As I’m writing this bio the first flakes of winter are beginning to accumulate outside my window and I am positively giddy. I was very lucky to have been born and raised in the Gunnison Valley and to have learned how to ski from a tender age at Mount Crested Butte. After graduating from GHS I spent a decade in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Living there I gained some perspective on accommodating a larger backcountry usership. While our valley approaches 30,000 residents the Wasatch sits within a short drive of 2 million people. Naturally, the Wasatch has to be non-motorized because of the extreme user pressure. Without the possibility of snowmobiles and the skied-out nature of the most accessible terrain, a majority of backcountry users don’t think twice about skinning 5+ miles up a drainage to ski untracked snow. This was the environment that I came of age as a backcountry skier, and I am grateful for that perspective.
My partner and I moved back to the valley permanently in 2020 to be closer to family and start our business, Goodday Bikeworks. We make custom, handmade bikes (and bags) designed for the demanding terrain of the Gunnison Valley. We also organize a Sunday group ride that features the valley’s best gravel roads. Between production and gravel club we spend as much time as possible mountain biking and bikepacking in our vast backyard.
In the off season, when I’m not touring, or lapping the T-bars at CBMR, I lead cross XC ski and snowshoe tours for the CB Nordic Center. I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend one on one time with someone from a completely different walk of life and create a safe space for them to be in a winter backcountry setting. These are powerful experiences for my clients and I take pride in providing a curated experience, which includes being in a place of quiet and perceived remoteness. For this reason I prefer to go to places that are non-motorized, for which there aren’t many.
Of the six backcountry drainages, (Kebler, Slate, Washington, East, Brush, Cement) surrounding Crested Butte, there is only one that doesn’t allow motorized recreation (East). I deeply support EMBA’s mission to strike a balance between spaces for motorized and non-motorized users. With a one to six ratio, we are unarguably out of balance. As we imagine the future of asymmetrical recreation in our valley, the data on recreation user types and quantities that Western Colorado University Masters of Environmental Management students has collected will be an invaluable tool. Those of us who prefer human-powered recreation need EMBA’s voice at the table advocating for more access to a pristine backcountry experience, especially at this consequential time when the forest service is drafting a new winter management plan.