Here’s to Keith Bauer

CB Nordic has named a new Executive Director which means Keith Bauer must be ready to retire from the position.

What a feat that guy pulled off.

Twelve years ago and the lone summer employee at the time, one of Keith’s first decisions was whether to risk purchasing a role of postage stamps or to buy one stamp at a time in order to stay on budget.   The grooming equipment sat outside in the weeds and faded in the sun all year but that seemed O.K. because there weren’t many fully established trails to be groomed.  Nothing was fully established at CB Nordic back then.

Now, most every winter day, two cats roll out of a purpose built barn and buff out fifty five of the most beautiful kilometers in the nordic ski world.  Two dozen or so CB Nordic employees support programs from lessons to yurt dinners to retail sales and service.  A few employees stay on twelve months a year.  It’s become a model of nonprofit community nordic skiing.

Keith endured me as an employee for a season and a half.  It was enough time to observe that what Keith really understood was the place and the people around him.  He realized that the place could be for skiing.  He realized that the people in his community want to be skiers.  It’s one thing to think or talk about those ideas.  It’s another to successfully weave ski trails right into the spaces and fabric of Crested Butte as Keith has done.

In order to understand Keith, ask him how much kids seventeen and under pay to ski or rent gear all season, every season at CB Nordic.  Look at the smile on his face when he answers.  Don’t be distracted by his customary evasive humor.  Persist until he concedes the real answer—it’s free.  He worked all this time to give the gift of skiing away for free.

In retirement, Keith plans to follow his uncanny instinct and keep heading due magnetic West.  He hopes to finally learn how to ski as well as master the vagaries of snowshoeing and fatbiking technique which he studies with zest in his free time.  In the summers, he’ll visit zip lines around the Western U.S.  If he wants long conversations about setting classic track, he’ll come to Boulder to visit me.

Congratulations and good luck to Christie Hicks, the incoming E.D.  She’s inherited one of North America’s best nordic nonprofits.


Matt Muir, BOD BNC