Colorado zipline guides fill their days with adventure and action during the zipline season, yet the winter months bring colder temps, piles of snow, and fewer opportunities to sail through the trees. With the end of zipline season, guides leave running zipline courses to the wild animals that call these outdoor spaces home.
In the winter, the lives of zip guides differ greatly from most. Guides can be found climbing in the desert, ski bumming, or working at a resort. Most guides, above all else, love these jobs for the opportunities to immerse themselves in the outdoors and to travel around the state, country, or world. Read more here about why zip guides love what they do!
In the off (and on) season, cliff side is a common place to find your guide. Many zipline guides head to the deserts of Utah, Arizona, and California to fulfill this need to climb. Adrenaline leads many climbers to big wall climbs and soloing. A solo climb is when you face a route with no fall safety. No rope, no belayer, just mountain and climber. These high-risk, action-packed days of desert climbing hone the climb and zip skills of guides, so they are prepared for the on-season!
A guide’s desire for travel and new experiences can be seen in both his/her work and personal life. From running a zip trip to instructing safe climbing techniques on a Via Ferrata course, the best guides understand the importance of an amazing travel experience. They are full of passion and knowledge, cracking jokes to create memorable experiences for both visitors and themselves!
This hard work during the season allows guides to travel and undertake their own unique adventures during winter’s off-season. For many guides, these experiences themselves are all they need! Freedom, a full tank of gas, and few responsibilities can be more liberating than anything. The hard days of work have passed, and they are free to live out their own dreams with nothing but a mattress in the back of a van.
Van life and vehicle living is the norm for seasonal workers. It makes it easier for guides to pack up and go when they are not spending money on short term rentals. This also prevents the collection of any extra stuff. Only essential items will be found in a guide’s car; everything brought with them must have value. Vehicles usually include lots of outdoor gear, such as climbing bags stuffed with ropes, climbing shoes, and chalk. Many zip guides will also carry skis or a snowboard in preparation for visiting friends who work at ski resorts.
Traveling, for many guides, does not actually have an end destination or even a planned route. Often, the journey is rewarding enough in itself. Most trips will consist of a set of predictable stops, including somewhere warm and with friends.
If not on the road, a common place to find your zip guide during the off season is working at a ski resort. Ski resorts in Colorado often have employee housing, which is an important factor for guides to consider, as housing in mountain towns can be very expensive and difficult to secure.
Ski resorts also usually offer good wages and lots of benefits! Most positions pay decent, but that is not usually the main reason zip guides choose to work at ski resorts. Ski passes win over hundreds of employees! Passes allow employees to ride when they are off duty or even as a break during shifts.
Many guides that travel during the off-season will also visit their friends at mountain resorts to take advantage of the employee pass deals. Most employees’ perks include buddy passes for friends that want to join in on the fun!
Working at a ski resort can additionally be a good fit for a zip guide, as their personalities usually mesh well with the atmosphere. Similar to zip guides, resort employees interact directly with guests and educate them on how to be safe and have fun while skiing and snowboarding. Working and riding the mountain in the off season also ensure that guides remain fit for the upcoming summer of zip guiding and rock climbing.
Whether your zip guide can be found climbing, travelling, or skiing in the winter, he/she is enjoying a much needed break, while still itching to get back on our courses in just a couple of short weeks! As excited as we are? Check out all of our Trips today!
Written by Andrew Sigley, Colorado Zipline Employee
Edited by Rosa Canales, Marketing Specialist