The natural way |

The natural way

Andrew Gmerek

SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s not just the skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, running and hiking that keep Breckenridge resident Tanya Benyo incredibly busy, though in her spare time, she likes to do all these things. What makes her mountain life exciting is owning a small business, her love of reading, music and cooking and time with her husband.

“I’ve never had just one huge passion,” Benyo said. “I’ve always had lots of small loves.”

Benyo, a Colorado native, arrived in Summit County about seven years ago by a long and circular route.

“I’m originally from Denver,” she said, “but my family had a house up here from the early 70s, so I’ve been coming to Summit County to ski for about 25 years.”

After attending college in Arizona, Benyo became a flight attendant for Continental Airlines. At the time, she was based in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“I flew all over the South Pacific, Asia and Europe,” she said. “I did that for five years before I quit and moved to San Francisco to do some soul searching.”

While working as a waitress, she noticed a wine sales representative plying her trade in the restaurant and decided that was the job for her.

“It was a great job,” she said. “You got to travel, meet people and learn all about wines. My territory included downtown San Francisco so the job was very challenging.”

While living in California, Benyo said she began to get into a holistic way of life. Her job and her changing lifestyle would eventually lead her back to Colorado.

“I grew tired of the city,” she said. “Something was calling me back home, and I got a transfer. My new territory included Summit County, so I moved to Breckenridge and I’ve been here ever since.”

Benyo kept her sales representative job for four years while her interests moved in different directions.

“I started going to night school for massage,” she said. “Eventually, I started giving massages on the side in people’s homes. Back then, there were maybe four or five other people working up here. Then I met someone at the Mountain of Youth Spa in Breckenridge and we became partners. Two years later, I bought her out, and I’ve owned the spa ever since. I recently changed the name to The Mountain Sanctuary Holistic Spa, but I’ve been in the same location since those first days.”

Since its creation, the spa has grown, and now a patron can get not only a massage or body and hair treatment, but also a healthy drink from a large selection of vitamin and mineral shots. The spa also specializes in skin care, which is one of Benyo’s primary interests.

“I’ve always had an affinity for skin,” she said. “There is just something about it that clicked with me, and I’ve found that working in skin care in Summit County has been very successful.”

Sometime, during all her life changes, Benyo took a part-time job delivering pizzas, and she met the man who would later become her husband.

“I was working for Domino’s, and I must have delivered 20 pizzas to this one guy,” she said. “Finally we shared our first pizza together, and now we’ve been married about four years. The funny thing is that, during the wedding reception, just as we started the toasts, the doorbell rang. Someone had called Domino’s.”

Getting married has added even more diversity to Benyo’s life, and her and her husband now own a boat in Baja, Mexico, where they spend their time off camping, fishing and surfing.

“This year, Peter is teaching me how to fly fish,” Benyo said. “Peter is a fishing addict, and I can’t wait to learn.”

Benyo said Breckenridge is the perfect spot to live, especially for someone who has many interests.

“I like being able to walk out my front door and go hiking and snowboarding,” she said. “I also love the small town feel of Breckenridge. I like being able to walk to work, and I like it when I’m walking down the street and I run into lots of people I know.”

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