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UP CLOSE: Young and in the Adirondacks

AVCS grad enjoys job at Whiteface, singing at Upper Jay January Jams

January 19, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

UPPER JAY - Caitlin Bloom isn't an anomaly. At age 18, she's a young woman who appreciates where she comes from.

No matter the season or point in her life, Bloom recognizes the greatness of growing up in the North Country, and she takes advantage of it - constantly snowboarding, performing at open-mic nights and finding nature spots around the mountains.

Bloom, of Keeseville, has been working as a ski and snowboard instructor at Whiteface Mountain for much of her teenage life, and it's one of the most important parts about living in the Adirondacks for her.

Article Photos

Caitlin Bloom, a ski and snowboard instructor at Whiteface Mountain, sings Britney Spears’s “Toxic” at the Upper Jay Art Center during its January Jams open-mic night Sunday, Jan. 7. while Don Vicaro plays guitar.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

She described it a pretty laid-back yet rewarding job. The day starts of with a couple of free runs for all the instructors, there's employee line-ups throughout the day and then the rest is teaching others how to handle a set of skis or a snowboard.

"I love this job," Bloom said. "This is my fourth year working there. I did an apprenticeship for one year, which I kind of just shadowed instructors for a season- helped them out, rode lifts with kids- and then the next year I got a job as an instructor."

When the snow falls and the skiing season starts, Bloom said she loves having a work environment like Whiteface.

"Basically a lot of my winter occurs at Whiteface," she said. "That's like my home for the winter. I'm there more than I am at my actual house."

Her life isn't solely dedicated to the job or snowboarding either.

Every Sunday in January, Bloom attends the January Jams open-mic night at the Upper Jay Art Center. It's a community event where attendees can listen to their friends perform music while enjoying the refreshments table that is normally occupied by a large spiral ham.

"I think that having this type of event in such a spread out rural area is great," Bloom said. "It's one place that everyone can come together from what you're doing throughout the day and just listen to some music, play some music and eat some ham and jam."

Many of the musicians at the January Jams play folk, blues and American rock, but Bloom did something a little different on Sunday, Jan. 7.

January Jams regular, Don Vicaro, played a dark yet intimate chord progression on his acoustic guitar.

Bloom got close to the microphone and sang, "Baby can't you see," the first line of Britney Spears's 2004 hit single, "Toxic."

"I sing all the time," Bloom said. "I'll sing anything, but when it comes to this place, I usually try and, like, take songs that are upbeat and maybe slow them down and add some acoustics to it."

The audience went silent but not before letting out a hushed jumble of impressed noises implying "we know this song, and we like the way she's singing it."

The lights were turned down a little lower than usual, and for the next few minutes, Bloom entertained her Adirondack neighbors with a sultry rendition of the pop tune.

"I used to do things when I was a kid with my dad." she said. "He would do a lot of gigs around the area, and I'd go with him and sing a song, but I took a break from that for kind of a pretty long time when I started, like, getting really into skiing and whatnot. Then I found this place, and I was like, 'Great. I can go ski all day and then come here and sing and hang out with my friends.' And it really has picked up a lot. A lot of people from the mountain now know about this place now, so they come by after work, and it's really great environment. I like this place."

Bloom tends to express a more "in-the-present" attitude to what some would call big life events. A 2017 graduate of the AuSable Valley High School, she recently attended school at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, but wasn't enjoying it and left after a semester.

"I think it was the area." Bloom said. "I definitely plan on going back to school for sure. I want to be a guidance counselor, so I definitely plan on going back to school. I just really wanted some time to relax, and I wanted to see life without school for once. I really wanted to just make some money at Whiteface and hang out with my close friends."

There's often a lot of pressure put on young people to get into a good college, get good grades and get a good job, but that doesn't seem to faze Bloom.

She wants to be a student again, but she also recognizes that the part of her life in the Adirondacks doesn't have to end just because high school ended.

"I plan on going in the fall but if that doesn't happen, I've got time," Bloom said. "There's no rule that you have to go to school instantly, so I'm kind of taking advantage of that, and I think it was a great decision for me."

Many young people get into a rut of depression or anxiety; they'll blame it on their lack of commodities or how much money is in their wallets or where they live, but Bloom is an example of someone who takes a step back, slows down and enjoys all the world has given her.

For now, that's in her hometown in the Adirondacks.



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