My wife and I never saw our major life change coming. I was a casualty of the 2001 high-tech collapse; after an almost 20-year software industry marketing career at a number of established companies and startups, I was laid off. I struggled for the next two years to find suitable permanent employment while trying to support us with consulting and project work. Never mind the health insurance worries. Almost two years later, in July 2003, during a visit to northern Vermont, we stumbled across a beautiful old colonial-revival house for sale in one of the many idyllic areas surrounding Stowe. Coming from the Boston area, with its explosive property values, our first reaction to the listing price was that it was missing a leading "1" – it wasn't. We'd been going to Vermont for years; I had always wanted to move there (or should that be "here"?). After spending close to eight hours going through the house repeatedly over the next two days, we looked at each other, shrugged, and asked, "Why not!"
We returned to Boston's South Shore, listed our home, had our offer accepted on the Vermont house, and began planning our huge lifestyle change. We cashed out of Massachusetts the week before Thanksgiving 2003, paid cash for our new home, and eliminated the chronic worry and challenge of making monthly mortgage payments. We arrived in Vermont the day before the 2003-2004 ski season began at Stowe Mountain Resort.
Given the state of the high-tech industry, I was more than ready for this change, figuring that if I continued as a marketing consultant or contractor, I could do it from anywhere. And, since I didn't currently have any assignments, I might even give myself the winter off to pursue one of my passions.
In August 2003, because I'm a passionate skier, I had begun to think about how to best pursue every avid skier's dream: to ski full time. If I could join the Mt. Mansfield Ski Patrol (MMSP), I might even get paid to ski. With what was probably an unrealistic and romantic notion about what that entailed, I enthusiastically, and with great determination, began making the serious job-hunter's cold calls. In less than two weeks, I'll begin my sixth season on Patrol.