How has living in the mountains influenced your career? 

An interview with a mountain town professional, Michelle Perl of Silverthorne, CO (Customer Experience Manager at Keystone Science School)

Find Michelle on LinkedIn and follow her mountain town employer Keystone Science School on LinkedIn and Instagram

Why mountains?

I have always been pulled toward the mountains. Whether the mountains of New Hampshire or the peaks of Colorado, mountains have always symbolized adventure for me. You never know what will be around the next turn or over the next summit. I could be in the mountains for the rest of my life, and still never get tired of them. 

Favorite mountain town activity

It’s hard to pick just one! From hiking to rafting to camping, it’s all at my front door. I enjoy exploring the outdoors with my husband, daughter, and two dogs. Honestly, just looking at the mountains would be enough for me, but I happen to be lucky enough to play in them as well! I have been painting for the last few years, and the Colorado mountain landscapes are a strong inspiration for my work, which can be viewed at

How has living in the mountains influenced your career? 

I grew up in the mountains of New Hampshire, and even though I was at the front door of the White Mountains, I never had an opportunity to explore the outdoors. Since discovering nature and the benefits of just being outside, I have felt the pull of that next mountain adventure which brought me to Colorado. Living here has allowed me to be in a community of outdoor-minded individuals. Mountain towns bring people together from all walks of life, but what I have found to be consistent is that the community is inclusive, open-minded, and safe. Having started my career in hospitality, the mountains have drawn me into the outdoor industry which has been a life-changing experience. I am not sure I would be able to turn back if I wanted to. 

Advice for a mountain town job seeker:

Mountain towns can be hard both financially and socially. When my family moved out here, it was with the knowledge that we would be making financial sacrifices for a life worth living. My daughter will have the opportunity to grow up in a place that people can only dream of living in. Hikes don’t have to be just a weekend endeavor, and appreciating nature is a daily practice. However, this comes at a price. Mountain towns have a notoriously high cost of living, and it is a genuine struggle at times. With that being said, it’s not impossible. My husband and I are hard-working individuals, and we have been lucky enough to carve out a life for ourselves. We have built a small community of chosen family, and we are happy to live here. Despite its hardships, it is truly a lifestyle worth living. 

Why is your mission with Keystone Science School so important to you living in the mountains? 

I was lucky enough to stumble upon Keystone Science School whose mission is: “With the outdoors as a backdrop for learning, Keystone Science School inspires curiosity and critical thinking through the lens of science to change lives and strengthen communities.” Having worked here for the last few years, I can genuinely say I believe in the value of getting kids into the outdoors to experience earlier on what I only learned in my adulthood: The outdoors is a really cool place. Ultimately, I love that we offer outdoor education and summer camp programs and show our students the value of nature, and we sneak science into everything we do. Ultimately, I want the outdoors to be accessible for everyone. Only in appreciating nature do we feel a sense of stewardship for the outdoors. 

What can the Mountain Careers community do to support the Keystone Science School mission?

Keystone Science School is nothing without instructors, camp counselors, and people to educate and foster a love of the outdoors with our children. We need people whose passion is contagious- not just for the kids, but also for our peers. At Keystone Science School, we are building a community of people who love to hike, or raft, or mountain bike, or just be outside, and I think the Mountain Careers community is a great way to spread the word. We want people to know who we are, and how cool it is to live a mountain life.

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