Vail locals are often asked what it’s like to live in the Vail Valley. In some ways, it’s like living anywhere. You go to work, spend time with friends and family and enjoy various hobbies. In other ways, it’s quite unique. Your commute might include a ride on a chairlift, your family time might be spent on the slopes and your favorite hobby might be downhill mountain biking.
As with life anywhere, day-to-day life in the Vail Valley looks a little different for everyone. This series, A Day in the Life of a Local, will give anyone wondering what it’s like to live in the Vail Valley a little peek inside the lives of real-life residents. Kicking things off is a conversation with Jeremy Rietmann, town manager for the Town of Gypsum.
Tracey Flower: How long have you lived in the Vail Valley?
Jeremy Rietmann: Just over nine years. My wife and I moved to Eagle on January 1, 2011.
TF: What brought you here?
JR: The mountains and an employment opportunity. I grew up on a family wheat farm in Eastern Oregon and starting skiing at two years old. Interest in the mountains lead me to Colorado for college. My wife, Carly, completed a Master of Public Health degree and was recruited by Eagle County to run the Healthy Aging Program, the county’s public health services for seniors.
I was working as an independent public policy consultant from our home in Fort Collins at the time, so I was available to make the move as well. Eliminating more than 200 hours per year of windshield time commuting up and down the I-70 corridor to ski and [rock] climb was also a big motivator. I stay here because of the people and the access to the things I like to do, like ultrarunning, climbing, skiing, mountaineering and canyoneering.
TF: What’s one thing about life in the Vail Valley you think people would be surprised to learn?
JR: I think people would be surprised to learn how many Vail Valley locals are regular visitors to Utah’s desert country, including places like Lake Powell, Canyonlands and the San Rafael Swell. Many are property owners in Moab, Utah. Maybe it has something to do with the contrasts: red slickrock versus white snow, mountains versus canyons, one narrow valley versus wide open landscapes and cold versus hot. My main driver is exploration and wide open spaces.
A day in Jeremy’s life
5 a.m.: Wake up and train. Either it’s endurance work or speed work outside, or strength training and stretching and mobility work in my basement. The focus varies depending on my objective and the period in my training cycle. I generally train 6 days a week and take Mondays as my rest day.
6:30 a.m.: The “Activities of Daily Living”: Shower, shave, breakfast, make lunch, brush teeth, etc. I end every shower I take with two minutes of freezing cold water. It’s a small uncomfortable challenge I can meet and overcome to notch an accomplishment and build momentum at the start of each day.
7:20 a.m.: Head to work. Sometimes I’ll stop in for coffee with a rotating group of Gypsum regulars, other times it’ll be a podcast, Pearl Jam or a silent drive to work.
8:00 a.m.: Five to 10 minutes of meditation to clear my mind to start the day. Then “brain work” for the first two hours of the day. No email, no phone calls, no interruptions until 10 a.m. unless it’s an emergency. This allows me to do some deep thinking and make progress on key priorities each day before the day gains steam and the tyranny of the immediate tends to rise.
10 a.m.: Check/respond to emails, available for pop-in meetings from staff as needed.
11:30 a.m.: Make any calls or return calls for the day. I try to call people just before lunch, which keeps calls shorter than they might be otherwise. Hunger usually beats long-windedness.
12:00 p.m.: Lunch – usually something I packed, or if not, usually a business meeting over a meal. Some days I’ll go long and eat later in the afternoon or get in a bit of short exercise (run, hike, body-weight exercises or stretching) to reset the tone for the afternoon.
1 p.m.: Another look at email and dash off any quick responses if needed.
1:30 p.m.: I generally set this time aside for one-on-one meetings with my direct reports on different days of the week. I aim to meet with each of them directly at least once a week so we can jointly problem solve if needed and just stay connected generally.
Afternoons: Mostly set aside for meetings of all types, internal, external, staff check-ins, citizens, developers, business owners, relationship building or issue research.
4 p.m.: Email check and quick responses. Return any phone messages left since noon.
4:30 p.m.: Usually back to project work of some kind in my office, more time for deep thinking when the office winds down and the staff closes the building and departs at 5:00 p.m.
6 p.m.: I try (desperately!) to be wrapped up at 6:00 p.m., spending the last 15 minutes of the day setting my schedule for the next day. But I almost always find it’s about 6:20 p.m. when I leave, just enough time to make it home for dinner.
6:30 p.m.: Dinner at home with Carly, daily debrief time and reconnection.
7:15 p.m.: Winter: head to Eagle Climbing and Fitness to climb in the evenings with my wife and other folks we’ve met through Larry Moore’s awesome gym. Other Seasons: trail run or mountain bike after work, solo or with friend, placing any running before dinner because that can be hard on the stomach! If we’re tired or otherwise not feeling psyched on activity, we’ll watch a little tube, play a game, discuss the day or entertain each other with our endless (or tiresome) wit.
8:45 p.m.: Set out workout clothes or any needed gear for the morning workout.
9 to 10:45 p.m.: Bed prep activities, read a book and go to sleep. Or, as my wife will tell you, sometimes get sucked into an online news reading rabbit hole and my bedtime will shift to the latter part of this range, constantly frustrating my best-laid plans for an earlier bedtime.