Copper Mountain, Dillon and Frisco

So even though he gave up a 6-figure salary, a big house and luxury cars, he made the best out of a horrible situation.

Not sure where we were really, in relation to all we could be seeing, doing, eating and drinking, we left the itinerary up to our local guides.


Dillon:  Part One

An excerpt from Book Four in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Rocky Mountain State.

Recall author David Petersen’s interview about leaving Laguna Beach, California for the higher quality-of-life he found between Pagosa Springs and Durango, Colorado.

It wasn’t the magic of living off the grid that he wrote about in “On the Wild Edge.

It was more about self-reliance than self-sufficiency.

I find self-sufficiency an impossible dream in this modern world.

You can’t get away from it entirely, and frankly, there’s a lot of good stuff there that you don’t want to get away from.

The important thing, no matter where you live, is for a self-directed life, a recognition that by choosing simplicity in whatever ways you can, you reduce your reliance on materialism.

But, over time what he feared about Durango’s development came true.

The big houses, the Humvees, the SUVs, all of that is just the same here and in a way, people are really conspicuous consumers here in the country just like in the city.

In the shorter term, Finnmark would have quite a few “Landed Gentry” towns to choose from.

The first one is the same one we first discussed that connects Parker, Colorado with Austin and Lake Arrowhead.

It shares the neighborhood profile with another famous springs – Steamboat Springs in Colorado, as well. Look, there are connections to some of the better Colorado ski resorts – Breckenridge, Snowmass and Beaver Creek.

He (and you) could consider like-minded resort towns outside of Colorado.

In Utah, look what pops up – Park City and Deer Valley.

Even Sun Valley in Idaho and Incline Village in Nevada.

In each you’d be happy to find others like you:

Ages 35 to 45 and 45 to 64  – these are the knowledge worker profiles — well-educated executives, professionals, and technical white-collar workers.

They prefer to live away from the city.

Most families have more than one income.

So, they’re affluent and enjoy spending money on an active, outdoor recreational lifestyle, and on remodeling their homes – or at least reading about it or watching the cable channels devoted to the homeowner.

Colorado Regions

Where did Finnmark imagine living next, all things being equal?

If he moved he’d probably look in other exurb areas north, northwest and west of Denver.

How did they end up in Dillon?

Parker isn’t that far from the mountains.

Remember, mountains pulled them away from their Chicago suburb.

And, Dillon is in the mountains, duh!

And, for Finnmark a part of his Norwegian DNA probably drove him, right?

Things change.

As a couple, both of them were still relatively happy, until …

Finnmark lost his job like so many others.

In the local Denver job market, the telecom industry resembled a roller coaster of ups and downs.

Working in marketing and business development and product development, like in human resources, meant you weren’t critical to the success of the business.

If you have to cut back, start in those functions.

And, once you’ve turned 50 years old, as we’ve already acknowledged, it’s hard to compete with the “lower priced spread.”

Those eager, techno savvy Millennials.

If the roller coaster finally starts to climb out of its bottom depths.

But when one door closes …

Another door opens.

Though it may be hidden.

He volunteered, networked, and searched for jobs during the week.

But, on the weekends he began doing what he loved.

Teaching others how to ski at Copper Mountain Resort.

He found a job in the medical imaging technologies industry that lasted for about six years.

But didn’t quit doing what he loved on the weekend.

Finnmark wasn’t alone.

Later, when we profile Northstar in Lake Tahoe you’ll discover a 100-day bucket list story.

A 38-year-old landed a host position for the 2009 – 2010 winter season.

Stationed strategically on the mountain, he helped visitors figure out where they wanted to go and how to get there.

It was something he always wanted to do.

Ski the entire season at one of the premier resorts.

Plus he got to ski for free.

And, as it turned out he could do it, because of all the free time he had.

Unfortunately, it was due to the bankruptcy of his real estate business he had built over eight years.

He shared a three bedroom apartment with other roommates to make ends meet.

So even though he gave up a 6-figure salary, a big house and luxury cars, he made the best out of a horrible situation.

