Jan 29

In defense of the bum


I used to joke that my friend Doug changed his identity twice a year. He worked as a surveyor during the summer and a ski instructor during the winter. Like clockwork, his hair grew long when the weather turned warm, the libations flowed more freely, and rousing poker games regularly ensued. He walked around shirtless. He used profanity. He lived like a bum.

It may seem counterintuitive, but when winter rolled around, “winter Doug ” as I called him, actually wore the opposite identity. I say counterintuitive because a general impression of ski instructors is that they’re nothing more than ski bums. It’s true, some instructors might be bums, but his guy looked well kempt, drank wine, and preferred to talk about good books. He walked with an air of sophistication and his vocabulary always improved. He was no bum.

What’s the point? The above photo offers a glimpse of one of our head guides, Ken Fuhrer, living the seasonal life and doing what he does best. He, along with Peter Walker and Daniel Sundqvist, are currently skiing through the Arlberg region of Austria as tour leaders for Alpenglow Ski Safaris.

Look closely at that face. Do you see a ski bum or a scholar? Do you see Winter Ken or Summer Ken? Does it really matter? Ken, Peter, and Daniel are having the time of their lives just sharing the beauty of this world with others. Perhaps we could all benefit from a little bumming now and then.

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