Bigfoot Sighting

Stalking Dave 'Bigfoot' Felkley, the Rocky Mountains true hominid
By Jason Lathrop - October 5th, 2001

Next time you're snowshoeing in the mountains near Nederland, Colorado, keep your eyes peeled for Bigfoot. This is no savage hairy man, it's Dave "Bigfoot" Felkley, Colorado's original snowshoe evangelist and guru. Since dropping (sensibly) out of the corporate world in the late 1970s, Dave headed for the hills to live at 8,500 feet. In fact, he retooled his entire life around the outdoors, leaving his job as District Manager for Mercedes-Benz Rocky Mountain Region, selling his car, and dedicating himself to a simpler life.

"When you don't own a car, it's amazing how little it takes it too live. But don't try this at home," he cautions. "This is done by professionals... I don't own a TV. I don't own a microwave."

The change was inspired by a pattern he saw in his family. "When my father and his brothers and, prior to that, their father, died in their mid-50s, I finally caught on," he explains. "I don't need their way of life and all of that pressure. I decided to get fit."

He discovered snowshoeing in the 1980s. "I had been running on flat surfaces and discovered we weren't really built for running on them," Dave notes. "If we were, God would have given us wheels."

This realization led him to trailrunning and by seasonal extension, running on snowshoes. The bug caught, and he's been a dedicated snowshoer ever since.

He's followed developments in the snowshoe industry closely since then. With that and his knack for understanding gear design, he now understands the modern snowshoe as well as anyone. He updated the classic text on snowshoeing, Snowshoeing, by the late Gene Prater (Mountaineers Books) and is regularly tapped by snowshoe manufacturers as a design consultant.

These days, just passing 60, he works in outdoor gear retail and operates his own tour company, BIGfoot tours. Speaking with him, it quickly becomes clear that Felkley is a virtual clearinghouse of information on the art, craft, and experience of getting around on snowshoes. He tends to regard some recent snowshoe innovations with a skeptical eye, a common position held by those who observe a trend for any period of time. Overall, though, Felkley praises the general innovation that has opened snowshoeing up to a larger audience.

His tour company continues to grow, despite the lackluster snowpacks of the last two seasons. Readers interested in taking one of Felkley's guided day trips can reach his company at 303-258-3157.


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