Athletic women often pride themselves on being low-maintenance. They assume that being physically strong and independent makes them so. They can go from hot yoga to a dinner out with a 5-minute, back-of-the-car wardrobe change and a few baby wipes – from a bike ride to a meeting using the same trick.

I am one of these self-proclaimed, supposed, low-maintenance mountain women. That is, I thought I was. But, recently, I’ve noticed  (or have had it pointed out to me) that we, the proud low-maintenance mountain chicks, are in fact, no different from the rest.

The first clue came following an evening in which I was convinced I had been over-served. When I saw the bartender later in the week, I asked what he had put in my drink. He rolled his eyes and said, “You high-maintenance mountain chicks ordering your martinis chilled, dirty and with three olives.”

I chuckled recalling the days when a Pabst Blue Ribbon, or $1 Schlitz, was my go-to beverage of choice.

Okay, so maybe my taste in drinks had become a little glitzy. I attributed this to becoming more sophisticated and continued with my low-maintenance identity.

The next clue came from my brother-in-law. I commented on how expensive his wife’s handbags and heels were. He looked it me in disbelief and said, “How much is your bike? She doesn’t have one of those.”

To be perfectly honest, I don’t have a bike either. I have three. My sister-in-law could buy a lot of very expensive shoes to equal the cost of any one of them.

I started to take inventory of my high-maintenance habits. Just yesterday, upon meeting a friend for a ride, I commented on her new camo-mountain bike shorts. “They’re so cute,” I dished and demanded, “What kind are they?”

Turns out fashion is not limited to city chicks. Going to yoga class is like walking into a 3-D Lululemon catalog. And, although I don’t have Jimmy Choo shoes, my closet is full of expensive ski boots – three different kinds — alpine, backcountry and Nordic.

The contradictions continued  – the pink handbag I had won at a non-profit silent auction and picked up on the way home from a mountain bike ride; the designer jeans smashed at the bottom of my backpack that I throw on when we camp; the collection of down jackets – ¾ length for around town, mid-weight for layering, and heavy-fill for skiing—that I had in my closet.

It all started to add up: martinis, designer jeans, assorted down, and a pink handbag. Maybe I really wasn’t as low-maintenance as I had once thought. Maybe I was one of them as the bartender suggested — a high-maintenance mountain chick.

But, they don’t seem like the type who would admit to it anyway.

So, neither will I.

Summer Sunday is a weekly column by Jesse James McTigue and sponsored by Jagged Edge intended to deliver tips, news, musings and stories about the people, places, events and experiences that make the Telluride summer an epic adventure.

  • shawn blount
    Posted at 17:34h, 16 July


    I’m a friend of Jake’s from college. He posted the article on fb and I had to share with you that I cracked up when I read it. You said it, well. $5000 bikes, new skis, down jackets, and a few pairs of designer jeans abound….but shhhh…don’t ruin our image! A friend of mine is a girly-girl with expensive taste. Her husband is one of my motorcycle riding buddies. He was slack jawed the other day when I admitted to being high maintenance. The facade is much more fun!

  • Shari
    Posted at 17:24h, 11 August

    I had to laugh when I read your article. I like to think of myself as low maintenance too. But, I do have my road bike (and all that gear), and my downhill ski equipment, and my 4 wheel drive car (to ensure I’ll make it up to the mountains).I guess it’s all relative…