Hank Pantier

Pick Your Passion

Hank Pantier
Pick Your Passion

Springtime in the Rockies means multi-sport days

Mud Season. Calving Season. The Vernal Equinox. Bikini Ski Season. Planting season. Mexico. Whatever you want to call it, springtime in the mountains is a time of not-so-subtle transitions. Snowbanks recede, fuzzy blossoms are in bloom, birds return with cheerful song, and water seems to be flowing everywhere. Jackets get thinner, sleeves get shorter, shoes get strappier, and ski gloves and beanies begin their descent into the depths of the closet.

People seem to chat just a little bit longer and smile just a little bit brighter, knowing that they have survived another Rocky mountain winter. Even when winter is relatively mild like the unusual one we had this year, springtime feels like a season earned.

As the snow melts and the sun shines longer, it is also the time of year for ample sporting options. The multitude of choices is enough to make anyone a bit giddy, even downright Dr. Seussian.

Is it a ski day or a hike day?

A snowshoe in the trees day or a fat bike day?

In a mountain town, so much of your identity is linked to your preferred sport. I am often greeted with the phrase, “Oh, you’re the runner, right?”. Sometimes, a person’s recreation of choice becomes a part of their surname or as their primary clarifier. “I’m going to meet Mike for a coffee.” “Oh, Mike the biker or Ultra-Mike?” “No, Mike the Rock Climber.” “Right.”

The activities we choose to pursue outside of the office, away from the house, beyond our to-do list, become our identity. Although many of us enjoy multiple outdoor pursuits, I’m willing to bet if you were forced to choose one, regardless of weather, it would be an easy choice. Personally, I love the adrenaline of mountain biking and the social bonding of snowboarding. But there is nothing more cathartic, relaxing, and invigorating for me than to throw on my muddy trail shoes for a long run in the woods.

With the welcoming warmth, this time of year brings the opportunity to show your true colors and your sincerest dedication. Either by clinging to your kis and pressing glass on the gondola until the very last possible moment, or unearthing your PhD tights for a muddy road ride on pavement. The blue skies, warmer temps and melting snow clear the way for your inner light to shine.

Up the mountain for a skin, then snowboard back down again?

Lace up the running shoes or gear up for a skate ski loop?

Ok, so springtime makes me a bit silly. But you can see the joy and hear the hope in all of the friendly greetings on the trail. On a recent bluebird day hike, I saw my neighbors participating in every sport imaginable: fat biking, skate skiing, snowshoeing, running, hiking, snowboarding, road biking, and there was even a man on a horse. Even the kayakers have begun to dip their paddles into the rushing river. My heart filled with gratitude for the amazing choices we have and our ability to enjoy the mountains in so many different ways.