For more information about or to donate to Everything Outdoor Steamboat, the program Matt Tredway established to help local children develop an interest in the outdoors, check out the organization’s website at www.teacherweb.com/co/ssms/eos/.
Steamboat Springs It’s the obvious question, but that doesn’t mean he has a clear answer. Matt Tredway is 52 years old and has 23 years of experience teaching in the Steamboat Springs School District. He’s a well-known local adventurer, his wife claims he’s as strong as he’s ever been, and now, after resigning from his post teaching math and science at Steamboat Springs Middle School, he has all the free time in the world.
Matt, what’s next?
“It’s funny,” he said Thursday morning, fresh off a run up Spring Creek Trail but still waking up with a cup of coffee in downtown Steamboat Springs. “My daughter just graduated college, and she said people always ask what she’s going to do, too. We’re on the same track.”
Passing into Peru
There are short-term answers to the main question in Tredway’s life — exciting ones, even.
He’s eagerly looking forward to a trip to South America. He departs in a few weeks and plans to climb several peaks in the Peruvian Andes, including Artesonraju, a 19,767-foot peak featuring 50-degree slopes that is rumored to have been filmed as the live-action logo for Paramount Pictures.
“I saw it a couple years ago when we were doing another peak in the vicinity, and it’s a stand-alone, beautiful peak,” Tredway said.
After that, though, it’s a lot of “I’m thinking about” and “it would be fun if” plans from Tredway.
The Himalaya? Maybe. Summits in Alaska? A trip to Thailand with his wife? Kilimanjaro? Giving lessons at the ski area or focusing simply on racking up 100 days on the mountain? Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe and maybe, he said.
“It’s like a book list,” he said about the peaks he hopes to summit and adventures he hopes to check off. “You read one book and then in the back cover there’s a list of three others you might like. Then people tell you, ‘Try this out. It’s the best time.’ The list always grows.”
It’s overwhelming, Tredway said. There’s a lot of indecision about what would be best and what will fit into the budget.
Still, that indecision is something he and his wife, Dana, are celebrating.
“I have gone back to school every fall since my kindergarten year, whether as a student or a teacher,” he said. “It’s a weird thing not to.”
Handing off the torch
Matt and Dana Tredway moved to Steamboat Springs, her hometown, on a whim in 1987.
He had no job prospects in what he said was an economy as daunting as this year’s.
“Then I was hired by the schools to coach wrestling, then to teach,” he said.
Twenty-three years later, they’re perfectly at home in the town. They raised two children in Steamboat, Danielle, 23, and Ariel, 19, and plan to continue to call Steamboat home.
But Tredway left a far larger imprint on the school system than either of his initial assignments would indicate.
Tredway’s brainchild was Everything Outdoor Steamboat. He was inspired by outdoors enthusiasts when he was a child, and he strove to inspire a new generation.
EOS started with a climbing wall in the middle school in the late 1990s, but it quickly grew as Tredway found an eager audience.
Indoor climbing exercises turned into outdoor climbing trips, which turned into ice climbing trips. Summer and winter camping trips, igloo-building excursions, bike rides and kayaking outings all came as EOS expanded.
“It’s teaching kids to incorporate it into a part of their life,” Tredway said. “I’ve had kids that started with us on a little ice climbing trip on Fish Creek Falls call me and say, ‘Hey, I just summited Denali.’ I love that.”
The experiences have stuck with children, he said.
“We’ve had epic stories of all manner. We were on a climbing trip one time, and bears mauled our camp. The kids saw the bears; we heard people screaming. That’s the kind of stuff a kid will remember. They won’t remember anything they did in my math class May 1. The bears nuked our area, so we went down and bought more food and moved our camp 10 miles away. That night, again, bears. They’ll remember that forever.”
Tredway said he’s still deeply interested in the future of EOS, though he plans to step aside from what he said is now a self-sufficient program.
The money’s there, he said. The infrastructure is there. The desire from the children, the commitment from the school district and the volunteer enthusiasm from other adult leaders is, too.
“There are capable hands,” he said. “We’ve done a good job building it up, and we have a good following. I put my arms around that thing, but I look at some of the other people who help out, and they are so gifted, and I feel like it has a life of its own now.”
Tredway insisted that resigning from teaching doesn’t mean the end of his days of work.
It might not even mean the end of teaching, either in a classroom setting or in a different sort of outdoors instruction role.
Dana has insisted on some plans of her own, however.
“I’m trying to encourage him, at 52 years old and so healthy, now that he’s finished his career to take a breather and spend a year doing the things he maybe won’t be able to do when he’s 60,” she said. “That’s my goal for him, but it will be hard because he’s very responsible. I want to make him goof around for a while.”
Tredway said he’ll try.
He tried to summit Everest in 2006 but got sick while ascending the mountain. That was a terrible experience, he said, but taught him that even an unsuccessful trip still can be an amazing one.
He’s eyeing the Himalayan mountain Cho Oyu in the fall, the world’s sixth-tallest mountain, located “just down the street” from Mount Everest. He’d like another crack at Everest, too.
It’s all just maybes for now, though, and for Tredway, that’s OK.
“I did postpone some stuff for my trade, but it worked out great,” he said. “It’s wonderful. I have no regrets, by any means.”