Luckily, for Finnmark, his Copper Mountain Resort position lasted more than one season.

He didn’t face such a dire situation.

And he was doing something he always wanted to do.

His ski instructing job gave him stability, when his new job of six years came to an end during the 2012 – 2013 ski season.

But, the long commute between Copper and Parker on certain weekends, similar to the Southern California traffic, got to him.

It could take him a couple of hours or as many as seven in the I-70 winter season congestion  triggered by tourist drivers out of their element and snow-driven accidents.

No one likes Monday mornings.

But, to kick off the work week after one of those commutes?

It’s enough to drain the passion right out of doing what you love to do.

His solution?

Buy a condo and stay for the weekends.

And choose a different day to travel, since Monday morning was no longer a work requirement.

As a couple with no children to complicate matters, they began to wonder.

What’s keeping them from relocating to where they want to really, really live?

They revisited the same process that led from Chicago to Parker.

  • What if?
  • Could they?
  • Should they?
  • Neither one worked for bosses they could respect any longer.
  • So why not?
  • But, how long would it take to sell their Parker home?
  • What about the timing?
  • Maybe not at the peak of the real estate market, but …

And, they felt a major problem might be how steep their driveway was for those frequently icy days and nights.

No problem.

Everything happened faster than they expected.

  • Their new owners told them they should have seen the driveway leading up to their last home.
  • Finnmark’s was child’s play in comparison.
  • Then things became real.
  • The pace quickened.
  • They had to step up their house buying process and pick a neighborhood near enough to Copper Mountain.
  • The clock ticked down to the deadline for moving everything out of Parker so the new owners could take possession.

But to where?

On scouting trips, they stayed in their condo.

Two of Parker’s Wireless Resorter lifestyle profiles, 05F1T1 and more specifically to them, 11Y1T1 match several of Summit County’s Monied ‘Burbs.

Premier Resorts – WRPR

05F1T1 Country Squires 45+ Baby Boomer, Families, Accumulated Wealth, Landed Gentry

And …

Maturing Resorts – WRMR

11Y1T1 God’s Country, 20-44, Couples, Midlife Success, Landed Gentry

Those two, it turns out, matched nicely what they cherished in Parker to what they found  in Summit County – friendly neighbors welcoming them with open arms.

Both profiles show up together in Frisco, and as we’ll see later, in resort towns on the banks surrounding Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada.

Finnmark’s closest lifestyle, 11Y1T1, populates neighborhoods in

They chose Dillon.

With the built up equity from sale of their home they were able to take advantage of local real estate market.

For all intents and purposes, they retired early while doing what they love.

With a rental and long-time renter at Copper Mountain providing a cash flow.

A few days a week in a helping out in a Frisco boutique.

Winter ski instructing.

Summer seasonal temp work – festival and event security – and some construction work.

They earn time off for good behavior while paying their bills without depleting their longterm investments.

That was then.

This was now.

The next day, we dropped off our rental at the local Enterprise office in Silverthorne.

Who knew?

For the first time in rental car history the price of gas per gallon offered by Enterprise turned out to be significantly cheaper than what we could see along the way to Dillon and during our local tour of the mountain communities.

I know!

With that out-of-the-way, and the long drive fading into memory, we were eager to vacate.

We had only one question on our minds, how much can you squeeze in, into one day?

Not sure where we were really, in relation to all we could be seeing, doing, eating and drinking, we left the itinerary up to our local guides.

So, there’s this little restaurant we both love in downtown Breckenridge, so let’s start there.

We like to eat.

He’s driving.

Why not?


(8) Sit down with your spouse, partner or friends and write-up your bucket list of places.

(20) Pivot. Maybe the lists of best places don’t appeal to you. Where can you go to make a fresh, new start? Don’t limit your imagination. Think anywhere — across the globe. Where do you really, really want to live, work and play?  Why not live where it’s a vacation all year round?

(21) Spend the time to find the best places to live and invest. It will be worth your while. The great thing about living where others spend their vacation is the year round quality-of-life. 

