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How this subpar skier ended up living in a Colorado Ski Town

Updated: Mar 24

Places stopped along the road to Colorado

How did I find myself mucking about in Colorado for the last 7 years? It can be reduced to a simple number of whims thrown into the mixing pot of memories and moments of my nomadic life. Like most beginnings this started well before the date the moving truck was loaded up and the door rolled shut. It began in the prologue of my adulthood. It goes back to when I was an energetic, hormonal teenager with the fear of a blank future closing in on me. My best friend and I were hatching plans on what we were going to do once the final credits rolled on our high school careers. We landed on the idea that we would move to Australia together, an idea which was mostly charged by the winning good looks of young Liam Hemsworth in "The Last Song". As life goes, before the year was up, I also happened to watch "the world's deadly dozen" episode on the nature channel with my dad. It became extremely apparent to me that my chances of survival in Australia seemed to be close to zip. Death looked fairly eminent as pretty much every one of these "deadly dozen" animals held an Australian passport. They even had an "honorable mentions" category of animals that came close but just missed the correct measure of deadly to nab a top spot which, you guessed it, also mainly housed themselves in the land down under. This would not do. I was too young to die by giant centipede. I diverted my intentions to Australia's next-door neighbor: the undeadly New Zealand, who was the proud home of the nocturnal Kiwi bird that boasts poor night vision. These were the types of animals I was ready to call neighbors!

Australia's deadly animals warding me away
An Australian warm welcoming

Upon graduating high school, instead of moving across the world, I pursued my athletics and academic career at the University of Victoria. A choice, I admit, that was also made on a whim. I chose Victoria based on the results from a Facebook test on "what city should I live in?". That test nailed it-Victoria was a happy home for me. I attended UVic, walked onto the women's varsity soccer team and had the time of my life until a series of concussions brutally ended my career as a soccer player. I found myself to be a 22-year-old armed with the face of a 12-year-old accompanied by the sorrows of and 82-year-old while in desperate need to figure out who I was outside of the realm of athletics. This is how the long dormant idea of New Zealand was once more awakened. I decided to apply to study abroad in New Zealand. My choices were between the towns of Hamilton and Wellington. I completed one google search to decide my fate: which town had the better climate? That is how I decided that the University of Waikato would become my new temporary home.

Yes, this decision process was fairly reckless. I did not do a single morsel of research after I passed in my application, not even a google image search on what the University of Waikato looked like. Well, perhaps it was for the best because I probably would have backed out. Instead, I arrived at the Hamilton bus station with my dad and sister in a fit of despair as I looked around me to see all that surrounded me were a plethora of sex shops, a shitty bakery and just about nothing else. I believe my first words to my dad and sister were "what the hell did you let me do?!?!" I have a sneaking suspicion my dad was also harboring similar thoughts. Either way, they did what all good family members do--abandon the lamb and let them find their way. Dramatics aside, this turned out to be a pivotal part of my life. I allowed myself to move on from mourning the loss of who I was and began to build who I wanted to become. I found who the next chapter of "me" would be, and I found Connor-- the reason I repotted my Canadian roots to American soil.

My American journey did not directly bring me to the Rocky Mountain State. Instead, I found myself on an Arizona layover. I will not lie-- never in my life did I ever imagine finding myself living in the Arizona desert. Never. When Connor first told me he lived in Arizona I asked him why on earth he would want to do that. I had been to Pheonix for a soccer tournament, and it seemed pretty evident to my 15year old self that the state was a dud. He told me he liked the rocks...Great...Regardless, my suitcase came to rest in Sun Devil territory just in time for their horrendous summer to begin its reign of terror. I do admit-- Connor was right, Arizona has many pretty rocks and cool sights. We led a fun and adventurous life there, but I could not spend another summer day hiding from the fireball in the sky. I felt it was time to put our trust into another whim to work its magic.

We decided we would take a road trip around the Western states of America to figure out what the postal code attached to our next chapter would be. We camped our way through California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Our decision was narrowed down to Boise, Bend, Flagstaff and Fort Collins. The bike trails, breweries and cute local shops of Fort Collins eventually won the battle and we found ourselves waving goodbye to our dancing saguaro sights and welcoming in the foothills of Poudre Canyon.

When you commit to decisions made on a whim you have to be ready for revaluations and recalculations. It was a disaster. We had moved somewhere that was just as far from the outdoor activities we liked to fill our weekends with. This was also paired with the fact that rents were high while earnings were low. It was a cozy, sleepy town with amazing beer & friends but the reality was this town was not our bliss.

What happened next was one of those odd occurrences where the heavens seem to match random puzzle pieces from the most unexpected parts of life to create a perfect unexpected picture.

Back in New Zealand we had met another quirky character named Duarte, a fellow econ classmate and explorer who became a permanent fixture in our travels and life. Duarte came to stay with us for a few months while we were living in Fort Collins. It just so happened that during this time he saw on Facebook that a random guy he had spent 2 days traveling with while in Central America was moving to a mountain cabin in Silverthorne. This intrigued Duarte. He spared no time in contacting him and seeing if he could come by and do a ski trip weekend with him, with the eventual thought of potentially being able to stay up in the mountains. Chace said yes and then proceeded to leave town on the intended visitation weekend assuring Duarte he could stay in the house with one of his roommates Carson. Carson was less delighted to be left in a house by himself with a random guy that Chace sorta knew but had a pretty good feeling was not an axe murderer. Well, we dropped Duarte off for his cozy weekend with Carson, unsure if we would be called for a swift retrieval but as it would turn out this would become the match that sparked the wildfire for our Vail adventures and the birth of Garmisch boys (and Bijou) and the start of my skill-less ski career in the Colorado mountains.

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