Tahoe locals · The characters you’ll meet

By Jenn Sheridan

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So, you want to live in Tahoe?

You made the decision. For better or worse, you’re going to live in Tahoe. Whether it’s spending a season as a ski bum, or relocating to a lifelong home, Tahoe Weekly has tips to help with the transition. Find out more at TheTahoeWeekly.com.

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“The word local has a connotation of some weird sense of entitlement; the local deserves to be here and the tourist is allowed to visit. But what makes a person a local and, more importantly, does it even matter?”

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The ski town local. The word local has a connotation of some weird sense of entitlement; the local deserves to be here and the tourist is allowed to visit. But what makes a person a local and, more importantly, does it even matter? Whether you measure it in the number of years spent residing in the area or the number of faces you recognize in the lift line, the true local knows that Tahoe is the only place they want to call home. If you’re planning on calling yourself a Tahoe local, here are a few of the characters you might meet.
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The seasonal employee

You just moved here 3 months ago from somewhere back East, but you’ve already scored a job bumping chairs and a sweet pad with seven of your newest co-workers so this winter is going to be EPIC.

You may be new in town, but the bartenders at your favorite watering holes already know you by name and they know you’re going to order the $1 shifter beer. You’ve memorized the public transportation schedule and you know where to find the best happy hours in town, so you’re practically a local. Especially compared to that family from the Bay Area who owns the house next door and complains when they come up every weekend and you’re trying to party till the sun comes up.

You’re probably that guy wearing a beanie on the beach in August, because you’re really only here for the winter.

 

Just came for one winter, a decade ago

You came here just for a winter, but when the snow melted and it was time to go home someone convinced you to stay for the summer. So, you got a job waiting tables or renting paddleboards on the beach and stuck around. It was just for the summer, but they offered you your job back at the resort the next winter so you stayed for one more winter, and then one more summer and then another winter.

Eventually, you moved out of the party house and traded bumping chairs for a variety of jobs that somewhat resemble financial stability. Maybe you even started a family.

Your favorite bartender doesn’t live here anymore, but you still order the $1 shifter beer and you still have the public transit schedule memorized because you’re the only one of your friends who has avoided a DUI. You know which busy roads to avoid on weekends and that grocery shopping can only be done midweek.

Instead of spending every weekend recovering from a hangover, you occasionally volunteer your Saturday mornings to build trails, clean up beaches or teach the local youth your favorite sport. You’ve developed an informed opinion about the future of your community.

 

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The Tahoe Kid

You’re not even old enough to know how to read this yet, but you already rip harder than many adults. When the ski instructor taught you how to pizza and French fry, you thought you had to choose one or the other which is the only way to explain why you’re straight lining Mountain Run at the end of the day.

By the time you are old enough to read this, you’ll already have skied Mainline Pocket and learned how throw a 3 on the medium jump line, but for some reason your coach still insists you make turns down Mountain Run. It’s no wonder you’ve improved so fast when you get out of school early during the week to ski.

Mom says if you learn how to make parallel turns this winter you can upgrade your strider glider to a real bike so you can hit the big jumps next summer at the Truckee Bike Park.

 

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The second homeowner

Tahoe is beautiful but you could never justify piecing together several jobs when there was a lucrative career waiting for you in The City. So each weekend you load up the car and leave at the crack of dawn to make it to the resort in time for junior’s ski lesson.

You might only spend a couple weeks a year in Tahoe, but you’ve owned your home here for more than 30 years and if one more punk, seasonal employee calls you a tourist you’re going to set her straight. You’re the reason she can afford to live in paradise in the first place and you contribute more to the community than she will in the 6 months she calls this place home.

You also know the best happy hour deals in town and the bartender at your favorite restaurant knows you by name, but instead of ordering $1 shifters and eating free popcorn for dinner you’re able to afford a real meal like a respectable adult.

 

The telecommuter

You were also offered a lucrative job in The City but the traffic and the smog were too much to bear. Your soul craved life in the mountains, so you hatched a plan to enjoy the best of both worlds and got a job working remotely. You’re able to enjoy all the benefits of living in Tahoe without the frustration of patching together seasonal jobs.

By the time you catch first chair at 9 a.m. you’ve already held three Skype meetings with clients on the East Coast. You have no problem answering e-mails between face shots and bump runs thanks to on-mountain Wi-Fi. You don’t mind flying into The City for a meeting once a month because those miles add up and you’re planning a trip to Chamonix this spring.

 

The non-skier

You didn’t move here for the winters. Maybe you enjoy skiing or boarding once or twice a year when the weather is nice, but why spend all that money and risk life and limb when there are so many other ways to enjoy Tahoe? You enjoy the sight of snow from next to the warm fire but you’re patiently waiting for summer when you can break out the paddleboard or bike or hiking boots. Instead of patching together seasonal jobs, you’ve managed to secure one of the few steady 9 to 5ers around the Lake.

Or, maybe you are working a seasonal gig but only because it gives you the flexibility to pursue your true passion – art, music, writing, creating – the mountains are your muse.

 

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The professional athlete

You’ve won gold medals and starred in several, large budget ski films. With sponsors like Red Bull you’re able to make a lucrative career out of living the dream, but when folks recognize you standing in line for a cookie at Wildflour Café it’s not a big deal because you’re a regular person, too. You’re more than happy to autograph a few kid’s helmets and invite mom and dad to the next High Five’s fundraiser.

 

The almost professional athlete

Maybe you haven’t won any medals or scored any film segments, but you have a DSLR and a GoPro. You’re sponsored by your homie’s T-shirt company and the local bar lets you show your edits on the big screen as long as enough of your friends show up and buy vodka-Red Bull specials all night. You still wash dishes to pay the bills, but you’re pro enough to score on Tinder.

 

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The J1

You’re only here for one season but only because that’s what it said on your Visa. You took a semester off from university to do a winter and you have one goal – to have as much fun as possible. You’ll ski, you’ll party, you’ll learn American customs like surviving on pizza for 3 months and using football as an excuse to get drunk and trash talk strangers. If you’re lucky, you’ll be back next season.

 

Actually born in Tahoe

You might fall into a combination of the other categories but you don’t waste your time trying to prove how much of a local you are because you actually are one.

 

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Tahoe dogs

Your human thinks that “No Dogs” sign is really more of a suggestion so she tries to sneak you in wherever she can. The beach, the trails, the parks, the bar, the restaurants, the office, it’s all open game as long as you don’t bark or bite anyone. You’ve made it difficult if not nearly impossible for your human to find a place to live, but she wouldn’t trade following you around and scooping up your poop with a plastic bag for anything in the world.