Off Season Work

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    hi, I’m curious about what some of you Ice veterans do during the off season to make the mortgage payment and other ends meet until the next season starts on the Ice? I’m trying to get some better ideas for the wife other than being employed for only 4 months a year which in my mind is an excellent idea…


    Shockingly, there are some “regular” people who come to The Ice. They make the mortgage payments by – well, several methods, but one popular one seems to be working other seasonal contracts – National Parks, ski resorts etc….

    Another popular thing amongst us, however, is to simply NOT have a mortgage payment and spend our off Ice time traveling the world.


    I’m one of those who used to travel the world (i.e., couch surf) in the off-season. After several years of that I decided that I was tired of living like a gypsy and might actually want a home base — and mortgage. D’oh!

    Ideally, many Ice people either have a job on-hold back in the states, or pay cash for a small cabin near a national park, live cheap, and work odd jobs during the off season. If you work 6 to 13-month contracts, like me, it’s much easier to take a lot of time off between contracts. Warning: that lifestyle becomes addictive and will mess you up bad. You have been warned.

    You are wise to think about ‘what comes after’.

    Someday all of us will either tire of deploying, NPQ, or get married, and then the show comes to a stop. It’s good to be tucking a few aces up your sleeve for that day.



    Glenn, as you know, I have a mortgage. It was a cheap,very old half falling apart house, but we can make the payments. I have a second seasonal job working as a park ranger in Redwood National Park. It works really nice with the ice. I work the park from April until the end of September, which means I can’t work Winfly. I go right to the ice on October 1 with no break inbetween the jobs. Work the ice until mid February. Spend a week or two in New Zealand and then get home around the first of March or so which gives me a month more of vacation before starting back to the park.

    In the past I’ve applied for unemployment for the six weeks inbetween the ice and the park, but this year I didn’t, More for insurance If I don’t PQ, You can only collect a finite amount within a one year period and I want to make sure if I don’t go to the ice the next year, I can collect the full amount then. They tell you to collect in Virginia, but i’ve found that in California the park income is local and they credit me with both states dollar amounts. It increases the check by a hundred dollars a week or so.


    Hi Mike, I was thinking of you (although I knew you had a mortgage) and also all the Ice people I’ve met who have cabins near Yellowstone, Denali, or Glacier, and pick up seasonal work in those parks. The seasonal schedule seems to work well.

    Back to Daneel’s question, I think the answer depends on your lifestyle and where you want to live. If you live in the city, have a significant mortgage, or want a lifestyle somewhat more lavish than living in a tent, then you have to find a job between seasons.


    Well, at the college I work at, it’s “possible” to get a 4 month sabattical and then come back as if you’d never left. However, relations are somewhat strained with the person I must request the sabbatical from. My expectations are my request will be denied and that’s the reason I posed the question I asked in this thread.

    I must also confess I’m rather spoiled at the college; the trees, grass, old historic buidings and the fantastic crafstmanship of woodwork in some of them. I recall I almost peed my pants when I walked into the Womens building (built in 1920) and saw all the ornate woodworks. I had a stint for 4 months on the academic side in the summer of ’08 and was exposed to a lot of science stuff which was most entertaining to say the least. I recall I walked into one area and the first thing I noticed were 6 LARGE Mead telescopes in the corner. The professor was there and I struck up a conversation with him. I told him that I was on loan from another department for the summer and that frankly, walking into a room like his and seeing such toys as he had, I was like a kid in a candy store. He smiled and thought for a moment and then replied, Well, that’s why most of us are here! We then chatted for awhile, I was invited to a star gazing party and then he took me up to the roof to show me the radio telescope his class was constructing. I never knew what I might run into working the academic side; an electron microscope, a mad scientist, a nuclear power plant, a professor of agriculture who deep down is a stainless steel freak, and me being a copper and brass freak, well, we got along real swell…

    There are other examples I could ramble on about, but I spose most of you already understand what I’m saying. That “off season” job you have at Jellystone Park or ski resort, etc. sounds like it might well be just your kind of candy store.

    I already have a wife, a mortgage and other ends to meet when I came upon this opportunity to go to the Ice last October. A cabin in Jellystone Park sounds good to me, but will simply remind the wife of my sailboat pipe dream of some years ago, lol. That leaves me, with 7 years to go before I retire,to think about the Candy…



    I have two places now. A Beautiful old historic home in Florida, and now another smaller place in NJ. I’m thinking the sabbatical route as well, or perhaps setting things up so that I navigate between postings with my current employer and time it so i negotiate 4 months off in the Winter. We’ll see. Also have the spouse and 2 kids, but as long as they are well taken care of…. Maybe if I do a winter season they can go spend the northern summer with oma and opa.
    I would expect to work in the offseason, though the idea of jaunting around the South Pacific in between seasons sounds awesome. I’ll just have to find a job that supports that. Maybe I’ll do Content Management system installs in Australia in off season, I have a number of contacts for that….
    Just need to always keep putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll keep going regardless of the direction you head.


    Well, it seems our state Governor just found a half billion dollar hole in the budget and is mandating a 9% cut across the board for all state agencies. Doesn’t look pretty for state employees for at least the next half decade++.

    Transpolar’s web site has a few partner contractors listed but can anyone list a few other contractor juggarnauts that I might check into?

    btw Spidey, to get a work visa for Australia requires you to be under a certain age no matter how much your type of work is needed. Not sure if that pertains to working for an American company based in Australia though. I’d found way more than a handful of jobs with would-be sponsors but I’m too old. I’ve also got my second historic home restoration going on that sucks all my spare time and cash. You’d think I would have learned better after the first one, eh?

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