Christy Mahon, formerly known as Christy Sauer, has been tackling fourteeners for the last 10 years or so. This past Sunday, she completed skiing all of the Colorado fourteeners, becoming the first woman to do so.
Christy and I met back in 2008 when we skied Culebra together, along with Frank, Ted Mahon, and Jordan White.
At that time, Christy was well on her way to skiing most of Colorado’s fourteeners, many of which can be viewed on Ted Mahon’s blog. But, in the past year, Christy has been keeping her fourteener accomplishments non-publicized, which has caused some controversy. However, in a personal e-mail she wrote to me regarding this, Christy stated she just didn’t want the added pressure that comes from publishing her fourteeners. Still, long before all of this came to light, I started seeing her name on some of the registers this year, and I knew Christy was about to finish. So, it wasn’t a surprise when word started to spread in the last couple of weeks about Christy skiing Pyramid, leaving one last final peak- Capitol. Her accomplishments came to fruition on Sunday, and Christy became the first woman to ski all of Colorado’s fourteeners. Congratulations Christy!
Many people have asked me how I feel about all of this. Didn’t I want to be the first woman to ski all the Colorado fourteeners? Here’s my answer. Of course I am saddened by the fact that I will not be the first woman. But, I cannot let that deter me. When I initially set my fourteener goals, I wanted to get them done within 5 years. My goal was to ski them all, and ski them all safely. I knew other women were probably out there pursuing the same goal, but I didn’t know who they were at the time. I also knew that there was a high likelihood I would not be the first woman to ski them all. When I began my fourteener project, I told myself that being first would be the icing on the cake. But, finishing them all, and finishing them safely, was most important.
I am a firm believer that when setting goals, you can’t base your goals around the performance of other people. In setting a goal to be first, you are setting a goal around what other people achieve or don’t achieve. Good goal-setting focuses on what YOU can achieve. And I believed I could achieve skiing all the fourteeners in five years. This continues to be my goal.
When I started this project, I really never thought I would be the first woman to ski all the fourteeners. However, at the end of 2008, I found myself ahead of Christy and Pam Rice (a friend and fellow fourteener-skiing woman), with only 9 peaks left. Of course this boosted my confidence, but I knew I still had some of Colorado’s hardest peaks ahead, like Pyramid and Capitol. When I tore my ACL in February of 2009, I basically resigned myself to the fact that I would not likely be the first women, as I had to sit out the entire fourteener season, letting my knee recover from reconstructive surgery. Christy and Pam had the entire spring to jump ahead of me. While Pam decided to wait on the sidelines, foregoing a year of fourteener skiing, Christy took this opportunity to her advantage, jumping ahead of both Pam and I.
Some people have mentioned that I might have become the first woman to ski the fourteeners had I not torn my ACL last year. This might have been the case. But, nothing can ever be certain. Though physically weakening me, tearing my ACL also caused me to build my mental strength which I know has helped me on some peaks this year. Aside from that, I formed new friendships with people who were also undergoing the same recovery. The time I was forced to spend away from skiing, opened professional opportunities for me that would have otherwise not occurred. So, I suppose I will go ahead and say it- although tearing my ACL may have caused me to not be the first woman to ski all the fourteeers, I wouldn’t go back and change anything. I’ve had more positive things come out of tearing my ACL than negative (well, minus the $10,000 in medical bills ).
So, my sincerest congratulations goes out to Christy and her job well done. Keep on charging, lady!