SNOWMASS VILLAGE - If you haven't run into him in the Village, odds are he has probably passed you on the hill. Standing at an average height and carrying the physique of a personal trainer, calling him a multi-athlete may not hold justice to what he actually brings to the table. At 44 years of age, it isn't unusual to see him kicking the butts of the 22-year-olds - all day, every day - while sporting his old school, straight-brimmed white and blue visor with the word "Sudsy" in all capital letters.
As a mountain biker, hiker, surfer, volleyball player, self-proclaimed mushroom picker and an award-winning professional snowboarder, there isn't a lot Dave Watson hasn't tried and succeeded at in his 17 years living in Snowmass Village.
In an attempt to uncover the man behind the "Sudsy" façade, I talked to Dave about his upbringing, his introduction to snowboarding, world-class competitions and his all-around athletic magnitude.
Snowmass Sun: Have you always been athletic, or was it something you acquired over the years living in the mountains?
Dave Watson: I got a college scholarship for playing football but ended up breaking my neck and could no longer play. I went to school in Santa Barbara and started surfing and playing volleyball, until a friend introduced me to snowboarding on a group trip. I think breaking my neck was probably the best thing that could happen because it pushed me into other sports I probably would have never tried.
SS: If you had to choose a favorite sport, what would it be?
DW: Snowboarding is what I concentrate on most, and I train for it by mountain biking in the summers. Everything is up and everything is down, and biking really helps to improve my stamina and downhill quickness for winters on the board.
SS: What snowboarding competitions have you won, and what goes down in the books as the most memorable ski spot?
DW: I've taken first in the Colorado Freeride Series here in Snowmass three times, and have been on the podium every year but one since 2004. I have also competed and took places in freeride competitions in Utah, New Mexico, Washington, Switzerland, Norway, France, Russia, Austria and Alaska. I would say my favorite is Krasnaya Polyana southwest of Russia, where they have rickety, single-person chairlifts and incredible views.
SS: About how many hours a week do you spend outside? Is there anything other than your outdoor activities that keeps you going?
DW: I probably spend close to 60 hours a week outside. This time of year I'm spending a lot of time looking for mushrooms and biking so I can get ready for the preseason hiking and skiing before the lifts open. There really isn't anything else that keeps me going - exercising and being outdoors is everything.
SS: Has anyone ever told you that you need to grow up? Does your age ever stop you from getting out there?
DW: No one has ever told me I need to grow up, but a lot of people have their doubts and ask me why I've chosen this life. My belief is you are who you are and do what you do to be happy. If I'm not outside exercising on regular basis I'm not happy. Sure I've sacrificed other things for it, but that's what you have to do when you have a passion for something.