Gravity Haus connects people who see the world as an incredible playground. We help the planet by traveling, recreating and growing with others while and learning along the way. We believe if we’re enhancing your active lifestyle, one experience at a time, then we’re doing it right. Community first, everything else will follow. Get to know the faces behind the Gravity Haus community!
LOCAL BRECK MEMBER
Meet Johnny Kemps. The Breckenridge local embodies the Gravity Haus lifestyle to his core. From mountains to marathoners to creating memories with friends, Johnny knows how to live life to the fullest.
While he’s mostly hung up his track star shoes for ski boots and skins, you can still find him chasing the runners high and personal PRs in the summers, which take him back to the days of training at high altitude in Breckenridge.
We could keep going, but we’ll let you hear from Johnny yourself below.
Q&A With Johnny Kemps
Q. First, tell us about your athletic background!
A. While I I grew up skiing Crested Butte and Breckenridge in my off-seasons, my background is in Track & Field. I competed at the Division 1 level for Boston University. I was primarily a miler, ran the steeplechase and also competed in cross country. While I loved racing a pure mile, the 4x800m relay will always have my heart because of its uniquely raw team-oriented nature over a middle-ground distance for sprinters and distance runners alike. My training demanded high levels of aerobic fitness which planted a natural affinity for the low-oxygen mountains in me.
Q. Sweet. Now, tell us the highlights of your most recent race. Highs? Lows? Environment? Energy?
A. I most recently have been having fun outside of my competitive upbringing on the slopes, but I decided to pursue an old pre-COVID dream of running the Boston Marathon and I did that in October. Since I competed for Boston U, it was kind of like going home. I knew people at every corner of the 26.2mi course. The energy in Boston is unlike any other marathon. The city shuts down for “Marathon Monday.” The electricity in the air is palpable, which fueled me to a great time. I ran it with some old teammates, so there was hardly a low. A few minutes off a PR, but I was thrilled with the effort and I loved repping Breckenridge. I was smiling the whole time, which I think is a feat in itself while running a marathon.
Q. What are your favorite mountain life activities?
A. Backcountry skiing is my love now. There is nothing like earning your turns in some of the best snow Colorado can offer, that is, untouched powder next to the heavens. In the summer you can find me crossing off segments of the Colorado Trail via trail running. Of course, mountain life is nothing without the people I get to adventure with. The people who are bold (crazy?) enough to traverse miles of mountains on foot or ski are the people I am lucky enough to call friends.
Q. Describe a moment when you hit a wall, but persevered.
A. The biggest wall I hit was accepting myself as gay while competing in athletics. Competing and strengthening myself was a source of pride, but it came with its own brand of difficulties; I had to learn that being gay made me no less of an athlete than anyone I raced against. This is obvious to me now, but it took years to get here.
Q. What’s next on your bucket list?
A. Steeper and deeper. I’ve tasted some incredible backcountry lines, but I know there is more out there. I recently took my AIARE 1 and I hope to progress my backcountry education safely until I take AIARE 2. This is the first time in my life where my athletic goals aren’t a specific time I want to hit. I would also love to run every segment of the Colorado Trail.
Q. What brought you to Breckenridge?
A. Breck was home before I made it my home. I grew up skiing in winter and training in summer here, but never thought I could make it a full time home until I realized that there is a community of people who love some type 2 fun here. To put it simply, life at 10,000 feet is just better. I was a very anxious athlete growing up, but when I came to train here all that faded away. I found a pure enjoyment and calm in the mountains that underscored everyday life. I am proud of myself for chasing that feeling into a home and escaping my recklessly boring past-life. “There’s got to be something more out there,” I remember thinking to myself; I found just that.
Q. When you’re not outside badassing, where can we find you?
A. Dryland at Gravity Haus is my second home-base. I literally work in the hallway outside between classes. If not there, I am probably chatting up the good people at Mountain Outfitters and sharpening up my knowledge and gear for the backcountry.
Q. What’s your superpower?
A. Dog-whisperer, although sometimes I tell them things they don’t want to hear. Made a few dog enemies that way.
Q. What about hidden talents?
A. This is less of a talent, but spending my days outside and at elevation has led me to know wayyy too much about sunscreen. Hit me up for recs!
Q. Mantra you live by?
A. I have 2:
- “Every life is an unprecedented experiment. There is no map. We are all pioneers.’ -Glennon Doyle
- You know who your best friends are on a powder day.
Q. What do you love about Gravity Haus?
A. The people I have met through Gravity Haus make it so special. Many of these people I specifically met at Dryland. The crew that works out at Dryland together is truly the most pure expression of a like-minded community I have found in Breck, badasses in the gym and the best adventure partners in the wild.
Q. Words of wisdom for like-minded adventurers?
A. Read the avalanche forecast. Know your terrain. Live to slay more pow.