Action County: Norm Bell |

Action County: Norm Bell

Summit Daily/Andy FrameNorm Bell/Climbing

Summit County has snagged another one. Norm Bell moved to Summit County from Cambridge, Mass., two months ago, leaving behind 15 years of what he calls “hi-tech and bio-tech stuff” in favor of the ultimate outdoor lifestyle. With the county at his feet, the 37-year-old climber, paddler and telemarker chose Breckenridge as his home base and the Breckenridge Recreation Center as his indoor playground.Just a month after coming to Summit, Bell got a job as a climbing instructor at the rec center, doing what he wants to do.”(My wife and I) basically wanted to do what we wanted to do, instead of having our lives dictated to us by other people,” Bell said.

Bell said his greatest passion of the three sports he participates in is climbing. He’s been climbing for sport for 13 years, but claims to have had monkey tendencies most of his life. “I’ve been climbing my entire life, from climbing trees as a kid,” Bell said. “As soon as I started climbing, I wanted to do it all the time.”Bell has been making tele turns for five years and kayaking white water rivers for seven. He’s looking forward to the tough decisions he’ll have to make as the winter begins to thaw. “In the spring, I’ll be able to ski, paddle and climb,” Bell said. “It’ll be tough to decide what to do.”

What is it about climbing you enjoy the most? Are you just trying to reach the top? “The goal in any sport I do is to do it gracefully. If you do it right, it should look effortless. Getting to the top is kind of a secondary goal.”Has it been difficult meeting people with your same interests in Summit County?”It’s been really easy to meet climbers and paddlers, but it’s been hard to meet other skiers. Skiers seem to stick with their core group of skiing friends.”

Obviously there are several differences between Boston and Breckenridge. What are your favorites?”We were active before, but only on the weekends. Now we have more time to try new things.”It’s so much more relaxed here too. When you’re surrounded by that many people, you start to ignore people and pretend they’re not there. There’s this sense of aloneness.”The locals have been great here. It’s been a breath of fresh air.”

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