Sadly, every commercial rafting season on the White Salmon River must eventually come to an end. This leaves one very important question for every Wet Planet guide: how to pass the time until we can once again be navigating folks down the river. For those of us who live in the Columbia Gorge year-round, we squeeze our Chaco tan lined feet into stiff ski boots and head to Mt. Hood Meadows. Working and skiing on Mt. Hood has become a beloved winter tradition for many Wet Planet staff, since ski resorts offer a wide array of job opportunities that are the perfect balance to our seasonal river work. To get a closer look at what these jobs offer, we caught up with Amanda and Josh, a couple of our guides who are currently embracing the ski bum lifestyle.


Riding up the Hood River Meadows lift

What does a typical day on the job look like?

“During the week I work a typical 9-5, and on the weekends, I work on the mountain as a ski and snowboard instructor. A normal day usually includes a full day of teaching, sometimes one-on-one and sometimes in small groups. At the beginning of the day, I receive my lesson assignment, meet my students, and go from there! I’ll choose terrain that is appropriate for my students’ ability level, and then we’ll work on whatever skills are applicable to them. Because I usually teach children, a big part of my job is figuring out how to make the lesson fun – incorporating games that also build on their skills. At the end of the day my biggest goal is that the kids I’m teaching have fun. If they have enjoyed their day and want to come back for more, I know I’ve done my job well!” – Amanda Sharie, Ski Instructor / Raft Guide

“I work for Lift Operations. Since I work nights, a normal day allows me to get to Meadows early and ski until my shift which starts around 2:45 with a team meeting. From there, I’ll head over to my assigned lift to relieve the day crew from their posts. A normal shift consists of lots of skiing, dancing, and shaping snow for the ramps.” – Josh Dickey, Lift Ops / Raft Guide

Teaching at Mt. Hood Meadows

Amanda and her fellow instructors enjoying a bluebird day at Mt. Hood Meadows

How long have you been skiing or snowboarding and what got you started working at ski resorts?

“I’ve been skiing for around 14 years and snowboarding for 12. I fell in love with snow sports on a small hill in Pennsylvania, and I always knew I wanted to experience “big mountain skiing” in the west. In 2017 my raft guide friends convinced me to apply to be a ski instructor in Big Sky, Montana, and I haven’t looked back!” – Amanda Sharie, Instructor

“I’ve been working at ski resorts for 2 winters now due to COVID and have been skiing for just as long. Before that I worked year-round as a river guide by transferring seasons to the southern hemisphere.” – Josh Dickey, Lift Ops

mt. hood meadows skiing heather canyon

Wet Planet’s Reservations Manager, Sharon, ready for big-mountain turns in Heather Canyon

What is your favorite part of working at Mt. Hood Meadows?

“There are so many perks to working at the resort, but the best part is meeting like-minded people and feeling like I’m a part of the community. I love getting to know other employees and riding together in our free time.” – Amanda Sharie, Instructor

“I really enjoy being able to spend my days outside skiing and Meadows allows me to do this as much as I want.” – Josh Dickey, Lift Ops

skiing at mt hood meadows

Wet Planet Guide Josh, enjoying a day of skiing with friends before Josh’s night shift

Working at ski resorts on Mt. Hood and elsewhere has led to some incredible opportunities for our staff. A great example of one of these life changing experiences came from Amanda, “Working at Mt. Hood Meadows has provided so many unique experiences for me! One of the highlights has been instructing for the Burton Chill Foundation, a program where ski resorts partner with Burton to offer free snowboard lessons for kids from marginalized communities. Many of the participants from this program are experiencing the mountain for the very first time and are falling in love with something that builds their confidence and resilience. It has been so cool to be a part of that.”

While working seasonal jobs has undoubtedly offered so much for our staff, it isn’t without its challenges. One of the most challenging aspects of working seasonal jobs is having to move and figure out a new living situation multiple times a year. Here on the White Salmon, we are incredibly lucky because we can live year-round in the Columbia Gorge, but still enjoy the seasonal lifestyle since we have epic skiing just 45 minutes away! So, if you want to live the seasonal lifestyle & have access to winter job connections, join the Wet Planet team!

Author Hattie Fletcher works as a photographer at Wet Planet. She enjoys being able to capture photos of guests rafting the White Salmon so they can look back and reminisce on their epic
adventure for years to come.