Midweek powder days pose some of life's most arduous dilemmas: Should I go, or should I stay? Should I work, or should I play?
Thanks to an emergence of ski town co-working spaces, you get the best of both worlds: Shred powder like a hero on the slopes, and work it like a boss in a skier-friendly office space.
Think of co-working spaces as a fusion between a coffee house and a Kinkos. Memberships include access to all of the amenities of a corporate office, including fast WiFi, functional work stations, access to printers, copiers, and conference rooms and with coffee and snacks always ready.
Brad Neuberg, a software engineer at Dropbox, formally at Inkling and Google, is credited for creating the first co-working space in San Francisco in 2005. Now you can find co-working spaces around the globe, including nearly 1,000 in the U.S.
Megan Michelson, freeskiing editor for ESPN and co-founder of Tahoe Mill Collective at Alpine Meadows in California, says it was only a matter of time until the co-working phenomenon reached ski towns.
"We're really seeing an explosion of people coming to the mountains to play and also wanting a place to get work done," she says. "The rise of co-working spaces in ski towns in Tahoe, Colorado, and Jackson Hole is giving people an opportunity to have affordable, collaborative and productive spaces to work while living or visiting the mountains."
The collective has partnered with eight other ski town co-working spaces to form the Mountain Co-working Alliance (MAC). That means skiers and riders looking to get 'er done can join one co-space and get two free days at any of the other participating spaces:
- Tahoe Mountain Lab in South Lake Tahoe near Heavenly;
- Spark Jackson Hole in Jackson Hole, Wyoming;
- Assemble Park City in Park City, Utah;
- RiverCoWorks in Basalt, Colorado near Aspen/Snowmass;
- Base Camp in Avon, Colorado near Vail and Beaver Creek;
- Durango WorkSpace in Durango, Colorado near Purgatory;
- Elevate Co-Space, Summit County, Colorado, near Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Keystone, and Breckenridge.
- Tahoe Mill Collective in North Lake Tahoe near Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley;
- The CUBE in Midtown Reno, Nevada
Beyond a functional place to work, co-working spaces often host featured speaker series, mentorship opportunities, educational sessions, and the opportunity to work side-by-side with like-minded people.
Mike Rogge, a former editor at Powder magazine, is also a founder of the Tahoe Mill Collective. He's seen photographers hook-up with leading apparel companies, and says other members include start-up clothing and accessory companies and ski industry sales reps.
"It's developed into a shared space of friends, I'm blown away on a daily basis by the projects being tackled and accomplished in our little building," he says.
"While it's great to see skiers coming together in the work place, I enjoy meeting folks from other walks of life. My favorite times are when someone has a project breakthrough, I love sharing that moment with a co-worker."
A Proven Way to Thrive
A study by three researchers at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business found that people who use co-working spaces feel their work is more meaningful and thriving, they have more job control, and they feel like part of a community.
Zander Hartung was one of the first to join Spark Jackson Hole. He was living in New York City, working for a Denver manufacturing company, but he had friends in Jackson and visited each winter. His stays kept getting longer and longer so last season he signed on to Spark where he worked for most of February and March. Since then he's been working out of Spark full time.
"Being here totally changed my Jackson experience, it opened up a new community of people other than the people I was skiing with, so I've made the decision to move out here."
Did you know that 6 out of 9 people in Jackson Hole wear ski googles while working?
Here's a photo to prove it:
Colorado Governor Stokes Co-Working
Holly Battista-Resignolo is a ski mom and publisher of MTN Town Magazine based in Breckenridge, Colorado. For her, Elevate Co-Space in nearby Frisco (which recently enjoyed a cameo appearance by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper) offers an affordable office space and a chance to meet new clients and partner with other local professionals.
"I now have a great new relationship with a talented graphic designer that's benefiting both the magazine and my customers and even got to meet the Governor and introduce him to our publication. WOW! This would have never happened in my home office," she says.