The Advocate: Meet Louis Skowyra

Louis Skowyra A-basin ski patroller and Dillon city councilman
Dillon’s been part of Louis Skowyra’s life since he was a Minnesotan kid, vacationing in Dillon and skiing at Arapahoe Basin with his family. After his graduation from Boston College in 2005, he settled back into life in Minnesota at a desk job, but a few months in, he knew it wasn’t the right fit. So Skowyra called up his contacts at A-Basin, packed up his car, and drove west.
A dozen years later, Skowyra is deeply rooted in the good life in Dillon. He lives right on Lake Dillon with his wife, Carolyn, and two cats, Smokey and Bandit. He works at A-Basin year-round, as a ski patroller in the winter and a trails foreman in the summer. He served a four-year term on the Dillon Town Council, where he advocated for and built the Dillon Disc Golf Course. And now he’s working toward an MBA on nights and weekends.

According to Louis

I love being outside. I love being on the mountain. I love working for the ski area in the winter and in the summer. I see my role as making the mountain more accessible to more people in a safe way. You get people who don’t necessarily have the backcountry skillset to go ski something gnarly. We bring that inbounds, and then you get them on that terrain. That translates really well into the summer work, particularly with the chainsaws. I think I have more of an impact on our ski area with a chainsaw than I do at any other point in time.

I finished my four-year term on the Town Council last spring. I have every intention of going back to it. In about a year, I’ll run again and see what happens. I love Dillon. I believe in Dillon. It’s my backyard, and it was a really fun opportunity to get to know that backyard: all the inner workings of it and what makes a small town run.

We’re on the north shore of Lake Dillon. I call it a lake. Some people give me a hard time about that. If you want to be technically accurate, it’s a reservoir. That’s what we have that nobody else has. We’re lucky we have a deep-water marina so we can always get boats in and out. Then just a couple hundred yards down west of the marina on the north shore sits our amphitheatre. The town’s doing a ton of work and really bringing it up to speed. That lakeside amphitheatre is unparalleled, sitting on the lake with the mountains in the background. It’s an incredible asset to the town and one that the town has chosen to improve upon.

You think of Colorado, and you think of skiing. What people are figuring out is that when the rest of the country is intolerably hot in July, it’s pretty darn comfortable up here in the mountains. To hit 80 is unusual in Dillon. As someone who hates the heat, it’s perfect. Yes, it can snow in June. Yes, it can snow every single month of the year. But who cares? In all likelihood, the sun’s coming out tomorrow, and it’s going to be beautiful again. We all came here for the winter, we all stay for the summer.

I had the opportunity to build and design an 18-hole Disc Golf Course in Dillon when I was on the Town Council. We found this really cool bit of land that was right next to our town cemetery, one of those underutilized bits of land in the area. It just so happened to be perfect for a disc golf course. It has spectacular views and great holes. We’re still improving it and will add at least 9 more holes this summer. But even still, we’re a Top 10 course in the state. All the work it took to get that … It’s all worth it when you see a couple hundred people out enjoying it. It’s just fun to throw Frisbees. It’s beautiful if you throw it right. Even if you don’t play disc golf and you want to go walk your dog, it’s a spectacular jaunt through the woods.

Arapahoe Café is a standard. They have killer breakfast. I get
huevos rancheros, scrambled, with pork green chili, and a side of bacon or potatoes depending on how I’m feeling that day. I can’t say enough good things about it.

Lakeside Bowling has a fun scene. They’ve got quite a few lanes and a nice game room. They do a good job in there.

Come to Dillon. You’re going to dig it. It doesn’t matter what time

of year it is.   

Interviewed by Meredith Powlison