So I'm a newbie at all this and am interested to know if any of you have worked Lake Powell in the summer and how it is and also how Vail and Aspen compare in the winter? Any input or knowledge would be great!
Lake Powell in the summer is hotter than the surface of Mercury. Like the rest of the Colorado River, it's down in a canyon--the lake only partially fills it. So in a very hot country, you're in the hottest part of it, usually without a breath of wind (except during monsoon season). And if you go out on the lake, the reflected sunlight will give you a terrific sunburn in several very unusual places.
The lake is artificial, which means that its shoreline fluctuates with the seasons as the reservoir is drawn down and refills. In summer, the lake recedes, leaving a bathtub ring on the shoreline. Garbage and diesel oil collect in the shallows. You are warned by the BLM rangers not to eat any fish you catch, because of the toxins that concentrate in the stagnant lake and make their way up the food chain.
This place is a hellhole, and can only be enjoyed by the rich who can rent a houseboat or cabin cruiser. I, personally, would rather spend my summer in Bangladesh--in a leper colony--than at Lake Powell.
Aspen and Vail have different vibes. First of all, Aspen is a town in its own right--Vail is an artificial ski-resort construct. There is no sense of community in Vail. Aspen is harder to get to--it's a good hour from I-70, while Vail is right on the interstate. Aspen has a beautiful natural setting--there's awesome hiking right at the edge of town, and the Roaring Fork is right there for rafting. Vail is OK in that regard, but it's basically a big ski hill surrounded by condos and hideously overpriced restaurants.
In either case, you might not actually get to live in the place where you work. Both Aspen and Vail have very little rental housing available, and what there is, is insanely overpriced. Vail Resorts buses its seasonal employees to a bunch of flimsy trailers perched high on a windswept mesa far west of Vail (I think it's near Rifle). Aspen seasonals usually wind up in Glenwood Springs or Carbondale. If that happens, you face an hour-long commute/bus ride up to your job--sometimes through a snowstorm.
I don't know what it's like to work for the various employers, although I would imagine it's the usual combination of terrible pay, drudgery, long hours, and routine abuse. If I had to choose among the three alternatives, I'd pick Aspen every time, simply because it's an actual town, in a gorgeous setting. You might have to share an apartment with twelve other people and sleep in shifts, but it might be worth it.
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