On The Hill: John Standish
At 68, most of John Standish’s co-workers in the Breckenridge Ride School at Beaver Run are half his age or younger, but the generation gap doesn’t take any spring out of Standish’s step.”The only difference is when I go to the parties, I don’t drink and I don’t stay late because I can’t do that anymore,” Standish said.Another attribute that helps Standish fit in with the 20-something crowd is his young-at-heart attitude. He snowboards pretty much every day of the season, and he and his wife of 42 years, Elcena, roller-skate, ice-skate and dance competitively.”For some reason, I never matured,” Standish said, smiling. “I always kept waiting to get more mature, serious, dedicated, it never happened.”Two years ago, the Standishes started living in Breckenridge over the winter season, while continuing to spend the rest of the year at their home in Lake Stevens, Wash.
After raising four children and sending them off to school, the couple decided it was time for them to leave the nest as well.Standish had always heard about Colorado’s stellar snow, and his daughter Michelle had spent a recent winter working at Keystone and was able to check out mountains all over the state.”She said, ‘Dad, you got to go to Breckenridge, it’s got the best beginner slope there is,'” he recalled.So, he drove east in September of 2004 and lined up a job at the Breckenridge Ride School teaching beginners at Peak 9.Having spent 40 years as a ski and snowboard instructor at Stevens Pass Ski Area in Washington’s Cascade Range, teaching on the slopes is practically second-nature to Standish.
In fact, he volunteered to work straight through the busy holiday season just to be out on the hill.”I really think instructing is fun,” he said.Standish took on snowboarding almost 15 years ago, and rarely reverts back to his sticks.”I have not skied in three years. … I still have my ski gear here, I still like to get out on it, but I can’t get excited about it.”
What’s differences have you noticed between working in Colorado and Washington?”The main thing is I come out here for the snow conditions. I don’t want to knock the (Stevens Pass) ski school, (but) there we were 300 feet away from the toilet and a place to eat. Then, they put in a Coke machine outside and it froze. Here, 20 feet away there’s a deli, you go downstairs, there are linen tablecloths and a formal dining area, the Copper Top Bar is real close.”Standish also said he likes that the town of Breckenridge is nearby the mountain.Why did you want to learn to snowboard after skiing for so many years?”I could see where the lessons were going. I learned to snowboard because the boss said, ‘Hey, everybody’s got to learn to snowboard, everybody’s got to have two disciplines.'”
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