What’s your greatest gift and can you use it to make the world a better place? Are you a smart scientist looking for a cure to cancer, an athlete inspiring kids to surpass themselves, or a teacher forging the minds of the next generation? What if your gift was being fun? I mean real fun! The kind of person everyone likes being around, the light of the party. That’s Rob Peterson in a nutshell, but leaving it at that wouldn’t do him justice. Growing up in a small California town, he would spend every possible moment outside and on the go, playing on bikes, in the football field or surfing and loving every minute of it.
“I never took my life for granted at any point. Even as a kid, I made the best of any situation. The stuff that I was able to do, I did, was stoked and thankful that I got to do it. My parents instilled in being thankful, even when I was a little kid and that made a big difference as I got older.”
To this day, Rob carries with him that love for the life he lives and every day thanks life for what he has. His up bringing and the loss of his uncle to cancer at a young age both contributed to this perspective he carries.
“We buried him on his 50th birthday. My dad gave the eulogy and I had never seen him before break down and cry. It crushed me. I was sad, but pissed off more than anything because his life got taken at such a young age. I promised myself from then on that I would never take life for granted. I would do everything I could for people. There was a point after that where I realized I was a clown put on this earth to make people happy. That’s what I try to do. I get the most enjoyment out of seeing people happy.”
Early in his adult life, he left California to chase things that made him happy. He found bliss on the Colorado slopes in the small town of Steamboat Springs, embracing the community with both arms. What started as a great place to chase stoke and Champagne powder turned into the greatest place to live both personally and professionally. For the first couple of years, Rob started by making the pies at an Italian restaurant, a job that also allowed him to spend a lot of time biking and snowboarding. His passion for surfing the snow turned into his next gig running the testing program for snowboard boots for Boa.
“I thought I would keep this job forever. It was the best, I started meeting people, worked with Vans and DC and different people in the industry. It was a short period of time before I realized I was going to work in the outdoor industry. It’s a passion of mine to be in the outdoors. I get to do it here, out my front door everyday. This is what I want to do.”
Convinced he was going to work this job forever, he was quite disappointed when the company moved it’s offices to Denver. The small town outdoor enthusiast could not imagine living in the city. He had to be able to get out the front door and be out there.
“I love the excitement of it, the fresh air, the feelings you get, the rush you get, the smells you get, every facet of it, the scared feeling you get. Even the ones that aren’t the positive adrenaline rush are part of the excitement. It just feels like you’re one with everything a lot more when you’re out there doing it. I’m a crack-head. I’m an addict. I’m not an adrenaline junkie, I’m just an outdoor junkie. I need to be doing something all the time and have been like that since I was a kid.”
Steamboat seems like the best place for an outdoor junkie like Rob. Four distinct seasons and the best terrain provide opportunities for great skiing, mountain biking, hiking, camping, fishing, name it, but what really draws him to this place is the community of people that have also chosen to call this valley home.
“Steamboat is all about community. Every time anybody has anything happen, everybody comes together. We need a fundraiser, let’s make it happen, let’s come up with something. Everybody will get together and get stuff done. Things go wrong, people are there for you. It doesn’t take long to figure out who your true friends are because it’s almost everybody.”
It was the perfect environment for Rob’s generosity to bloom. The happy go-getter, or the clown as he likes to describe himself, was gladly making things happen in town. From being part of the group that started the moustache ride, a fun fundraiser for the local animal shelter that he still is gladly part of, to coaching the kids snowboard team for the last seventeen years, he really became a pillar of this community.
“When I first got asked to coach the kids, I was blown away. That my peers thought I was worthy of that job blew my mind. I was honoured. I started and the interaction I got with the kids was great. We build a relationship from the start of the season, all the way through the end and you get to watch them grow up over the years. Kids that I coached are coaching with me now and I even get to coach my friends kids now. I’m stoked that I’m privileged enough to do that.”
Rob’s strength lies in his attitude. Forever grateful, he embraces life everyday and faces life’s challenges with a smile, holding his friend’s hand along the way. To him, life is like a trail. You may get to ride the same trails every day, but everyday can be a different adventure and who you share this adventure with is more important than anything because really what is happiness if it can’t be shared. His recipe for happiness is somewhat simple.
“Live every day. Don’t sell yourself short. Do everything you can every day. I’ve always been a goofball all my life. I’ve had fun like this all my life and fortunate to be able to do this. Being so grateful for it, I need to make sure I give back.”
Be like Rob, live every day, love every way, be grateful, high-five your friends and don’t take yourself seriously, because although he loves to portray himself as a clown, he is much more than that.