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In February 1950, LIFE published a feature on what the magazine called “the gold-bricking existence” of ski bums at Sun Valley, Idaho. Eight months later, in its August 28 issue, LIFE published a follow-up piece with the wonderful title, “LIFE Revisits the Ski Bums (and Finds That They Are Now Beach Bums).”
“Photographer Loomis Dean,” LIFE told its readers, “looked up his cold-weather friends and found them still leading a bum’s life.”
Here, in tribute to that rare individual self-assured enough to scoff at societal expectations and embrace his or her inner bum, LIFE.com remembers the few, the proud, the charmingly, unrepentantly feckless.