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Instilling Adventure

BY Oliver Sharpe | March 18, 2019 | Feature Features

These Aspen families are proving that having kids doesn't mean exploring is over—it's just time to start living.
The Newhards on a via ferrata in the Dolomites.

Aspen attracts an eclectic mix of outdoor enthusiasts who test their limits in the mountains with their friends—and families. Amateur athletes and professional thrill-seekers alike have connected here with kindred, sporty spirits, all using our beautiful box canyon as a perpetual smile generator and training ground for their next adventure. Many have put down roots in the valley and started families of their own, giving rise to the next generation of adventurers being shaped by the Aspen landscape. Rather than slowing down, these couples are roping in with their kids, proving that parenthood is only part of the adventure.

In fact, Lee Keating and Tommy Bowers set a standard. For them, not traveling was never an option. Bowers circled the globe racing on the World Cup Ski Racing circuit, and, when the kids were born, it was only natural for the couple to include them on their adventures. “It made them more thrilling and fun,” says Keating, designer and curator of their Authier ski collection, which is sold at their store, Performance Ski. She ascribes to the romantic ideals of aesthetic beauty and nature as nurturing and empowering forces in life. “Nature and the outdoors open our minds to an alternative way of thinking and endless possibilities,” she says. These days, now that the kids are in high school and college, the family spends five months of the year chasing waves on a surf safari with stops in Hawaii, New Zealand, Indonesia and Fiji. Their time on Sumba Island, Indonesia, where the local stoke is infectious, stands out to Keating: “The coolest thing—that we didn’t plan—is that travel teaches respect: respect for other people, other cultures and other ideas.”

The Newhards have figured it out too. Penn Newhard married into an Aspen family that always put a premium on adventure. He and his wife, Kir, hiked Mount Sopris with their firstborn son when he was 6 days old and never looked back. For Penn, it’s the people of Aspen that make the place special. “For sure, adventure is right outside our doorstep, but the physical elements are not the payoff, “ he contends. “The true benefit is the shared experiences and friendships that are built through the adventures.” With kids ranging from elementary school through college, there are plenty of adventures still to come—experiences that Penn hopes instill the importance of goal setting and self-reliance. The youngest Newhard, 11-year-old Teagan, is already bagging peaks herself, including 14,014-foot North Maroon Peak this summer. “My wife and I want to raise good kids who do things for the right reasons and not just the appearances,” says Penn. “We want them to think and be accountable to themselves. Adventure inherently takes you away from the grid, where no one is watching. Then, when something goes wrong the real fun begins.”

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