Breck Guide: Patrick Guilbert
If a passion for skiing were contagious, you’d probably catch it from this guy. Patrick Guilbert speaks about skiing and the mountains with an authentic reverence in his voice that’s almost palpable. A blue-collar boy from New England, he spent his winters earning turns and teaching ski racing at Wildcat in New Hampshire. His path to living and guiding in Breck wasn’t a straight one or a short one, but in hindsight, it was always a clear one.
From a young age, Patrick had a strong feeling that someday he must have a big mountain kind of life. He also knew he wanted a family, and his roots led him to a more traditional career first. His 34 years as an executive at UPS, helping to grow the company, were fulfilling and happy ones. He admits though, that there might have been a few long meetings where he found his mind wandering, asking himself, “I wonder where my big mountain life is going to be?” At the age of 52, it was time to find out. Much to the disbelief (and perhaps envy) of his colleagues, he and his wife packed up the car and drove from Atlanta to Breckenridge to start his second career as a ski instructor and guide.
After more than a decade at Breck, Patrick is truly living his big mountain dream. He loves sharing that experience and his passion for skiing with others. Breck attracts a diverse community of visitors and employees alike and has the diverse terrain to support them all. He loves connecting with people wherever they are in their lives, helping them understand their goals, and then blowing away their expectations for what their guided day can be, and what they are capable of doing. He lives for those moments when clients walk away from the experience saying to themselves, “If I can do that, I can do anything.”
While his fellow guides affectionately joke that Patrick is “the oldest rookie,” he is pretty sure there is something magical about Breck that makes you ageless. Feeling the strongest he ever has, Patrick sees this in himself and in his clients every day. “There’s something about this healthy, wholesome environment that makes demographics and age just fade away.” While the others may joke about his “senior rookie” status, they are also quick to praise his expertise, passion, and character. According to those closest to him, he is one of the most unbelievably kind people, he has the physique and energy of a 30-year-old, and in fact, he is a hero to the team.
So, if you want to know the secret to a happy life, Patrick Guilbert might just be the person to ask. Spending winters living the big mountain life in Breck and summers back in the seaside town of Ipswich, Massachusetts; he certainly seems to be on to something.