If you go

What: Christy Mahon

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: Neptune Mountaineering, 633 S. Broadway

More info: http://neptunemountaineering.com/events.aspx

I n a typical weekend during her bid to ski all of Colorado's fourteeners, Christy Mahon and her husband Ted Mahon would drive for hours to reach a mountain's base, camp until two or three in the morning and then begin the chilly trek up the mountain.

They'd skin up to the summit, ski down and then start the process over for another peak on Sunday.

Christy Mahon would return to work Monday morning exhausted, but one or two peaks closer to her goal of becoming the first woman to ski all 54 of Colorado's fourteeners.

On Thursday evening, Mahon will be at Neptune Mountaineering to talk about her adventures in the mountains and reaching her goal, which happened when she safely descended Capitol Peak, the final mountain on the list, in May 2010.

"I'm not a professional athlete," she said in a phone interview from her home in Aspen. "I had a goal and just chipped away at it over the years. You don't have to be this badass, incredible, the best-out-there person to achieve (a goal)."


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Her husband Ted finished skiing all of Colorado's 14ers in 2008. At that point, Mahon said she realized she had already accompanied her husband on around 30 summits without any goal or number in mind.

She decided to make a project out of skiing the remaining 20 or so -- a feat she accomplished while working 50-plus hours each week as the special events director for a local museum.

Now the development director for the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Mahon still works between 40 and 50 hours each week yet still finds time to ski almost every day. She's currently revisiting the fourteeners with routes she didn't get to hit the first time around.

Mahon moved to Aspen in 1998 after graduating from the University of Denver. Two years later, in the spring of 2000, she skied Quandary Peak for her first "real" date with Ted, who is now both her skiing and life partner.

Since then, they've skied in tandem, making decisions as a family instead of as two individuals.

Being married to his ski partner adds a "level of complexity" to their expeditions, Ted Mahon said.

"You're trying to be objective in decision making, yet watching your wife cross some rock bridge when you know a fall would be potentially fatal," he said. "But when you come out of all that, I think it makes you stronger."

Ted and Christy Mahon accompanied Art Burrows on a 10-day traverse of the Canadian Rockies. About halfway across the 95-mile route, the group paused before starting a tough vertical climb.

Someone suggested paying a helicopter, which would be flying overhead anyway for routine maintenance further along the route, to take the group to the top of climb.

"Christy looks at us and waves her finger and says 'We're doing this the honest way,'" Burrows said. "She kept everybody focused and honest at that point in the trip."

Even Ted Mahon has to remind himself that his wife is an average person who decided to tackle an athletic endeavor and succeeded.

"You often read this stuff in magazines," he said. "You're really watching a professional athlete who doesn't have to sit in a desk from Monday to Friday. (Christy) relates more to people who managed to do this because they set it as a goal."

--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.