Pat's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Destination Unknown

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Aspen, CO

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 1

  • ON DVD:

PAT O'DONNELL

CEO
Aspen Skiing Company

“I get excited because I'm passionate about life, I really am. It can be so good; it can be so good.”

INTERESTS:

Action Sports Entrepreneurship

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Choices Courage Desire Experience Family Fear Instincts Money & Financial Security Passion Risk Self-Reflection Struggle Values Transitions Education Individualism Exploration

FOUNDATION:

Being Physically Active

TAGS:

avalanche, business, Colorado, death, engineering, escape, frustration, henry david thoreau, Keystone mountains, loss, mountain climbing, outcome, reflection, rock climbing, sailing, seeing the light, ski resort, what if, Yosemite, Yosemite National Park

BIOGRAPHY:

  • By the age of 27, he knew he wasn't meant for a 9-to-5 job; he took a climbing trip to Yosemite and realized he'd found his passion.
  • Took a job in Yosemite as a bellman, which only paid ninety cents an hour, but allowed him to climb for six hours each day.
  • He was so content that he feared he'd become "like Rip Van Winkle" and wake up in the same place thirty years later without having progressed.
  • Forced himself to leave; took a job in Lake Tahoe, where he helped build the Kirkwood ski area.
  • His exceptional work in Lake Tahoe got him a job as chief operating officer in charge of ski operations at Keystone resort in Colorado.
  • The perk about his job was that it allowed him to pursue passion, which had graduated into Himalayan climbing.
  • After an avalanche killed three of his best friends, Pat came home, quit his job, cashed out everything he had, bought a sailboat, and sailed away.
  • He spent a year and a half unwinding and processing his grief, then came back to dry land, where he's now the CEO of Aspen Skiing Company.

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