Authentic Boomtowns

An authentic boomtown also thrives largely on its local business base, not primarily on commuters. 

Mammoth Lifestyle
Mammoth Lake’s Paul Oster said the town and mountain business community solved many of the issues plaguing most ultra affluent resorts.

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Part Four in a 4-Part Series.

Part One: You

Part Two: Taking Calculated Risks

Part Three: Plug In Dreams

Mammoth Lakes appeals to a healthy mix of residents.

  • The affluent lifestyles are drawn to its quality of life.
  • And, the “immigration nation community” and service workers like lift operators, ski and snowboard instructors, restaurant servers and bartenders.

Mammoth Lake’s Paul Oster said the town and mountain business community solved many of the issues plaguing most ultra affluent resorts.

As the lessons of the Great Recession made clear and evolution of Mammoth’s lifestyles and real estate market illustrate, Dent cautions.

Although smaller boomtowns will exhibit a clear tendency to attract the kinds of businesses that support a specific lifestyle, you want to look for business diversity. 

Winter in Lake Tahoe

Is there a hidden, festering problem that will potentially trigger an economic disaster?

If the area is sustained by one key business, say tourism, and the weather patterns change, as in the cases of Mammoth Lakes and Lake Tahoe, the local economy – your business – and the value of your property will take financial hits.

Isolated small towns, like Silverton, Colorado struggled during its transition from a gold mining town to a tourist town.

Downtown Silverton, Colorado

And the legacy toxic tailings from the area’s gold mining operations and a cyclical history of “blow outs” are gifts that just keep on giving.

But, not in good way.

Just ask Durango, Colorado residents.

And Animas River businesses like “Wet and Wild” devastated by the giant orange sludge flowing through town at the peak of the summer tourist season in 2015.

Yellow Sludge Filled the Animas River Starting in Silverton

How can you prevent those kinds of losses?

Choose wisely.

  • If there are different kinds of businesses in the area, the decline of one is likely to have a more limited effect on property values. 
  • Consider both the short- and the long-term value of your real estate investment when evaluating the local businesses.

You don’t want to keep potentially attractive boomtowns on your bucket list, if like in Santa Barbara, California traffic clogs the main artery.

Santa Barbara Traffic Jams

An authentic boomtown also thrives largely on its local business base, not primarily on commuters. 

This gives the town stability in growth.

It represents the lifestyle it is catering to.

Not simply making it available to people who earn their incomes elsewhere.

It also indicates that this boomtown supports the ideal of a quality lifestyle that offers enough leisure time to enjoy your family, your friends and your new community.

Ask around.

Find out where they live and work.


  • Look at the traffic patterns during rush hour to determine if most people are commuting to a nearby city or suburban area. 
  • If they are, think twice about investing in this boomtown!


(8) Sit down with your spouse, partner or friends and write-up your bucket list of places.

(21) Spend the time to find the best places to live and invest. It will be worth your while. The great thing about living where others spend their vacation is the year round quality-of-life.


Almost any content can be easily categorized by Location, Alphabetical, Time, Category, and finally Hierarchy.”

Following the Mother Road
A Case Study in Progress: Aggregate. Curate. Compose. Share.

One of the features I like with Flipboard is the emphasis on the visual — photos and video – from the media you curate, but delivered uniquely.

They’ve figured out how to flip a page in your smartphone view.

They’ve differentiated themselves as the app that allows you to create “magazines.”

The YouTube boys, when they formed AVOS to reinvent Delicious, tried and failed to grab photos and text scraped from websites you saved into their “Stacks.”

When they discontinued the “Stacks” I had already composed travel itineraries – road trips – throughout western United States organized by regions.

Burned again.

A Corvette. An Open Road. What Could Go Wrong?

Because of the more engaging customer experience on Flipboard, I experimented with “Best West Road Trips” having reconstructed my former Delicious “Stacks” and retraced Route 66 traveling east to west.

The Mother Road ends at the Santa Monica Pier.

Well, not exactly, but the attraction more than makes up for historical inaccuracy.

