A true Colorado native, I have found my passion and strength in the mountains of this unique and beautiful state. Only now looking back, do I see how the high peaks of the Centennial State have shaped my life. As the first woman to ski all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000 ft peaks in 2010, I developed a kinship with the mountains and the natural world. Experiencing the serenity of the wilderness only made me want to spend more time exploring peaks in the backcountry. This led to finishing skiing Colorado’s 100 highest peaks in 2015 with my husband Ted Mahon and partner Chris Davenport. As the first people to ski these peaks, which are referred to as the ‘Centennial Peaks’, this project earned us a nomination for Adventurer of the Year 2015.
For me, these achievements came only through a lot hard work and perseverance. Never a gifted athlete, I grew up in Denver with a nature appreciating family that passed down to me the wonder and inspiration of enjoying the outdoors, whether it was skiing, hiking, or birding. My love of skiing grew stronger as I finished college at the University of Denver and realized that just being close to the mountains was not enough. I needed to live in the mountains.
Moving to Aspen in 1998, I found my place and as luck would have it, my partner - in the mountains and in life - Ted Mahon. From there we took off to explore every trailhead and peak we could, on foot or skis, in Colorado or around the world. By 2004, I had climbed Colorado’s 14ers and had fallen in love with trail running. I have now completed fourteen Elk Mountain Grand Traverses, 20 ultra marathons including the grueling Wasatch, Leadville, and Bear 100’s, the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim, and the Zion Traverse.
I‘ve had the great opportunity to summit high peaks in South America as well as the 22,500 foot Ama Dablam in the Himalaya, and have skied around the world, including classics such as the Haute Route and the Bugaboos to Rogers Pass Traverse. Between these on-going adventures, I work full-time as the Development Director for the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), working hard to inspire the wonder and appreciation for nature in both children and adults. The mountains have taught me to set goals and push myself to be the person I want to be, both in the backcountry and in life. Which, of course, will always be a work in progress.