Amy Satkiewicz honors her husband’s legacy through Dirt to Snow fund, celebration of life
A smile dances across Amy Satkiewicz’s face as she talks about the adventures, life and love she shared with her late husband, Mark.
“’One foot in front of the other’ was kind of my motto this year, and then with the girls, I think the other big thing is we always gave ourselves grace … honor the feelings, and if you’re sad, be sad.” Amy said. “I feel like when you have moments of joy, take them and fill your cup, because you’re going to need them when it’s hard.”
Mark Satkiewicz died Aug. 1, 2020, after he suffered a cardiac incident while cycling with friends. He was 51.
Mark was a fixture at Smartwool for 11 years. He served as vice president of sales from 2007 to 2009 and as president from 2009 to 2018 before leaving to take a position as general manager with TOMS shoes. He stayed with that company for a year before retiring and choosing to leave California and return to Steamboat Springs — the place he considered home. It was a decision he made with Amy, and she said he welcomed the chance to play an even greater role in the lives of their daughters — Olivia, who is now 20, and Mia, 14. He was also excited for Amy to have the opportunity to pursue her own career with Nike.
“We flipped roles, which was just crazy,” Amy said. “He literally did the grocery shopping, ran me around and did all these things. He was amazing.
“He wanted the girls to see a female excel in the business world,” Amy explained. “He would say, ‘You were at home with them when I was doing my thing, and now, it’s your turn.’”
It had always been Mark’s goal to retire at 50, but it didn’t mean slowing down. He focused on his family and also found time to follow his passions, which included chasing goals on the back of his bike and co-founding the popular SBT GRVL bike race.
Amy said she was left in a fog following Mark’s death but held onto what was most important — her daughters.
“She just makes choices where her family is number one,” longtime family friend Blair Seymour said. “She stopped working because she needs to be there for her family, and if she needs to cancel something because Mia or Olivia needs her, she will cancel it, because she has put her family first.”
Olivia, a sophomore honors student at Texas Christian University, is studying fashion merchandising and is part of the school’s entrepreneurship program.
Robin Hall, a family friend who worked with Mark at Smartwool, recently co-founded Town Hall, a children’s outdoor clothing company, and she offered Olivia an internship with the fledgling business this summer.
“Olivia’s amazing,” Hall said. “She’s focused, she’s creative, she is passionate about fashion and design, and she’s curious. All of that blends together and works out perfectly.”
Hall said Olivia has been instrumental in helping Town Hall define and develop their color stories and themes as the company looks to become Steamboat’s next success story.
“She just has this beautiful combination of her mom’s and dad’s brains, where she’s got the leadership and the research aspect and the creativity, as well,” Hall said. “So it’s been really, really neat working with her. … She’s top notch. Of course, it really highlights how much joy I got out of working with her dad.”
In addition to the internship, Olivia pulled out her grandmother’s sewing machine and started her own fashion brand, Design by Liv, during COVID-19 quarantine. Amy said Mark offered his advice and encouraged his oldest daughter to find ways to market and sell her creations through Instagram and other online outlets.
“Mark was just always encouraging to both girls — whether it was skiing with Mia or Olivia with design. He inspired her to start selling and to create Design by Liv, and she really did well this whole year selling through those platforms,” Amy said. “I think, for her, the sad moments were the times when she would have been calling her dad and asking for his insight.”
Mia wrapped up her final year at Steamboat Springs Middle School and shifted her focus to freestyle skiing and training. She shared a love of athletics, and skiing in particular, with her father. At first, she said it was difficult to go free skiing with friends and other family, but she said training for competitions gave her strength.
“I wasn’t going to ski this year, but Bobby (Aldighieri) texted me and told me to come to a dryland training, and I ended up staying the whole winter,” Mia said. “I definitely just trained really, really hard when I was on the mountain, because it took my mind off of things. But there are times when it’s hard. He was the one I wanted to talk to when I would do something cool, like when I started flipping or something like that.”
“I think sports have been a good distraction for her,” said Aldighieri, who directs the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s freestyle programs. “She’s a super-focused individual, and so I think that’s been a nice part of it for her because she can just put everything away and just be focused on the sport and getting better. She is one of the hardest-working athletes we’ve got, and I also think teammates have been really supportive, and that’s a nice part of it as well.”
To focus on her girls, Amy resigned from her position with JR286, a premier global sports equipment and accessory company that designs, develops, sources and commercializes products in over 160 countries. In time, Amy said she’ll return to her career.
“I read something, and it really made sense to me — that a resilient person is more often a hopeful person,” Amy said. “For me, I just knew there were bigger things beyond me. So when I put all that together, like resiliency and some hope and then spirituality, it helped me process and just move forward. And again, I’m not perfect, and I’m going to have bad days, and that’s OK.”
Due to the pandemic, the family held a small memorial service for Mark in August, but this week, Amy hopes to bring the community together to honor her husband with a celebration of life from 5 to 7 p.m. at Memorial Park.
The family has also created the Dirt to Snow Mark Satkiewicz Legacy Fund, which Amy said provides funding to support bike and snow sports programs and equipment for Routt County youth. Its aim is to continue Mark’s quest for inclusivity by removing barriers and making these sports accessible to all kids.
This year, the legacy fund provided strider bikes for the All Kids Bike Learn-to-Ride programs in North Routt, South Routt and Hayden. The fund also worked with the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs to provide an opportunity for kids to take part in summer programs through the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
Amy recalls how Mark was able to get a bike for a young athlete who wanted to be a part of the high school mountain biking team, and she remembers the joy and excitement that brought him.
“He just felt like there should never be a kid that wants to do a sport but can’t because they can’t afford it,” Amy said. “So I’m trying to keep that spirit alive.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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