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Places to live/work in Ouray over the 2016/2017 winter?
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Jul 24, 2016
I've been living and working at Miguel's Pizza in the Red River Gorge, arguably the sport climbing capital of the Eastern US, for the past five months, and being here has personally reinforced the idea that ice climbing is truly my favorite form of climbing, and ice is what I want to spend my time and passion on. I'm hoping to live somewhere over the winter where I can ice climb a lot, and Ouray is where I may have my sights set. Problem is, I can't seem to find a way to stay there for a few months. It's a small town, so I can't find anything online for rent or work. My best bet so far is winter camping, which I haven't done before, but I think I could handle it, though I wouldn't have running water. Either that, or maybe I could figure out a work/stay thing at the Western Hotel.

Any suggestions from people who know the area better? Thanks.

Extra info: I have only been climbing for a few years, but I have two seasons with ice and I have my own gear. I'm not leading yet, but I top roped a 140' WI4 with no takes in the Ouray Ice Park, and I've done a lot of other climbs in the park, and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. But my psyche is high and I have a safe, level-headed approach to the danger of ice.
Zach Young
Joined Jul 24, 2016
0 points
Jul 24, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: One Way Sunset
You might talk to the Board of Directors for the park.

ourayicepark.com/contact/

I am not sure how they are going about hiring the ice farmers for the upcoming winter. It is hard, brutal work.

Another possibility is to talk to Jim Donini. He has a home in Ouray and is very approachable. He would know the answer to many of your questions.

Best Wishes,

Scott Mc
Scott M. McNamara
From Tucson, Arizona
Joined Aug 15, 2006
78 points
Jul 24, 2016
Look into Ridgway too it is only 10 minutes away. You might be able to find a restaurant job, though I suspect once people get those jobs they don't leave! Chris Schmidt
From Grand Junction
Joined Nov 29, 2012
0 points
Jul 24, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: en route to wham ridge  Photo by Carl Schnitker
Although they're a bit far south of Ouray, Silverton and Durango well have a lot more options for housing and work. eli poss
From Durango, Co
Joined May 9, 2014
427 points
Jul 24, 2016
Totally support Ouray if you find a job and a place to sleep, certainly it's super easy access to lots of ice. But don't despair, it's not the only place to learn to ice climb. What about somewhere in the Northeast? Montana? Canadian Rockies?? jdejace
From New England
Joined Sep 20, 2013
12 points
Jul 24, 2016
Estes Park might be an option for RMNP ice climbing. KevinCO
From Loveland, CO
Joined Mar 22, 2006
85 points
Jul 24, 2016
Wow, thanks for the info, everyone. I didn't expect responses so quickly. I love how close and informative the climbing community is. As a side note, I'm only 22, so I probably wouldn't be a top pick for being an ice farmer, though it does sound like it would be a spectacular job.

I feel like I really have my heart set on being as close to Ouray as possible. I felt really connected to the place when I went there. I know there are other spectacular places in the country to ice climb, but Ouray is a place I need to be. I need to do some more networking, but from what I can tell, I'd be extraordinarily lucky to find a place that gives me water, heat, and proximity for a cheap price. But I'd be happy with anything if it means I can ice climb for a few months.
Zach Young
Joined Jul 24, 2016
0 points
Jul 24, 2016
Scott M. McNamara wrote:
You might talk to the Board of Directors for the park. ourayicepark.com/contact/ I am not sure how they are going about hiring the ice farmers for the upcoming winter. It is hard, brutal work. Another possibility is to talk to Jim Donini. He has a home in Ouray and is very approachable. He would know the answer to many of your questions. Best Wishes, Scott Mc


Though I'm terrible at networking, I lucked out to realize that by some coincidental miracle, Jim Donini is a friend of a friend of mine. Thank you so much for pointing out that he lives in Ouray. I may actually be able to get in contact with him.
Zach Young
Joined Jul 24, 2016
0 points
Jul 25, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
You are not too young to work as an ice farmer. They thrive on the energy and hard work of the youngsters. I suggest you go on their website and email them your resume and letter of interest ASAP.

Another option is a lifeguard at the Hot Springs Pool, they are always hiring.

Camping won't be a very good idea, as even if you have a posh van or truck camper it's pretty grim in the winter. You want your gear dry out over night.

Most people who dirtbag here save up enough to afford rent for 2-3 months and just climb and ski. And if you are serious about honing your skills, that's what I'd do. I would not worry about getting a job, until you get here. Plus it's a small town - they won't just hire you over the phone or email, they need to see you and get a feel for you in person.

If you want guaranteed work, get a job in Telluride - you can apply on the Telski website. It's a longer commute, but there is an employee shuttle from Ridgway and it's guaranteed work, free skiing and higher pay than in Ouray.

Re: housing, Ridgway is actually tougher than Ouray. Most people contact various realtors in town and they hook them up with roommates and short-term rentals.

Buy some kind of TR-solo device. Don't worry about partners for the first month - you want to TR-solo shit out of the Ice Park for the first month. You can get 10 laps in couple of hours solo and get other shit done like work or skiing or rock climbing in the afternoon.
doligo
Joined Sep 26, 2008
412 points
Jul 30, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Summit of Sunlight
+1 for doligo's comment. If you're serious I would give you an interview for my construction company out of Montrose. Stephen Berwanger
From Montrose, CO
Joined Jun 3, 2007
293 points


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