You can’t drive any further west into the Pacific Ocean.

Hundreds of Dry Parched Miles to the Beaches of the Pacific Ocean

And, when standing at the end of the pier you look at the beaches to your left and right, you realize your next road trip adventure calls you with its siren song.

The iconic, and much more scenic road trip on Pacific Coast Highway.

So, I began curating  the coastal south-to-north route.

Profiling vacation beach towns, missions and piers beginning with Coronado in San Diego, California and terminating with Pacific Northwest towns and destinations like Tumwater and Port Angeles, Washington.

Goin’ Coastal on PCH

But, like the old Delicious “Stacks” you aren’t able to edit as much in your magazines as I wanted.

Except to rename your magazine, pick your magazine cover from a article already included and, in their desktop “editor” mode, rearrange the sequence of your articles.

OK.  I take it back.

Quite a bit more.

But, still not enough for what I wanted.

Other than facing some vexing technical issues, the experiment I’ve been conducting in my “knowledge lab” is to determine how much of a following do my handful of magazines attract.

Is there a Minimum Viable Product in the mix that attracts a large enough audience?

Across my first seven magazines I posted over 1,200 articles, but stopped when Flipboard’s bug prevented me from accessing my very first articles and all but the most recent 75 to 90.

Flipping Through Flipboard’s digital magazines

Why is that a show stopper?

Remember I’m tracing a road trip in sequence.

Living a Coastal Lifestyle

Where North San Diego County meets Trestles, the legendary surf spot at San Onofre, right there on the edge of South Orange County.

Where PCH takes you from San Clemente and Dana Point to Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and so on and so on.

Best Strolling and Surfing Beaches

One town after another up the Pacific Coast.

But, articles and stories appear when reporters, freelancers and travel editors decide.

Some seasonally.

Some randomly.

Nothing like the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara

So if all I have editing access to is 90 of the more recent articles and I’m “in the Central Coast Region” and I post a story about Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone chances are I can drag and drop it exactly where I want it in relation to all the other Santa Barbara articles.

But, if today a writer published a travel article profiling the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego and I want to slide it next to the other Coronado stories in the San Diego itinerary  – 250 articles ago, I can’t.

Coronado Island a Must See in San Diego

I wanted one Flipboard magazine …

“Best West Road Trips – 

“There’s nothing quite as all-American as a road trip, especially in the West, where a wealth of culture, natural beauty and excitement unfolds before you.”


I planned to brand just the Best West Road Trips with repurposed local itineraries later.

So I panicked when at first San Diego was no longer reachable.

Slow recovery.

Best Places to Find Adventure and Just Plain Fun

It took months of rework.

The workaround drove me to many more magazines than I initially planned.

By roughly a year later the number exploded …

  • from seven to 28 magazines,
  • from 1,200 stories to over 13,000 articles and
  • from a handful to 514 followers.

“Fool me once …. fool me twice… mission accomplished.”

But, the promise is enticing.

In Flipboard you can add pictures, tweets, SoundCloud audio and videos.

And you can share your media magazines throughout your social media network.

For all you consultants, freelancers, authors, artists, lifestyle business owners and entrepreneurs, you can instantly create a publication dedicated to building your brand-as-an-expert.

Curate pictures, reviews, the content you publish on your blog, news stories – you name it – everything that helps you create and extend your brand.

You know, public relations …

My own brand is KnowLabs with the tagline

Literally bottled and set adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

For some reason, I keep coming back to Ev Williams, especially more recently having discovered his latest startup — Medium — a visually stunning publishing platform.

Following Ev Williams Blogger to Twitter to Medium

You know him from co-founding Twitter.

I first found him when I began four years of blogging.

Beginning in the spring of 2002 using Blogger created by one of Ev’s first internet companies.

I ended my “Journal of 2020 Foresight” and with my last post in the fall of 2006.

Moonlighting at the time I forced myself to get up before sunrise and search for documents in my knowledge bank.

I’d write and revise my postings for a couple of hours and then post them to Blogger.

I didn’t know anybody else who was blogging.

