Higher education took Stacia Whitehead away from her hometown of Steamboat Springs to Denver and Seattle, but only temporarily. The lure of the easy access to all things outdoors, and the network of supportive family and friends in this idyllic northwestern Colorado ski town brought her back.
While working in the local health care industry, Stacia met Bud, who was working in resort management in the booming tourism economy. The two fell in love and married.
“Bud was looking for a break from the monotony of guest relations. Seeing the hot air balloons in the sky above Steamboat inspired his curiosity,” said Stacia. She recounts that he called Ian, the owner of Wild West Balloon Adventures, to see if there were any open positions. The next day Bud was an official member of the balloon ground crew.
After a couple exciting years of part-time balloon chasing, Bud and Ian decided it was time for Bud to take his ballooning to the next level and start flying. He logged his first flying hours in 2011, and now Bud has well over 1,500 hours of flight experience above Steamboat.
In January, 2018, Bud and Stacia bought the balloon company. “Our passion is to give people the experience of a lifetime,” said Stacia. “We put our focus on creating a phenomenal experience for each individual.”
Individual attention was also important to the Whiteheads when they went with Alpine Bank for their banking relationship. “We chose Alpine Bank because of their direct focus on small businesses and their connections within our local community. They’re aligned with our priorities and truly care about our success,” said Stacia. “We’ve enjoyed their coaching and networking opportunities, and we’re glad they’ve been our banking partner since the start of our business.”
Wild West Balloon Adventures is a Small & Mighty contribution to the community of Steamboat Springs. To learn more about our Small & Mighty business highlights click here.