Living in New York City for 11 years will change anyone. The same can be said of being part of a ski house in Killington for 7 years. There was NYC, the Big Apple, the city that never sleeps and shells out a daily grind like nowhere else. Then there was Killington, the Beast of the East, the town that hot tubs all night and skis all day. I’m not exactly sure at what point I decided that Vermont was going to be my end game but with each passing year the appeal to moving to the greatest ski town in the country became more and more obvious.
Then last summer I received the phone call that would forever change my life. It was a Sunday in July 2017; I was getting laid off. I had a $2K a month rent, credit cards, cell phone, student loans… bills. Not to mention the psychological aspect to losing your job. What kind of failure am I? What are my friends going to think? What about my parents?!
I took the weekend and escaped to a friend’s beach house to reflect on what just happened. I was devastated, but I had a decision to make. I could look for another job (which would be my 3rd in 4 years) or go all in on Till I Die and really give it a shot.
Now, I already had been working tirelessly on building out Till I Die but this changed the game. It forced my hand to listen more closely to my friends’ advice from the year before when they told me something I thought about every single day since this “intervention”.
“Listen Ryan, we love your brand and we think you have something that can be super successful. If we thought this was something that wasn’t going to work we would be the first ones to tell you. But you either need to get serious about it, or stop telling people it’s what you do. Make the decision.”
This was it, this was the opportunity. Go big or go home. Till I Die was the end game and Killington was where I needed to be to make it happen. In hindsight, it was the easiest decision I ever had to make.
Since the move I get the same question from everyone I know who still lives in Boston or New York or anywhere really… “what’s it like?” That question is what prompted me to write this article. It’s different. There really is no comparison between the two. I traded in skyscrapers for mountains, subways for cars, and a cubicle for an awesome type of freedom.
Our house faces south and every morning I wake up to the sunrise, make a pot of coffee, and take my laptop out to the back porch. I sit out there for the first hour or so of my day. The most distracting thing I have to listen to is the woodpecker that lives in one of the pine trees off the back. Now I would be lying to you if I said I don’t miss the hustle of NYC. I actually enjoyed buttoning up my jacket every morning, stopping at the coffee cart guy (who always knew exactly what I wanted), and jumping on the subway downtown with literally thousands of other people. The high-speed walking and dodging pedestrians like I was a Nascar driver, the elevator up to my office, and the lunch options were all things I truly loved. I hadn’t owned a car in a decade until I moved up here. I forgot what it was like not to live in a metropolis.
The population of the Town of Killington is right around 950 full time residents. I had 1,100 people who lived in my BUILDING in New York. Across the street from the apartment I had my grocery store, my bodega, my favorite restaurant, bar, pizza place, bagel shop… you get the point. Now everything is a car ride away. Different worlds.
I love this new world.
A lot of what made the transition easier are the people I get to interact with every day. All you see when you head to town or out to the dozens of access road joints are smiles. Smiles, stories, and palpable happiness. That isn’t to say that living here comes without grievances but the genuine nature of everyone you meet seems natural and unassuming. And they’re behind me 100%.
Instead of ending the day on rooftop bars I hike up mountains and watch the sunset. When I had a long day and just need a break I’ll head down to the river, set up a chair on the beach for the afternoon, and crack a PBR. Nights are spent at the local spots and after parties take place in the hot tub staring up at the stars.
I’m proud to call Killington home. The local community makes it even more special. And the folks here would embrace anyone else with open arms just like they have with me. I wish I could keep this place a secret but when you find something as special as Killington Vermont you want to share it with everyone.
Thank you for making me feel like I am a part of this place. New York, I still love you. Killington Vermont, I’m here Till I Die.