Ken Gart has been a partner at The Gart Companies since its inception in 1992. Prior to that time he was Co-President and Chief Merchandising Officer at Gart Bros. Sporting Goods, a family-owned and operated corporation, from 1983 to 1992. Ken started Specialty Sports Venture, LLC (SSV) in 1994 and built it to over 140 stores and into the nation’s leading specialty ski and bicycle retailer. SSV included Aspen Sports, Telluride Sports, Boulder Ski Deals, Colorado Ski and Golf and roughly 30 other trade names. The company was sold to Vail Resorts in 2010.
Ken was chairman of the Board of Denver Bike Sharing (DBA B-Cycle) where he was appointed to the position by then Mayor and now Governor John Hickenlooper. Denver B-Cycle was the first major city-wide bike sharing to launch in the US. Ken is currently chair of the Board for RPM Events Group which owns the Colorado Classic and Velorama. The Colorado Classic is a global professional cycling competition and Velorama is a music festival. The goals of the RPM Events Group are around health & wellness & economic development for Colorado. Ken has been called by Governor Hickenlooper his “Bike Czar”. This is a voluntary position to make Colorado the most bicycle friendly state in America.
Ken has held various memberships, directorships and chairmanships with The Nature Conservancy, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Telluride Foundation, Colorado Conservation Trust, Denver Area Council Boy Scouts of America, Denver Metro Boys & Girls Clubs and the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. Further, he serves on numerous other non-profit boards and committees.
Ken Attended Claremont Men’s College and graduated from Middlebury College and Stanford Graduate School of Business. He and his wife Rebecca have three children. Ken is an athlete, having climbed over 30 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks, and is an enthusiast in the sports of skiing and cycling.
3 words to describe Nature?
Passion. Relief. Opportunity.
3 things Nature taught you?
Stop Breathe Relax Listen as you say so well
Instant change of perspective. It forces to think differently.
Self awareness and all the possibilities
3 most treasured Nature spots?
On any mountain with any of my 3 children. The time with my children in nature is priceless. The bond it creates is profound and so rewarding.
Any aerobic outdoor location. I love how exercising in the outdoors makes me feel. It is more than simply getting a shot of endorphins, it is more a full experience of feeling alive.
On a Colorado mountain, in winter, during a powder day, the rush is priceless
When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?
Inspired. Small. and refreshed. It brings me back to this balcony in Italy, 20 years ago, overlooking the sea. My wife and I had just gotten engaged. We were looking at the water and started to cry, thinking about both of our parents who had passed away. There is something about self reflection and the ocean.
When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?
Fresh and full of air. Climbing up a mountain, you pass a point where you loose the trees. It is too high for them to grow, not enough oxygen and moisture. So when you come down the mountain and reach the tree line, smelling the pine cones and all the different aromas, it is comforting and refreshing. It is like coming home after a hard day’s work.
When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?
Reminds me of the smallness of the human species. How little we matter. How our impact on the world (in the big sense) is borderline insignificant.
When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?
It is a moment of reflection. It puts me in touch with the day that is ahead and the day that has passed. It reminds me of the cycle of life, the beginnings and the ends, the past and the future, what was, is and will be.
When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?
I really like the thunder. It is a cool way to experience nature. Feeling the energy around you, this incredible force of nature that is so powerful. It is inspiring.
When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?
On the other end, the wind howling makes me ominous. When I am hiking, biking, climbing, and its starts to blow, I get the feeling of being threatened.
Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?
Mountain through and through
On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?
Share with us a childhood nature memory?
Camping. Our family wasn’t too big on camping, but I remember the few moments we did, with my father and brothers. What I remember the most is the campfire. Being in the outdoors, around the campfire, hearing the fire crackle, smelling the wood burning, it is a powerful experiences that touches so many senses. It is extremely comforting yet threatening. As a child, it is life changing.