VHM-2014-2015-lores - page 58

Vail Health
athlete Mike
followed his
wife into rock
climbing and
has since
climbed all
over the
sleep to fit
play in, while
also running
local sports
shot Venture
and being
for rafting through the Grand Canyon, a feat
that typically took recreational paddlers
about three weeks. Brumbaugh’s posse set
out to do it in five days. They put in at the
start of the canyon at 3 a.m. and paddled a
whopping 60 miles downriver from the end
point, not in five days but just four. As far as
he knows, nobody has ever done it faster.
“It was one of those things people
said couldn’t be done,” he says. “We said,
‘all right, let’s go do it.’ It wasn’t a sanc-
tioned race. We just put in, put our heads
down and paddled. The Grand Canyon
is pretty dang easy. It’s just long.”
It is especially long if you are living off of
nothing more than a few Snickers bars.
“We kind of forgot our food,” Brumbaugh
says. “We got to the beach the first night.
I had the stove. I looked at my buddy and
said, ‘OK. Who has the food?’ We all looked
at each other. We just had our snacks. We
ended up poaching food from raft parties.”
It was about that time — after Brumbaugh
put his wedding ring up for collateral for a
supply of food at the end of the river to get
he and his buddies back home — that his
wife first tried rock climbing. Already an
ice climber, Brumbaugh was curious to try
hen mike brumbaugh
to the valley 23 years ago, he
was, like many who land here,
chasing snow. Having grown
up in Florida, the operator of
Avon’s Venture Sports was a
latecomer to skiing, but once he
tasted powder, he was hooked.
“My dad was a teacher and teach-
ers don’t take their kids on ski vaca-
tions. So I literally didn’t see snow be-
fore my freshman year in college.”
Attending Western State College and liv-
ing in Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs,
it wasn’t until Brumbaugh moved to the Vail
Valley that he felt he was in the right place.
“Every mountain town is cool but Vail
is special. Our snow is much more consis-
tent than any other place. We have great
skiing, climbing, biking, golfing … every-
thing. I feel blessed that I ended up here.”
Brumbaugh’s athletic interests morphed
and multiplied along with his years in town.
A skier and cyclist, he added paddling to
the mix as well as a penchant for vigorous
athletic endeavors on very little sleep. It was
one such impulse that possessed he and two
friends to attempt to break the speed record
Venture Sports owner and athlete embodies
the popular slogan better than anyone in town
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