By Rebecca Heithoff – follow her on twitter @overpricedpopcn
In July 2010, Shannon Bahrke officially announced her retirement from the U.S Freestyle Ski Team and has been busy adjusting to her new life ever since.
“It’s really hard, you spend the last 12 years of your life dedicating yourself to trying to be the best in the world, mogul skiing and trying to achieve all these goals and so when that’s over its really hard,” Shannon expressed.
Bahrke calls Salt Lake City, Utah home so being a spectator to the 14th FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Deer Vally was especially difficult for her to watch. In her career, Bahrke skied her way to 22 podium finishes in the World Cup.
“Knowing that… you will never step in the gate again; that was a really hard thing to deal with,” Bahrke explained.
Although Barhke is no longer in competition, she is constantly approached with opportunities to play new roles within the ski community. Currently she is feeling the pressure to coach.
“I just don’t know if I’m ready for that and I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for that. I think that in some way I always want to have a tie back to freestyle and maybe coach a little bit but it’s really just too soon.”
Coaching might not be Bahrke’s lift to new ski community heights but she has plenty of other paths she is cruising. She is an ambassador for the state of California (http://www.visitcalifornia.com/Life-In-California/Inspiration/Behind-the-Scenes/ ), a business owner and fundraising to help other athletes.
As a way to give back to the ski community, Bahrke and husband Matt Happe introduced a charitable aspect to their company Silver Bean Coffee Co. “Supporting the habit,” as Bahrke described, can be costly to athletes so Silver Bean Coffee Co. has “Athlete Blends” and for every bag of coffee sold in this category supports a U.S. Ski Team athlete as well as the charity of their choice.
The “Shannon Bahrke” blend benefits the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and when you purchase her (or any athlete’s) blend you can have your choice of grind and roast.
“I want to be able to give back to the athletes,” Bahrke said. “It’s about giving back to something that is important to you.”
Although she is passionate about the “Athlete Blend” concept, Bahrke hopes to better market this in the future.
“To this point it hasn’t been nearly as successful as I wanted it to be,” she said. Bahrke explained that her goals for this charitable aspect include branching out to all levels of athleticism and hoping athlete’s sponsors will also participate.
In addition to the Silver Bean Coffee Co. coffee distribution company, last fall they opened their doors to a new retail coffee shop in Salt Lake City. Bahrke’s goal with the retail shop is to take the “coffee shop” concept from a meeting place surrounding coffee to a meeting place surrounding athleticism and friendship.
In her own words, Bahrke explained “we really want to bring that love of the outdoors and the love of activity into a coffee shop.”
Silver Bean Coffee is located at 6556 South 3000 East, Salt Lake City in the Old Mill shopping center.
Bahrke described her dream for the coffee shop would be to have a sink for athletes to fill up water bottles, a bike stand outside, a calf stretching station, a place to tie up the dog and and ultimately a place where active people can get healthy food before or after a run, ride, triathlon and, of course, a great cup of coffee.
Keeping busy in her retirement, Bahrke describes her life as “super sweet and sometimes it’s a little bit bitter. I ended my career that you can only dream about… ending it on a high. I am so thankful for that; that my last memories of mogul skiing were really good and positive so I think that is another thing I am really thankful for.”
On the flip side, Bahrke still wishes she had had a time to breath.
“I like being busy but I feel like I never got that down time that I needed to. You know, after the end of a ski season, pretty much you just decompress for like a month and you don’t work out, do things for fun, you don’t work, you kind of just decompress and I never got that. So I feel like even though I am so thankful that I transitioned into this new life, I didn’t have the decompression period so I find sometimes that I get burnt out…But now I can’t, I’m in full life mode.”
In her retirement, Bahrke looks forward to furthering her coffee business, staying active in the skiing community and hopes to someday start a family. To read more about her company visit www.SilverBeanCoffee.com or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SilverBeanCoffeeCo.