Colorado mountain town locals that are larger life
August 11, 2016
Call it destiny, call it kismet – whether by choice or chance, we are all lucky enough to call Summit County home. Differing paths may have led us here, but there's something special that keeps us here. There's a sense of community that envelops our small mountain towns and binds us to one another and the wondrous nature that surrounds us. We sat down with four locals who are eternally smitten with the life that Summit County has to offer.
Jessie Unruh, now 32, has been visiting Summit County since she was 4 years old. Winter ski trips to visit her uncle who lived in Summit were an annual tradition. In the summer, she, her brother and cousins would invade their grandparents' RV and drive from Kansas to Colorado for a family reunion. During her senior year of college at Kansas State University, she came to Keystone for the "Holiday Help" program and fell in love with the mountain town lifestyle. After finishing her degree in TV Broadcasting and Journalism, she packed her bags and traveled abroad to Argentina and New Zealand, then Hawaii before eventually returning to live in Summit County. She initially set her sights on 9 News, hoping to be an anchor or reporter, but quickly realized she wanted to focus on action sports. A stint with the Dew Tour solidified her choice.
"I loved the storytelling aspect, shooting photos and videos, and being in front of the camera," she said. When the content marketing manager position at the Breckenridge Tourism Office opened up, she knew she had found her dream job. "I am so passionate about Breck," she said. "My job is to share all the wonderful things about Breckenridge and I get to utilize my degree and creativity to produce that work. I love helping and educating the community, … it really makes me feel like I'm making a difference in our town."
In the fall of 1984, Jeff "Westy" Westcott boarded a plane to Colorado with two duffel bags and a ski bag. His plans only stretched as far as: find snow, ski, repeat. He struck up a conversation with a gentleman at baggage claim who convinced him to move to Breckenridge instead of Vail, which he had formerly visited. Westy climbed in the guy's VW bug, set off for Breckenridge and 32 years later is still here.
When ski season comes to an end, Westy's entrenched in his second passion — biking. After injuries, biking was an avenue back towards health and fitness. He logs some serious miles on his road bike in the early season, enjoying the time to turn his brain off and relax versus the intense focus required when he hammers on his mountain bike.
When he's not spending time in the saddle, he's running his business, Maverick Sports. The event company produces local favorites like the Firecracker 50, now in its 17th season. These races are more than just a business to Westy, now 53 — they keep him intimately tied to his passions and the community. A chance encounter may have brought him to Summit County, but thanks to the life he's found here, he plans to stay forever.
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Colorado native Jackie Moberly fell in love with skiing in 1961 at the age of 11. She'd pile into her best friend's station wagon and travel along the two-lane blacktop, which is now I-70, to ski at Loveland and Breckenridge. Denver was home throughout her childhood, then Boulder, where she attended college at the University of Colorado. It was there that she met and married her husband, John, in 1972. The lure of quiet mountain life led the two and their daughter, Kelly, to Frisco in 1992. Moberly began working at the Summit Daily News, and continued for 20 years, only recently retiring.
As a third-generation local, her love for Colorado runs deep. Her grandfather and grandmother moved to Denver from Chicago in 1915. Her grandfather was the President of the Colorado & Southern Railroad, which played a part in the creation of the Georgetown Loop and the now bike path that runs from Frisco to Copper. Moberly regularly rides her bicycle on this route, picturing her grandfather here working on this path, decades ago. When she isn't on her road bike in the summer, she's busy gardening and taking her pug on walks around the neighborhood.
In the winter, you'll find this 66-year-old shredding powder, listening to Santana, enjoying the bumps at North Peak at Keystone or skiing solo back in the Resolution Bowl at Copper. Her favorite season? "All of them," she laughs, quoting her friend, the late Brad Odekirk. "There's something to be said for all of them."
At the age of 60-minus-1, Bob Evans has already packed in enough adventure to last six lifetimes. From serving as the night manager at an infamous club in Wisconsin, to racing sailboats, Evans has always been drawn to adrenaline-fueled activities. In 1981 the allure of a brand new ski resort, Keystone, brought him to Colorado. He began working at Keystone in the winter, and the Dillon Yacht Club in the summer. Now more than three decades later, Evans is the Dillon Marina manager. He serves on the board of both the Association of Marina Industries and the International Marina Institute, and regularly speaks at industry seminars and tradeshows.
Year-round, his true passion is aviation. A long-time pilot, he finds joy in working air shows, and arranging the local air show. In the winters, you'll find him cross-country skiing out his back door in Wildernest with his German shepherd, Aille. For Evans, this is "real skiing" — being next to nature with his dog at his side. On the slopes, he can have just as much fun cruising down greens or blacks. He muses, "Anyone can go fast, but the true artistry comes in the turns."
Even though he was a pro in the skiing industry for 30 years, fall is his favorite season in Summit County. He finds September to be the ideal month, when the leaves are changing and a dusting of snow covers the tops of trees; there's a peaceful quiet in town.
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