The Ski Town Fairytale is a graphic novel about the quest to live the ski town dream
If you've ever lived in a ski town, envied #VanLife, or tried to chase a life of adventure (that also works out), this book is for your coffee table (or dashboard)
First Edition Hardcover, 48 pages. Shipping February.
Signed by Sam or Ryan
Read the Foreword
By Lily Krass, Ski Journalist
I remember the first time I saw a ski bum. I was 12 years old and my mom pointed out a scraggly dude—Duct Tape patches on his soaking-wet jacket—stuffing his pockets with oyster crackers. Ten years later, the powder fever has won me over. That scraggly dude poaching french fries? That’s my dream guy.
When I started working as a ski journalist (something my parents definitely questioned the legitimacy of), Jackson Hole was my Mecca. A place where I could ski nine days a week, wear Gore-Tex bibs on a date and trade banana bread for an edge tune. By any skier’s definition, it was pure joy. It was my dream.
But pull back the curtain on those carefully curated Instagram squares, rose-colored dawn patrol laps, and deep, dreamy pow days and you start to realize the proverbial dream isn’t as simple as we’d like to think. And the overwhelming homogeneity of the outdoor industry has kept the dream out of reach for all but those already set up to succeed.
Sure, there’s a certain pride in challenging the status quo, prioritizing adventure over money, climbing tall peaks and skiing bell-to-bell instead of working 9 to 5. But at what point do housing insecurities, a massive wealth disparity, mental-health crises, unpaid internships and a diet of complementary Nature Valley bars shake us awake from the dream we hold so dearly? Are we really living life to its fullest when we’re working four jobs to make rent?
Working in ski media, we’re expected to portray the best. The deepest pow, the tallest peaks, the newest gear. It’s a dream world, one that claims to celebrate the dirtbag ski bum, while at the same time pushing out all but the trust funders, investment bankers, and remote tech workers who can afford the $10 lattes and $2,500 ski passes. What happened to the ketchup- and Saltine-eating dirtbag in the lift line? Has she disappeared from the narrative altogether?
In a world of influencers and telecommuters, a pessimist might declare the ski bum extinct. But my naive optimism doesn’t buy that. We can’t lose the ski bum. Whether you ski three days a year or 100, the carefree, powder-crazed spirit of the ski bum is the thread that connects us all.
We have to keep the dream alive for our children and grandchildren, but it’s not going to happen if we let our screens dictate what that should look like. The dream is up to us to define. It’s not a resort or a career path. It’s a state of mind. What makes us truly happy.
And at the end of the day we can take a step back and celebrate what brings us all together in the first place: soul turns, free breakfast burritos and the stoke of a high-five from a random stranger on the chairlift.
P.S. Check out Lily's delicious cookbook, Beyond Skid
About the Authors
Sam Morse is an outdoor-focused wordsmith who loves exploring the wonders of nature! Deep turns, craggy trails and hot-spring trips all sit near the top of his to-do list. He currently resides in Salt Lake City where he does yoga, avoids air pollution and raises his golden retriever pup, Blue.
Ryan Stolp is a lifelong illustrator and creator of the Lift Lines comic, a tri-weekly reflection on the absurdity of ski towns. He has turned his first ascents, continental hitchikes, and spooky ice climbs into inked tales with a passion for visual storytelling. He’s hanging on in Jackson, Wyoming.
Learn more about Ryan here