How to have a real job and still get after it

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Last year, Jackson Hole, Wyoming-based, skier, biker, and real dude with a normal job Jeff Brines logged almost a million vertical feet on his skis and bike. He's made it his mission to take advantage of the time he's not sitting at his desk. Here's his season edit, his secrets on how to get after it, and his source of motivation.

Who is this dude? I work as a financial analyst in Jackson, Wyoming. Like most non-professional athletes, my day job takes 50 hours a week and the hours are not flexible (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.). To add, I run a ski website, help with Pretty Faces, am remodeling a house and fixing an old motorcycle, and probably have 10 other projects I’m forgetting at the moment. Point is, I’m busy.

Wait, but why… The reason I did this was two-fold. When I graduated college nearly seven years ago, I was terrified. I saw life going two ways. One, I could be a slave to the man and basically give up all my passion for the outdoors, or, two, I could be a skid and eek by without much mental stimulation for the rest of my life. Finding a balance between the two has been my biggest challenge and something I wanted to share with kids who may have similar fears. It’s cool to have a job and still get after it.

The not jaded local Second, I became a bit jaded by all the talk of “I’d do that but _____” (I have a real job, I have errands, I’m tired, I am too hungover). So I made it my goal to stop making excuses and see just how much I could get out of the hours around work. See how far I could push myself in my silly athletic pursuits. Looking back, it's pretty amazing how far you can go if you just take that first step. I raced bikes at the pro level, clicked into skis more days than I ever thought possible, and threw a whole heck of a lot of high fives. That’s not saying I’m special. … I’m sure there are countless dudes and dudettes with more demanding jobs pushing it far harder than me, too.

Living in the right place (Jackson, Wyoming, in my case) certainly helps. Beyond that these are my tips:

get after it
The other hours are where you can get after it. Photo by Jeff Brines

1) Organizing is key. Planning ahead is paramount: The night before I often have my gear laid out and any equipment that needs mending tended to. Owning a truck helps, too, as I keep spare parts, tools, and various odds and ends stored in the truck at all times (ahem, locked).

2) Good gear goes a long way. Taking care of that gear is equally as important. Lifts don’t run during the other hours; lightweight gear can help keep you going day after day. Just as important: Taking care of said gear ensures you’ll make it back to the office on time without a blown-out binding or a broken chain.

3) Eat well. I clocked nearly 1 million vertical feet between the bike and skis. This is a lot. You will need lots of calories to keep going, but make sure you eat smart.

4) Track sunrises and sunsets. I have become intimately acquainted with sunrise/sunset times. I use an app called Sun Seeker. It shows me a ton of information regarding light, which is as equally important to a passionate outdoorsmen as it is to a camera nerd.

5) A few beers are OK. A six pack isn’t. Sure, we all like to cut loose every now and then, but it’s hard to maximize your time if you are always hungover.

6) The best camera is the camera you always have. If you are going to try to document your adventures, do it with something light, quick, and easy. For me that’s a GoPro. I know people who take amazing iPhone shots. It’s not always about having the best camera; it’s more often making sure you have a camera in the right situation and understanding that camera’s shortcomings/strengths/etc. Sure, a RED would have been awesome. Or even a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema camera. But when trying to eek the most out of your day you want to go with something that you can have on you at all times.

7) Dogs are your best friend. Truth is, when time is tight it can be hard to get out with your friends every day. Schedules don’t line up as often as you’d like. For these days, it’s pretty fun to have a furry partner in crime.

8) Naps are key. Find time to nap in your truck during lunch, even for 10 minute. Funny how refreshing even a 10-minute nap is.

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