Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Keeping ahead in a seasonal world

Danny Walton works his years in segments


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

Like many folks, Danny Walton shifts gear every season. Photo by

Danny Walton is a fully sponsored telemarker who does testing for sporting goods companies. It's a skier's dream. But in the summer he works at his own business, Mountain High Teak in Ketchum.

"It's a seasonal business. We restore teak patio furniture," he said.

The trick is to make it through slack, or the shoulder seasons of fall and spring. For Walton and others like him, the lifestyle in the Wood River Valley is appealing but challenging when it comes to making a living.

"I'm really busy over the summer but during slack I have to make the push towards winter," he said. "Now I'm doing specials like buffing out teak furniture and putting it away for clients."

His business motto is "It's time to tweak the teak."

Besides Walton's teak business, he also keeps busy helping with the kids' rock climbing program at the Wood River YMCA. He said he has friends who do everything from landscape cleanup, to waiting tables to carpentry while they wait for the snow to fly.

Originally from Cleveland, Walton, 36, has lived in the valley year-round for 12 years. Like pockets of people from all sorts of random areas, he originally followed a group of hometown friends out West.

During the winter, he also runs the annual Telemark Series on Bald Mountain and is the ski ambassador for Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau.

He started telemarking because it's "a much prettier turn," but he is equally passionate and adept at mountain biking and rock climbing.

"I am a former commuter of the year," he said. "I rode a bike year-round. I went 10 years without a car here. Last season, I skied over 140 days—40 in the backcountry and 100 days on Baldy. I was baggin' all the Boulder (Mountains) peaks."

"For as great as the summers are it just slows down so much by September," he said. "Labor Day hits and then I have a lot of free time suddenly. I take advantage of it but I still want to work. You get ahead and this time comes which can make it hard to live here. As long as I get a job a week I'm totally stoked."




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