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. 

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