Among other things, I’ve been getting paid to ski for the last 15 years. Prior to this, I tried working a suit-and-tie sales job in Denver, and lasted a total of three weeks. I can confidently say that my current on the hill “office” is one of the best in the world. Most people go to work in suits, change ink cartridges, sit in a climate controlled building, and aim to move into an office with a view. I go to work and ski, wear top-of–the-line gear made by Helly Hanson, and enjoy panoramic views of snow covered peaks…all day…every day. My job: full-time Ski Pro at Breckenridge Resort. Although I love my job… and my office, I still love to enjoy the many other activities Breckenridge has to offer.
Growing up as a lower-middle-class Colorado native, my hippie-like parents didn’t always have the time or money to “hit the slopes of Breckenridge.” Subsequently, my family found other low-cost ways to have fun off the mountain, bonding and building quality memories during what’s better known as my childhood. In 1980, and even up until the early 1990’s, our Park County cabin was considered off-the-grid. In order to access the cabin during the winter, we had to park our car on the main road, put our bags over our shoulders, and cross-country ski up to the front door, day or night, snow or wind. My brother and I became very quick skiers on cold windy nights. Oddly, my most vivid memories of the cabin didn’t have anything to do with that, but were of trekking through knee-deep snow to get to the toilet (which was outside due to the lack of indoor plumbing). The toilet, as we called it back then, was located deep in the woods, for privacy, and consisted of a flat board with a hole in the middle; below the hole was a small blue bucket used to catch the “you know what.”
During the recent holidays I wandered back to our family’s cabin in Park County, as I sometimes do, to relax, and relive some of those glorious memories. At the cabin, buried deep in the corner of the basement, behind piles of Alpine equipment, I found the old cross-country skis my brother and I used to ski into the cabin. Instantly my heart sank with nostalgia. We had grown so much since those days. We were no longer kids. We all lived in different places. It had been a long time since I Nordic skied, thanks to the invention of the chair lift, or maybe it was my inability to convince myself it was fun. None the less, it was the reoccurring nostalgia of those lost moments with my family that motivated me to grab those skis my brother had used, and pursue my involvement in the sport again.
Since the moment I discovered my old cross-country skis in the basement, I’ve found myself exploring new places, as well as old, all over Summit County, by cross-country skiing. Ironically, it’s on the trails of Breckenridge that I’ve recently been bonding with friends, reconnected with family, and falling deeper and deeper in love with Colorado, all on skis that helped build my family’s bond. It’s amazing what can happen in Breckenridge when you decide to take a day off from the mountain.