Where are they now: Aspen High School graduate Tae Westcott
Editor’s note: “Where Are They Now?” is a monthly series that tracks former Aspen students and their accomplishments. The series publishes in The Aspen Times and, when relevant, in the Snowmass Sun.
Aspen High School alumnus Tae Westcott documents his colorful, unconventional life with the hashtag #taeslife on social media because there isn’t such a thing as a “typical day” in the world according to Tae.
In Westcott’s world, every day involves a new adventure, and that’s the way he likes it.
“He just does life differently than other people,” said his younger sister, Claire, who works as a chef in Denver.
“I think more people would be happy if they lived life like him, including myself,” she said with a laugh.
Born in South Korea, Westcott was adopted at the age of 4 months and grew up in Snowmass with the Elk Mountains as his playground.
Westcott snowboarded as a child and all throughout middle school but decided to try skiing during his freshman year of high school per his friends’ suggestion that “it would be fun.”
Turned out he had a knack for the sport.
“I picked it up pretty quickly,” he said. “From then on, pretty much I started competing sophomore year of high school and I started winning, so I started getting massive sponsors from that.”
Today — 16 years later — Aspen Skiing Co., Obermeyer, Fischer Sports, Roaring Lion Energy Drink and Smith Optics all sponsor Westcott, who said he has recently “taken a huge step back” in competing professionally.
“I used to travel a lot more for competitions and stuff when I was younger,” said Westcott, who will be 31 in September. “I’m just having fun with it right now.”
Westcott also works at Four Mountain Sports in Snowmass, which operates as a ski and snowboard store throughout the winter season and as a bike shop during the summer.
For the past three winters, Westcott also has coached 8- to 10-year-olds through Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club.
“I thought coaching would be a really good idea to pass on what I’ve built up over the years,” Westcott said. “Skiing is amazing, so if I can help other people get the joy I get from skiing, that’s all I can ask for.”
When Westcott isn’t skiing, coaching or seeking his next adventure locally, he seizes any opportunity to see the world.
“Aspen is such a unique place because you get two offseasons where the town dies and you get the chance to travel,” Westcott said. “It’s unlike any other place in the world.”
Westcott, who credits his parents for influencing his love of travel, said both his jobs combined with his sponsors are what allow him to travel during the offseason.
“My family loves to travel,” Westcott said. “I’ve been traveling since before I could walk.”
Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia, England, France, and Canada are only a few of the exotic destinations he’s checked off the list.
Last fall, Westcott ventured to Bali, Indonesia, to volunteer for a program that helps rescue sea turtles.
While in Bali, he also hiked up a volcano, explored monkey forests, rock-climbed up waterfalls, cliff-jumped, surfed and rode mopeds around the city.
“He definitely brings out the jealousy when I’m doing the 9-to-5 thing,” said Westcott’s friend Kyle Broughton, referring to Westcott’s social-media feed.
Scroll through the images that appear under #taeslife on Instagram, and you’ll quickly understand what this means.
But Broughton, who’s been friends with Westcott since their freshman year at Aspen High School, said #taeslife is no surprise to him at all.
“He’s always been outgoing and lived life first,” Broughton said. “He’s Tae.”
Claire Westcott said her brother has been adventurous his entire life but became more social when he got older.
“He just wants to share his enthusiasm for life with other people,” she said. “He is inspiring to a lot of people in the sense that just because you’re doing something different doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”
Despite that Westcott didn’t know a thing about Bali prior to his trip and said his only reason for choosing to travel there is that it “sounded like a cool place,” it turned out to be his favorite place he’s visited so far.
Westcott said he loved the culture and the people in Bali most.
“They are so unbelievably nice, it’s insane,” he said.
No matter how great any place is or how many times he leaves the Roaring Fork Valley, he said this place will always be home and he’ll always come back.
“I’m super-lucky to be able to do what I do and live where I live,” Westcott said. “I’m just going to enjoy it as much as I can while it lasts and not take any of it for granted.”
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