Outdoors Entrepreneur

Make a go of it as a yoga teacher, athlete manager, or a tour operator.

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Sara Ivanhoe


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“There’s nothing that makes me feel sexier than yoga,” says Ivanhoe, whose entrance into the world of sun salutations was rather inauspicious. She spent her college years at New York University studying the arts and rolling with a rowdy crowd. “When I was younger, I wasn’t the healthiest person. I was really excited by the whole rock-and-roll lifestyle,” says the 36-year-old. But she found balance in regular yoga practice and, after graduating, moved to L.A., where she flirted with acting and modeling. Meanwhile, her love for yoga grew, and in 1995 she got a hip gym called Crunch to let her teach a class. A few years later, Crunch asked her to make a video. Little did she know that she was on the leading edge of what was to be a major trend in the U.S., and her good looks, soothing presence, and girl-next-door charm would take her to the top. In the following ten years, Ivanhoe filmed 14 videos, including the best-selling Yoga for Dummies series and a pair of workout shows for FitTV. She’s now an instructor at Santa Monica, California’s prestigious Yoga Works studio and a personal yogi to the Hollywood elite. “I’ve been shipped in for yoga emergencies—rock stars detoxing, you name it,” says Ivanhoe, who usually starts her mornings with a boardwalk ride on her beach cruiser before teaching a private lesson and a class. Yeah, she knows she’s got it good. She was recently reminded of the fact while giving a private lesson to a certain glamorous starlet: “She just looked at me and said, ‘In my next life, I want to be reincarnated as a yoga instructor who lives in Venice Beach.’ ”

ADVICE? “Sometimes what we think we want isn’t as much as we could have.”


John Stubbs


First there was Indiana Jones, Hollywood’s academic action hero. Now there’s Professor Stubbs. As vice president of field projects for the World Monuments Fund—an international nonprofit striving to safeguard the world’s heritage sites against neglect, conflict, and natural disasters—he helps oversee about 250 architectural projects, in 84 countries, on all seven continents. Working with historians, engineers, exotic-painting conservationists, landscape architects, and historic-garden restorers, the professor, 57, has seen the cultural patrimony of more than 100 countries. He also oversees the management of the WMF’s list of the 100 most endangered sites, a global call to action on behalf of monuments in need of immediate intervention. The demands of the job—Stubbs also teaches three courses at Columbia University’s graduate program in historic preservation—have rendered him a jetlagged insomniac. “I’ve traded in a work shirt in Cambodia for my best Jermyn Street suit to address the Royal Geographical Society in London 30 hours later,” he says. But who needs sleep when you get to climb around Instanbul’s Hagia Sophia or stroll Beijing’s empty Forbidden City after hours?

ADVICE? “Go where the action is—there are enormous possibilities in Eastern Europe, Central and East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Oceania. There’s room for all kinds of help in the field of heritage protection.”


Nat & Rachael Lopes


In early 2004, the Berkeley, California– based Lopeses quit their jobs, ducked out of a lease, got married, and hit the road all within two weeks to join the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s trail crew. They cruised the U.S. and Canada in a gratis Subaru Outback, visiting variouslocations to assess trails firsthand, meet with land managers, and teach sustainability in the field. Three years, 46 states, nine provinces, and nearly 9,000 ridden and 100,000 driven miles later, the couple, 33 and 30, have embarked on another joint venture, Hilride (, a consulting firm specializing in mountain-bike tourism and development. They’ll design trails and tap into the cutting-edge market of lift-accessed bike parks. Next up: turning Croatia’s Istria Peninsula into one of Europe’s top mountain-biking destinations. As for home? “We used to say it was North America,” says Nat, “but we’re upgrading it to Earth.”

ADVICE? Nat: “Someone once said, ‘Man’s contradiction is in his need to find employment.’ We take that as a challenge.”


René Hansen


Visit Burton Snowboards HQ, in Burlington, Vermont, and you’ll see, emblazoned across the front door with other rules, this: WE ARE CLOSED IF TWO FEET FALLS IN 24 HOURS. Talk about priorities. And as global team director of this enlightened outfit, Norway-born Hansen, 36, oversees the careers of some of snowboarding’s hottest commodities, including Shaun White, Terje Haakonsen, Jeremy Jones, and Hannah Teter. Since his duties include riding with his team, Hansen spends about 65 days a year on the hill. During the winter, he’s busy escorting them to contests and photo shoots while scouting new athletes. His typical “off-season” goes something like this: “On the way to heli-board in New Zealand, we stop in Sydney and surf; then fly to Chile and go up to Valle Nevado; then do the world tour and hit up the biggest cities in the world, where we meet with the TV stations, magazines, and newspapers; then we hit up glaciers in this part of the world; and then winter is on again.” But it’s not all parties and pow, and Hansen spends nearly 40 percent of his year away from home, supervises a staff of 16, negotiates the big contracts, and much more. He doesn’t mind, though.

ADVICE? “If you love something, you’re on the right track.”


Penn Newhard & Nate Simmons


Our subjects are a little crunched for time. “It’s been snowing a lot here,” writes Simmons in an e-mail, “so we’re taking everybody skiing tomorrow. We’re testing Black Diamond’s new fat skis.” That’s life for the owners of Carbondale, Colorado–based Backbone Media, one of America’s premier outdoor PR firms. Before starting Backbone in 1997, Newhard, who grew up in Bermuda, left his Wall Street job and went off to climb and fly-fish around the world. He returned stateside six months later and eventually wound up marketing for Climbing. Eight years later, Newhard formed Backbone. The next year, Simmons, who’d been working for Prudential Insurance and John Hancock in Boston, was hired. “For me, it was a way into the outdoor industry, a way into the Rockies, and a way to live this great lifestyle,” says the 36-year-old Simmons, who’s now a partner. Since then, the duo has helped turn companies like Black Diamond and Cloudveil into industry powerhouses. How? “A big part of our job,” says Newhard, 43, “is taking journalists and retailers on skiing and fishing trips so they come away believing in the products we promote. We could probably be making better money somewhere else, but this is a fun, amazing job.”

ADVICE? Simmons: “When you love your job, it shows. Good PR is not about spinning; shoot straight and people will trust you.”


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