I was at the ski boot fitter the other day, and a guy brought in a pair of skis to be tuned. As he was describing what he wanted done, he mentioned that the skis were part of his “quiver.” I thought to myself, only in Colorado… I’m guessing most people think of a quiver in the literal sense as in a quiver of arrows for someone shooting with a bow and arrow. But here in Colorado, especially in Boulder and Nederland, a quiver refers to your numerous sets of skis, bikes, whatever else you might have. I remember hearing early on a joke about how outdoor-crazy the Boulder area is. Normally, when people get together at a party and you are making polite conversation, you ask “And what do you do?” Anywhere else in the country, this is normally in reference to your career or job. But the joke is, when someone asks you that here, they are referring to what outdoor activities or sports are you involved in. That’s why we get so many transplants in that area — most are pursuing the 300 days of sunshine and the opportunities Colorado provides for sports and recreation. Boulder County (including Nederland) is home to some of the top athletes in the world, including triathletes, runners, and bicyclists. But the rest of us stay plenty active too, even if we aren’t pursuing Olympic gold medals. On any given weekend, the parking areas are filled with hikers, mountain bikers, climbers. Winter is no different when the winter parking areas for the mountain trailheads like Brainard Lake, East Portal, and Eldora are packed with snowshoers, backcountry skiers, and even ice climbers.
Bryon and I of course are no different. At some point, you have to be somewhat selective about your “toys”, because there simply isn’t enough time during the day to pursue all the activities available in this area. I think we have limited our summer activities to mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, and our winter activities to some sort of skiing with a little snowshoeing mixed in. When Bryon and I married, not only did we merge our households, but we merged our outdoor gear — we found between the two of us, that we had six different tents. We have so many different types of outdoor gear — tents, packs, skis, helmets, poles — that it literally took over our office/study area to the point of disarray. I finally ended up organizing an entire closet of sports gear, dubbing it the Sports Closet to make some semblance of sanity out of all that stuff.
When I think about the focus of my own life, I realize how important staying active outside is to me, and to my own mental health. I now think more about how a potential job will work with my pursuit of skiing and hiking, more than just taking a job. And I realize, I’d rather work a more low-key job that allows me more time on the trails and the slopes, than get paid more, but play less. Apparently, here in Colorado, I’m not alone, as more and more businesses offer flex schedules, “Powder” days, and work-life balance options for their employees as a key perk. Getting more time to play is a big reason so many move here from other places, and is an important part of life here in the Rocky Mountains.