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Ultimate mountain woman hangs 10

Andrew Gmerek

Amanda Spilman describes herself as a real mountain woman. She hikes, bikes,

snowboards, downhill and Nordic skis, camps, gathers firewood and along with

her 7-year-old daughter, Leila, is a rock-climbing enthusiast.

“My daughter is part of the rock climbing team at the rec center, and she’s

spent a lot of time on the wall,” Spilman said. “I’m hoping this year we

will be able to get her on real rock, but on something easy.”

Spilman learned all of her outdoor skills growing up in the High Country. She is a native of Fairplay and has spent all but six of her 31

years living in the Rocky Mountains.

“I’ve left the mountains a few times to sow some wild oats,” she said, “but

the mountains call you back.”

During her time living in and out of the High Country, this self described

zany, artistic free spirit has held many different jobs. She was a personal

assistant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a phlebotomist – a person who draws blood

and does blood work in a lab – in California, and a medical assistant in

Summit County. She currently is working as an assistant floral designer for

Creative Flowers in Breckenridge, as well as performing massage therapy on

the side.

Spilman said she took a plant science class and even tried to find a job at

an orchid farm in California before she started work as a florist.

“I’ve always loved flowers, and I like being in a business where everyone

that comes in is giving someone a gift,” she said. “Everyday you are doing

something different or learning something new, and I like that part of the

business the best.”

Spilman, however, considers massage therapy a calling.

“I went to school for massage therapy in California,” she said. “I had a

friend who was taking a class, and they needed an extra body. That’s how I

got involved. I’ve been working at it for nine years, but I still get most

of my business through word of mouth.”

Along with all her other interests, Spilman also enjoys semi-frequent trips

to Mexico to surf, a sport she tried while living in Florida and practiced

on the California beaches.

“I started surfing when I was 19,” she said. “When I lived in California I

surfed just about everyday, and now I think I’m pretty good. I’m pretty

confident. With Mexico so close and cheap to get to it’s easy to go surfing

whenever you want.”

Even with her love of surfing and the beach, Spilman said she plans on

staying in Summit County.

“My partner, Lane Wyatt, and I are buying a house, so we’re planning on

staying for a while,” she said. “I love looking at the view of the

mountains. I love the fresh air, and I like that there are hardly any bugs.

That’s why I stay.”

Living in Summit County, however, comes with difficulties as well.

“I dislike the fact that living here you build good friendships with people

only to see your friends move away,” she said. “It’s the transient nature of

the community that bothers me the most.”

Even though this jack-of-all-trades resident is planning on staying in

Summit County, it doesn’t mean she’s ready to completely settle down. Her

future goals include attending nursing school and staging a photography show

with her father, local photographer Alden Spilman.

“Photography has always been a hobby of mine,” she said. “I’m definitely a

people photographer more than a nature photographer, and someday I would

like to have a father/daughter show with my dad.”

Her other goal, she said with a laugh, is to become a massage therapist to

the stars.

“I’m working on it,” she said. “I already have one client who would

qualify.”

The best thing about her life, Spilman said, out of all the things she’s

done in the past and all her plans for the future, is her daughter.


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