I didn’t know what I was doing.

Four Years Blogging on Ev’s Startup Platform

And I didn’t know that Ev lost almost everything — including his partners and employees, because he earned no income from the free Blogger tool.

Maybe that’s why he personally answered all my emails …

Google eventually bought his company about nine months after I began my journal.

Desktop Web with Buttons, Links and Search

But, I did know Apple during those Blogger years switched to a new operating system that wasn’t backwards-compatible.

My favorite knowledge banking software – a flat database named Hypercard, a misunderstood forerunner to wikis and what would become the worldwide web – would no longer be available to me.

Thanks, Apple. No Backward Compatibility.

Is there a lesson here?

Two lessons emerged from my “Knowledge Lab” between 2002 to 2006.

My first?

Information Anxiety to Knowledge Resilience

Richard Saul Wurman’s information architectural  made it easier to retrieve content in my knowledge bank.

Remember the acronym, LATCH.

Almost any content can be easily categorized by Location, Alphabetical, Time, Category, and finally Hierarchy.

Which as it turns out is a handy way to tag sources you’ve aggregated.

The second lesson use “instructional design techniques” to convert information into know-how that …

  • solves specific problems,
  • forms standalone blocks or modules of targeted learning, and
  • can be repackaged into a larger curriculum.

More on how the second technique aligns with business models later.

Every consultant and lifestyle business owner wants to turn on streams of income to make up for time when they can’t be billing.

One obvious option for consultants is a book.

When the Great Recession hit in 2008, finding income streams became critical.

I joined a writing support group to translate my “Journal of 2020 Foresight” into a book.

I had just negotiated a 3-year retainer at the University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business conducting workshops and one-on-one advisory sessions.

It took a year to finally self-publish the book so I could include what worked for Executive MBA students – mostly Gen-Xers with 12 to 15 years of experience in their late 30s and early 40s.

As they faced the most hyper-competitive executive job- market they probably would face in their career.

When it was finally published in 2009, I contributed five chapters to

“Adapt! How to Survive and Thrive in the Changing World of Work.” 

We structured the content into three categories; “How We Got Here,” “Wisdom and Strategies,” and “Advanced Career Tactics.”

My chapters were titled:

“It’s Been a Long Road Behind Me and a Long Road Ahead”

“Why Careers Are like Real Estate Markets”

“Leap But Don’t Trade Your Dream for a Nightmare”

“Create Your Dream Job, Save the Planet”

13 Ways to Stay Off the Endangered Species List”

A third lesson took a long time to learn.

I didn’t understand how internet marketing worked or how people supported themselves online.

Between the winter of 2007 and the winter of 2013 — after sunset and before sunrise,  I fell into the black hole of figuring out how to generate income on the Internet — while advising “entrepreneur-wanabes” and desperate career changers by day.

I knew nothing.

I didn’t know enough to even to search for the right resources at first.

And then a fire hose of information hit me.

I lost my bearings trying to separate fact from fiction and scams from trusted advice.

More to follow …

My day job and my moonlit job converged in the fall of 2012.

We already know that LinkedIn is the 100 pound gorilla-platform for professionals.

Not Facebook.

LinkedIn’s Audience

In October 2012 LinkedIn introduced articles from their selection of well-known “Influencers.”

LinkedIn sent 25,000 invitations to users in a pilot rollout.

Today you can compose essays – or share your blog posts — with their new publishing tool found on their website.

Each of your content stories – your opinions, insights, summaries of critical issues – helps build your brand as a thought leader.

Your content resides on your LinkedIn profile for every visitor to read.

Each article is displayed with a catchy photo and your attention-getting headline.

And, more importantly, your article circulates among your first degree audience.

If your articles resonate with that audience, your carefully crafted musings can reach an even broader audience with each “follow” button clicked.

And best of all, you can link your viewers to your blog, website or other social media accounts.

And then, what happens?


(11) Maintain a consistent process of content aggregation, curation, composition, and circulation.

An excerpt from Book Two in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you make more money from a lifestyle businesses you’re truly passionate about.