires a related degree plus a knowledge of the resort industry.
Which one sounds more appealing to you?
Many wonder what a ski journalist does in the summer when there is no snow? A ski journalist's job doesn't just stop because the snow melts. Many travel to Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, or Chile to chase the endless winter and bring the far off epic parks, massive peaks, and up and coming resorts to readers everywhere.
Other ski journalists change their job title to travel writer. This way they can sit on the beach and review hotels in the Caribbean, travel by train and write about hostels in Europe, bike through Southeast Asia and write about established tourist routes, or go on any number of exciting adventures that can be written about and experienced by armchair travelers around the world.
Writing is a fun way to earn a paycheck. You get to ski and you get to express yourself through well-crafted word selection. Plus, once your articles are published, ski bums all over the world will read what you write. That's cool.