MARYPAT ZITZER

MARYPAT ZITZER

Tell us about yourself, your family, and your journey to calling Bozeman your home.

I’m 63 years old and married to my partner, husband, and father to our 3 amazing children, (Al). I came to Bozeman for the first time in the 70’s and moved here on a whim in 1980. My sister was here already and visiting me in Wisconsin and asked if I wanted to move to Bozeman and I said “why not”, so here I am. I worked for Kletterworks, Dana Design, Mojo systems, wilderness experience and Mystery Ranch while gaining residency and going to MSU graduating as a Bobcat in May of 1985. In June of 1985 Al and I set off on our first cross Canada expedition of 14 months – read Al’s first book Water and Sky for all details. We got married upon our return and continued our lives skiing, biking, hiking and going to Canada in the summers to get away from the crowds – HA!

Becoming a Mother was such a privilege and I loved it. My community of women, friends, family, and my partnership with Al helped keep us all outside and in the wilderness. We had the kids on river trips by the time they were a few months old and skiing all kinds, biking and hiking, running and swimming. It is such a joy to share the outdoors with your kids – they show you and teach you so many things! Don’t get me wrong, it takes a lot of energy to get there but, once there, the rewards are grand! Hard and uncomfortable at times and we questioned ourselves all the time, but the rivers and mountains always won out! Bozeman was a great place to raise kids.

How did you first come to find yourself taking classes at The Mountain Project?

Al and I have been friends with Mike and [his brother] Patrick’s parents for years and watched the two grow up. So when Mike opened his gym I wanted to support him. Needless did I know how hooked I would get. And, bonus, two Super Women Emily and Colleen came into my life! Plus two of my kids got hooked also.

We know that you’ve been able to go on some pretty amazing trips, adventures and treks – what advice would you give to a young athlete first starting out with their own adventures?

Picking your trip or adventure partners is key to success. Choose people who are well versed at whatever the activity; not hard-driving-goal-seeking so much but personable, capable, strong and has a good sense of humor and can laugh at oneself.

If you could only pick one outdoor activity to do for the entire summer – the one that truly puts you in your happy place – what would it be? 

I have found that most often it’s the people you’re with that make a difference in the activity. In the mountains, on the water, on the snow, on the bike or trail, if I am with my family, kids, and Al I am the happiest; then my gal pals and all my friends. The outdoors always gives me peace and strength. Solo time is very important.