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February 7, 2013

What It Costs to Be Me

kiri crane

Photo Credit: Nancy Newberry

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Kiri Crane, 27, Vail, Colorado

Occupation: Snowboarding instructor

Annual income: $25,000 ($17 an hour plus tips)

Home, sweet home: "Most instructors live in employee housing, dorm-style apartments on the mountain, but I found a deal on a two-bedroom apartment nearby. I have a room to myself and my two roommates share the other one. We pay $500 each, including utilities."

Bills, bills, bills: "I have $2,400 in student loans, so I put $300 a month toward that. I pay almost $60 for our Internet and Hulu Plus. Insurance for my Toyota Forerunner is $60, and gas is about $60. I'm on my parents' iPhone plan — it's cheaper — so I send them $30 a month."

Meal plan: "I never pay for lunch. In a group lesson, the mountain covers my meals, and private clients take me to a restaurant. For dinner, I cook; I'm a vegetarian and love pasta and salad, so I only spend $50 a week on food."

The weekender: "Wednesdays and Thursdays are my days off, when I board or hike to the backcountry for powder. On Tuesday night, I go to a local bar and drink Pabst Blue Ribbon beer or vodka sodas, about $15."

Only in Vail: "All-season ski passes cost $700, but instructors ski free. We get gear discounts, too; boards are $500, but I got mine for $300."

Big splurge: "Weddings! I went to seven last summer. Plane tickets are $500 each. A dress, gift, and hotel can add another $700."

The shoe index: "My most expensive shoes are my lime green Ride snowboarding boots. They retail for about $200 but I got them for $100."

The view from the ground: "A lot of mountain jobs are tip-dependent; at the height of the season, half my income is from tips. They vary and rely on tourism — if nobody wants a lesson, I don't have a job for the day. On the flip side, I can get $20 from a group or up to $100 from a private lesson." —Ashley Ross

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