From raft guide to snowmaker to The Porches star shuttle driver
If you’ve ever visited The Porches, chances are you have met our shuttle driver Mike. Always quick with a joke and eager to help our owners and guests with anything they need, it’s no wonder he has won us all over during his 6 years as part of our family. With a fascinating background travelling the world as a raft guide, we sat down to talk to Mike about why he decided settle down in Steamboat.
Tell us about yourself:
I grew up in La Grange Park, Illinois and was very active in my youth group; they took me to the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area where I fell in the love with the outdoors. I became very engaged in the outdoors and as a junior in high school, I went to Washington D.C. to lobby for the Boundary Waters Wilderness Bill. From there, I went on to Illinois State where I was involved with the outdoor program and became a canoe trip coordinator. When I was finished with college, I moved to Alaska to be a raft guide.
How did you end up in Steamboat?
While living in Alaska I met some guys that were moving to Steamboat for the winter and they convinced me to come along. The winter of 1985/86 was my first winter here. I ended up with a raft job here in town and this became home. I spent a few winters as a raft guide in Ecuador, but then got a job with the mountain on the trail crew and later became a snowmaker. 6 years ago, I joined The Porches family as a shuttle driver.
What do you love about Steamboat?
I like the climate here. I have great friends and it’s really home. I enjoy going places and saying hi to people, going to the store and saying hi to people. I’ve looked at other small mountain towns while I’ve travelled and they’ve never had the feel of this place.
What activities do you do here in Steamboat?
Everything. I like to ski; I cross country ski right outside of my house. I can also paddleboard right from my house. I enjoy mountain biking and hiking and have recently gotten into backpacking again.
What do you love about The Porches?
The Porches is an extremely high-end property with a totally laid back atmosphere. Our owners are all so friendly and they make each of us on the staff feel like family. It’s been a great place to work. Our team is so wonderful and everyone enjoys working here.
I am always so impressed with Thai Night at Harwigs, the food is so incredible for the money. Mahogany Ridge, of course, is great for happy hour. I love the Ore House for steak and Low Country Kitchen is also one of my favorites. I haven’t really been to a restaurant that I didn’t enjoy; we’re lucky that way.
My favorite hike on the mountain is Creekside, though Elk Head is another wonderful one that goes from the Thunderhead building to the Rainbow Saddle and it’s such a nice trail for anyone to do.
Off the mountain, my favorite hike by far is Mica Lake. Everyone goes to Gilpin Lake, but Mica Lake is just stunning and not as many people go there.
For more information on Mike’s recommendations reach out to The Porches concierge or come visit us this winter to ask him yourself!