Super Seniors: Pete Wither is still breaking trail
Editor’s note: The Steamboat Pilot & Today asked readers to tell us about their favorite seniors over the age of 75 and then we asked these Super Seniors to share their secrets to living a long and healthy life.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Colorado Group Realty broker/owner Pete Wither turns 76 this October, and on his special day, you’ll likely find him ahead of you on the trail mountain biking Emerald Mountain and later golfing or fly-fishing the Yampa.
“Oh absolutely,” said the spry septuagenarian. “On your birthday, you have to schedule even more time for yourself. Maybe three sports.”
Not that his birthday is more special than any other day for him. His secret to aging while still getting after it, and kicking the butts of younger folks brave enough to tag along, is making sure to carve out a little “me time” in the midst of everything else life throws at you.
“You have to schedule yourself in and make time for you,” he said. “Otherwise, you won’t get it done.”
Wither has done that plenty during his 70-plus years in the Yampa Valley. While his grandfather came to Steamboat in the 1880s, Wither was born in Denver and moved here in 1945 at the ripe age of 3.
“I’ve lived here most of my life,” he said, “so I know the area pretty well.”
After high school, Wither attended college at Western State in Gunnison and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, attending school in the fall and spring while working on ski patrol at Winter Park during the winters. After serving in Vietnam, he returned home and married his wife, Barbi. Then his ski coach — none other than Gordy Wren, who was managing Steamboat Resort at the time — called and asked him if he wanted to help ski patrol transition from a volunteer to professional program. He agreed at the drop of his ski hat, working patrol from 1968 to 1983 and becoming its director until 1998.
During that time, he also served on Steamboat Springs City Council from 1983 to 1991, chaired the city’s Parks and Recreation committee for five years, sat on the Tread of Pioneers board for six years, the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps board for four years, the Routt County Riders board for eight years, and the Museum and Heritage Fund board for the past 15 years. He also helped pioneer and design many of the resort’s mountain bike trails, including his namesake Pete’s Wicked trail, still in use today. He also received the Leckenby Pioneer Award, recognizing his community and youth involvement.
Along with his 20-year role at Colorado Group Realty and grandparenting duties to his children Tiffany and Scott’s three kids, you’d think he’d be hard pressed to practice what he preaches about fitting it all in, but he does.
“For his entire life, he’s had the perspective of ‘Get busy living or get busy dying,’” his son and business partner Scott Wither said. “He truly enjoys living life to the fullest. All his activities are all his passions that keep him enjoying the Steamboat lifestyle.”
Scott added that his dad has his rose-tinted sunglasses on whenever he’s out adventuring.
“Below zero and super windy ski day? He’ll come into the office after being one of the first on the gondola and say, ‘A little cold out there, but the snow was amazing!’ or “Try the Triangle trees. They’re nicely wind blown, and it all filled in last night.’ And those are on days that I’d never even think of going up there.”
It’s in his genes, Scott added, relating the story of when Pete’s dad, Bob Wither, had leukemia and was receiving blood transfusions, but still skied.
“The last time he couldn’t make it down Vagabond, he decided he didn’t want more transfusions and passed away soon thereafter,” he said. “This passion for living life fully personifies him. It wouldn’t surprise me that, if he ever gets to the point of not being able to do the things he loves, he’ll be ready for the next adventure.”
That’s likely still a long ways off, with Pete crediting his family, giving back to the community and “everything in moderation” as keys to a long, healthy and happy life.
“You just have to find a way,” he said. “I’ve realized that you can only do two sports well at any given time. You can do more, but you won’t be as good at them. So, in the summer, it’s biking and golf for me, fitting fishing and hiking in on the side.”
“The key,” he added, “is making time for yourself.”
To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com
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