Instilling Adventure

These Aspen families are proving that having kids doesn't mean exploring is over—it's just time to start living. Aspen Magazine


The Newhards on a via ferrata in the Dolomites. (Courtesy P. Newhard)

Aspen has always attracted an eclectic mix of outdoor enthusiasts driven by a desire to test their limits in the mountains and have fun with their friends. Amateur athletes and professional thrill-seekers alike have connected here with kindred, sporty spirits that use 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 the next generation of adventurers being shaped by the Aspen landscape. Rather than take an edge off, they have embraced parenthood as an adventure unto itself and are sharing their knowledge and experience with their families.


For Lee Keating and Tommy Bowers, not traveling was never an option. Tom circled the globe racing on the World Cup 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 Lee, a fashion designer and style curator who 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, the family spends 6 months of the year chasing waves on a surf safari with stops in Hawai’i, New Zealand, Indonesia and Fiji. Their time on Sumba Island, Indonesia, where the local stoke is infectious, stands out to Lee, “The coolest thing—that we didn’t plan—is that travel teaches respect. Respect for other people, other cultures and other ideas.”


When it comes to moving fast in the mountains, it’s difficult to keep up with Jessie Young and Max Taam. The couple, both of whom represent the United States on the National Ski Mountaineering Team, haven’t let the addition of a son this year slow them down. In fact, young Ryder has already hiked the Kumano Kodō route in Japan, a sacred pilgrimage once reserved for emperors and samurai (who were probably a bit older and presumably not being carried by their parents in an ErgoBaby). Max is thrilled to be raising Ryder in Aspen where, “getting outside is so ingrained in our culture and something that everyone values. The norm is to not just do one, but multiple adventures every day!” Along with Jessie he hopes to, “provide Ryder with the skill set that allows him to come up with new creative adventures both locally and around the world.”


Penn Newhard married into an Aspen family that always put a premium on adventure. He and his wife, Kir, hiked Mt. 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 teaches them the importance of goal setting and self-reliance. The youngest Newhard, 10-year-old Teagan, is already bagging peaks herself, having summited 14,014’ 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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