Balanced Life: A Look at How Colorado Business People Get Re-Energized in the Outdoors

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It’s no secret that Colorado is a popular place to be if you love to be outdoors. It’s consistently recognized as the fittest state in the country, and was ranked 4th in Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index in 2016 (Colorado has been in the top 10 for the past eight years). With developed trails rarely more than a few minutes away and decent weather practically year-round, it’s hard to find a reason to not get outside. Which is good news, because studies have shown that spending time in nature can make you more creative, more focused, and less stressed‑all of which can make you better at your job.

For Nick Cerratani, owner of Cerratani Aviation Group, Colorado has always been his top choice for where to work (and play). "I came to Boulder in 1983 on a rock climbing trip, and the first sight of Boulder Valley affected me in the same way as my first flight-I immediately knew I would live here someday. It took me a while, but … Boulder was the only option on my list." Cerratani believes that spending time on the trail makes him both a better father and a better boss. And when you’re based in a place like Boulder, Colorado, you don’t even have to encourage your staff to get outside. “Living in Boulder provides a good deal of impetus for outdoor activities and our employees don't need much encouragement to take advantage of what this area has to offer,” he says.

It’s in the Culture

The guys at FastG8 work hard, but always make time to get outside.

The guys at FastG8 work hard, but always make time to get outside.

Tyler Moebius

You could say that the outdoors lifestyle is ingrained in the culture of many businesses based here, so much so that Outside magazine listed 36 Colorado companies in its annual 100 Best Places to Work roundup. And they aren’t all your typical "outdoor gear" companies, either.

Take the #1 company on the list, Forum Phi, for example. This architecture firm based in Aspen offers discounted ski passes and gym memberships, and once a quarter they do something outdoors together as a team. TDA Boulder (#37 on the list) is an independent ad agency that has paid for employee race registrations, provided a fitness stipend, and encouraged employees to climb 14ers with the promise of donating $1,000 to charity if they bring back photo proof.

For many companies in Colorado, like digital marketing firm FastG8, getting outside as a team is an important part of the day. During lunch breaks, the guys at FastG8 will go for a road bike ride, a mountain bike ride, or get in a couple ski runs before the afternoon’s workload. They are usually training for an event together, and CEO Tyler Moebius jokingly says that their motto is "a team that suffers together stays together."

It’s Easy

With so much world-class skiing in the Rockies, many Colorado employers offer powder days, or discounted ski passes.

With so much world-class skiing in the Rockies, many Colorado employers offer powder days, or discounted ski passes.

Aspen/Snowmass

Colorado has some of the most easily accessible outdoor opportunities in the United States. You can run or bike on the multi-use trail systems in and around the major cities year-round, but that is just scratching the surface.

With 58 peaks over 14,000 feet and the 486-mile Colorado Trail, nearly everyone is lacing up their hiking boots when the warm weather comes. Colorado might not have an ocean, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of waterways just waiting to be explored. The mighty Arkansas and Cache la Poudre Rivers are known for white water rafting, Boulder Creek and the Platte in downtown Denver are perfect for tubing, and stand up paddleboarders love the wide Yampa River in Steamboat Springs (just to name a few).

The ski slopes that are so popular in the winter are a sweet challenge for downhill mountain bikers in the summer, too, with ski lifts serving as bike lifts.

But of course, people from around the world come to ski and snowboard the slopes of the Rockies. The 22 resorts across the state have a total of 1,803 trails and average 300 inches of snowfall—not to mention all the backcountry routes, the cross-country skiing, and the snowshoeing in and around the resorts.

In short, there is never a shortage of outdoor activities in the Centennial State, regardless of what season it may be. Many of these activities are close enough to cities or towns that it’s easy to get a little fresh air before work, during your lunch break, or even after work. More and more employers are realizing the value of their employees’ health and well-being, and Colorado-based companies are at the forefront of the work/life balance movement.

Written by Abbie Mood for RootsRated in partnership with Choose Colorado.

Featured image provided by Michael W Murphy