1. Austin Porzak
Scrolling through Austin’s Instagram feed brings #skiporn to a whole new level. Check out videos of him hucking ridiculous cliff bands in East Vail or photos of global ski-mountaineering expeditions to the Matterhorn and Antarctica. In early June, Austin completed an eight-year quest to ski all 58 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains. And perhaps craziest of all, in March, after waiting nearly five years for ideal snow conditions, he notched the first known ski descent of First Flatiron in Boulder.
2. Sonya Looney
In the last 2 weeks when I was out of town, winter snuck in!! Trails are still good to go! Glasses are AntiFog by @ryderseyewear! No tears (at least not from the cold air(hehe) or fog) 😎AND the best piece of clothing in my drawer- @castellicycling Gabba jersey. #snowsnowsnow #ridebikes #herecomeswinter
Sonya lives in Boulder and is crushing it on the endurance mountain biking scene. She recently won at the World Endurance Mountain Bike Organization (WEMBO) 24 Hour World Championships in October. She’s at her best on long and lonely endurance rides through the middle of the night that require just as much mental discipline as physical ability.
3. Josiah Middaugh
Josiah is a triathlete from Vail who won the XTERRA US Pro Series Championship in September. He followed that up the next month by taking home his first ever win in the XTERRA World Title in Maui. If these acronyms and race names confuse you, that simply means he’s the best triathlete in the world.
4. Mikaela Shiffrin
Mikaela has won alpine skiing Olympic gold (in Sochi) and has topped the podium in the slalom at the FIS Alpine World Championship in front of a batshit-crazy home crowd on the slopes at Beaver Creek in February.
5. Tommy Caldwell
Two words: Dawn Wall. Okay, for those not in the know Tommy became one of two people (the other was Kevin Jorgensen) to make the first successful free ascent of Yosemite’s Dawn Wall. They spent 19 days climbing 3,000 vertical feet. It’s considered by many as the most difficult ascent in climbing history.
6. Alex Nichols
Running is an adventure sport? Yes, especially if it includes 20,000 feet of elevation gain over 50 miles of trails in the French Alps. That’s the course that Alex Nichols of Colorado Springs crushed on his way to a win against the world’s elite mountain runners at the Mont Blanc Marathon 80K in June. In August, he followed that up with his first win at the Pikes Peak Marathon, a 26-mile quad-crusher from the base of Pikes Peak to the 14,115’ summit and back.
7. Megan Mascarenas
Yesterday was awesome! Watched some true crushing go down, then tried my luck at defying gravity-never made it an inch past the start hold, but it was still fun!! Great day all around!! Photo cred and the crushing goes to @a.geiman and @alexis_mascarenas #bouldering #steep #climbing #perfectweather #outdoors #notdefyinggravity #hadablast #peanutbutterpowered #verve #belikos #frictionlabs @madrockclimbing @volxusa
It’s been a pretty solid year for this sport climber from Colorado Springs. In June, she won the IFCS World Cup comp in front of a Colorado crowd at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail. Then in August, she took third at another IFCS event in Germany. She’s currently the 5th ranked female sport climber in the world. Oh, and next year, she’ll graduate high school.
8. Renan Ozturk
Because Meru. And because sometimes people forget that in order to make movies about climbing mountains, you actually have to climb those mountains, pushing your body and mind to utter exhaustion then still having the drive to get out the camera, manipulating tiny buttons with frozen fingers and capturing the beauty and the drama of the pursuit.
9. Katie Compton
Katie lives in Colorado Springs and is the number one female cyclocross racer in the world. Cyclocross is what you get if you throw road and mountain biking in a blender with steeplechase and a bunch of mud to make a smoothie of two-wheeled badassery. If that weren’t enough she also has a gold medal from the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens for being the sighted team “pilot” on a tandem bike with blind cyclist Karissa Whitsell providing power in the rear.
10. Jon Kedrowski
Jon is a ski-mountaineer and adventurer whose list of accomplishments include summits of Everest, Denali, and Aconcagua; ski descents of Pacific volcanoes; and a whole lot of other things that make the rest of us look pretty damn lazy. He’s the first person to spend the night on the summit of all of Colorado’s 14ers and documented his efforts in the best-selling book Sleeping on Summits. In 2016, he’ll follow that up with a sequel called Skiing and Sleeping on the Summits: Cascade Volcanoes and embark on a super-secret project to push the boundaries of skiing Colorado’s high peaks. Stay tuned.
11. Kim Dobson
This mountain runner from Grand Junction destroyed the female competition (and most of the males, this author included) at the Pikes Peak Ascent in August, finishing nearly 11 minutes faster than the 2nd place female in the grueling half marathon that climbs over 7,800 ft. up the slopes of Pikes Peak. She “recovered” the very next morning by competing in the Marathon on the same course, which turns around at the summit and heads right back down. She finished third and was the top female “doubler” — meaning she had the fastest combined time for Saturday’s Ascent and Sunday’s Marathon.
12. Jesse Jakomait
This Colorado Springs rider is not exactly a household name, but that’s because most members of your household probably don’t spend days at a time hallucinating on a bike deep in the mountains, carrying saddlebags full of gear and sleeping only an hour a night. That’s what Jesse did for 3 days, 20 hours and 12 minutes in July while winning and setting a course record at the Colorado Trail Race, which asks riders to pedal a punishing mountainous course from the Denver suburbs to Durango, a distance of 500 miles with an obscene elevation gain of 70,000 feet.
Twitter/Instagram: Too busy riding bicycles to waste time on social media.
13. Alan Arnette
This Northern Colorado resident who’s approaching 60 proves that the young pups aren’t the only ones having fun. In July 2014, at age 58, he became the oldest American to summit K2. Rather than slow down, he’s embarking on an ambitious climbing endeavor called Project 8000. Over the next five years, Alan plans to climb the remaining 8000 meter peaks that he has not yet summited — all for the worthy cause of funding Alzheimer research, a personal passion given the disease took his mother in 2009.
14. Joe Gray
A runner with a long history of success on the road, Joe Gray, of Colorado Springs, has been racking up the accomplishments on the mountain running circuit lately. He was awarded Men’s Mountain Runner of the Year by the US Mountain Running Team then finished third in their national championship in July with wins at the Spring Runoff 10K at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail and a new American record at the Mt. Washington Road Race. To round out the season, on a random morning in September, he busted out a fastest known time of 17:45 on the Manitou Incline — a 0.9 mile former cog railway bed with an average grade of 40%.
15. Michael Steinman
I can't help but indulge in a couple selfies when I'm out with my girl. Cottonwood Peak, Sangre de Cristo mountains, Colorado. #summitselfie #selfie @acli_mate @stonebrewingco #acli_mate #saluki #salukisofinstagram #dogsofinstagram #mountaindogs #snow #mountaineering #skimountaineering #skiing #Colorado #sangredecristo #cottonwoodpeak #ski #mountain #Backcountry #backcountryskiing
This ski mountaineer from Manitou Springs must have decided that skiing all of Colorado’s 14ers was too simple, because after finishing those in June, he moved right onto his next project of skiing them all solo. In Spring 2015, he took advantage of a huge snow year to ski 19 different lines on Pikes Peak, including one epic run that started from the roof of the summit house and ended 7,500 vertical feet later in downtown Manitou.