Many ski resort employees spend their days on the slopes and their spare time finding ways to augment their salaries with side hustles, such as making homegrown salsa, functional glass art and custom metal structures — as these three current Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe employees have. Ski patroller Shelbie Ebert, marketing specialist Amory Harris and bartender Kristin Inman have figured out how to have daytime jobs with a ski resort and side businesses that go hand in hand.
Shelbie Ebert may be scouting out The Chutes on her snowboard as a patroller by day, but she also makes and wears her own LahLah Designs hand-knit beanies that come with a twist. Ebert wore a knit beanie with built-in headphones that she made while working as a lift operator at a ski resort in Colorado. She wore it every day, all winter long and people started to ask about them. Thus, LahLah Designs was born.
“It’s great to have a little music, so I started looking at sound systems and found Acoustic Sheep,” she says.
Working during the day and making beanies by hand at night, Ebert made about 30 to 40 knit beanies with sound systems per year when a friend suggested outsourcing the production to a group of women in Nepal. The women could knit in their spare time and get paid fair wages helping LahLah Designs produce three times as much per year.
“They’re way better quality than what I can make,” says Ebert. “I’m passionate about the product; I wear them snowboarding, shoveling, going on walks, doing anything really.” | lahlahdesigns.com
If you visit Amory Harris’ Web site, you will immediately get a sense of where her passions lie. As the daughter of an outdoor clothing designer, Harris has been sewing her whole life and as she got older, she started making cozy fleece-lined neck warmers for herself, friends and family. Last winter, when she was hired at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, she made a bunch and sold them at the employee craft fair.
She can be outdoors during the day and sew neck warmers at night. Along with people finding out about them via word of mouth in the Tahoe community, people also find her Web site through her large social-media presence.
“I’ve been making them for as long as I can remember. I hate wearing stuff around my face that’s tight; buffs drive me crazy. But I wanted something warm that would stand on its own to be able to layer with other articles of clothing,” she says.
Harris has also been fostering kittens for 10 years through the Nevada Humane Society, which is where the name Snø cät came from. She regularly donates a portion of her neck warmer sales to various animal nonprofit organizations. | snocatcozy.com
Kristin Inman has been bartending at Mt. Rose for years, but she has also always tapped into her creative side. Whenever you see her slinging drinks at the Timbers Bar, it’s likely that she’ll have on a pair of earrings or jewelry she made herself that are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
Inman has recently taken her artwork to new heights, integrating alcohol inks into her designs. She took a graphic design class at Truckee Meadows Community College but was instead drawn to alcohol inks. She started experimenting with more abstract styles and watched a ton of YouTube videos, learning how the inks react with each other and the Yupo paper she paints on. Inman began making drink coasters and wall art; two years ago, Revision Brewing Company in Sparks used her art on three of its beer cans.
She has been making jewelry since she was a child, stringing hemp and glass beads together or using guitar picks in her craft. Inman got into making Christmas-ornament earrings during the holidays and started applying the alcohol-ink technique to them to give them a marbled look. She sells a lot of them through work, Instagram and Wyld Market events in Reno.
Along with perfecting her technique, Inman teaches alcohol-ink classes in the Reno-Tahoe community and hosts art parties at people’s homes. | Kizmit Concepts on Facebook