What Makes You Sweat

Jeff Bevan: Paragliding, Woodworking & Missing Smells

Jeff Bevan was born in Denver, CO and graduated from Loveland high School in 1969. In his 20’s he helped initiate the Rock Climbing Program at Colorado State University for their Outdoor Program. This program was one of the early programs of this nature offered at Universities around the nation. He spent 11 years living in Salmon, ID during the 70’s & 80’s pushing his career into the outdoor sports arena, from river running, kayak manufacturing to outdoor sport industry sales rep and settling late in the 80’s on Sales Manager for Colorado Kayak Supply. It was during this time frame he met his wife to be on a river trip to Alaska in which he was one of the guides on. He left CKS after 2 years and started a Custom Handcrafted Log Home business, pursuin log home construction until the economy short circuited in 2008 & 2009 at which time he started his door business, La Puerta Bonita. His move towards paragliding took place when his oldest daughter of 2 became involved with a young man from New Zealand who was an avid and accomplished paraglider. His casual references to his passion fueled a new fire in Jeff and he treated himself to flying lessons in Draper, UT at a well-known flying site, Point of the Mountain.

Tell us about your day job.

I am self-employed. I work with wood. I have for years everything from building grand lodges in the Finger Lakes area of New York to small weekend getaways in the Rockies. Most recently I have moved into more custom wood crafting, building custom wood doors and the occasional piece of commissioned furniture. I am currently building a new building to house my woodworking business in.

What makes you sweat more, building doors or paragliding?

I have to admit that physical work, whether it be trudging up a trail or moving doors from one spot to another in the shop is when I break a sweat. I’ve played the adrenalin based sports game for long enough that gaining the Zen like state which allows you to function on the edge is both second nature and quite enjoyable. That’s not to say I never get gripped, I do. But generally when I do it’s because I’ve messed up to one degree or another. I may be sweating but I’m also working hard to bring it back under control.

Custom woodworking - doors by Jeff Bevan

Any other extreme sports you have participated in?

I’ve played on rock for over 40 years and along the way I’ve skied, kayaked and now taken up paragliding. In all cases I tend to take my participation to the “Edge”. But I think here it is important to say that “the Edge” is very much an individual thing.

So you lost your sense of smell, how did that happen and what is that like?

In 2009 I was working alone on a log home and fell from the second floor, striking a log lying on the ground with my head. It earned me a flight for life trip to Denver in a helicopter. The long and short of that injury episode is that I lost my sense of smell and to a lesser degree my sense of taste.

It sucks to not be able to smell. Being one whose life has been wrapped in outdoor experiences, the most profound loss is the aromas associated with that environment. The single smell I miss the most is the smell of sage.

Have you devised a clever way to figure out if you stink or not?

LOL, no I haven’t and I seem to have become somewhat lackadaisical in some areas where smelling is key. Periodically, not often, my wife suggests I need to go take a shower. The funny thing here is on very rare occasions I get a very definite sense of smelling something. It is usually out of the blue and is gone before I can do much more than go, “Wow, I smelled that!”

If you could fly over anyplace in the world, where would it be and why?

Because of my long time love of climbing and the mountains, in general the place I would most love to fly is Nepal. To fly in sight of the Himalayas is high on my bucket list. As it turns out Nepal is something of a hotbed for paragliding. Second after that would be Turkey. Mountains again here play the big draw. One destination in Turkey has you flying from a mountain top above the coast and flying to a seaside beach several thousand feet below.

What is on the horizon for you (no pun intended)? Any cool trips planned?

I was able to visit Colombia last February and fly near the Equator. It was very friendly and fun. I hope to make that trip again this coming February.

Freshness Score

Power Stick Freshness Rating 4 out of 5

Power Facts

  • The compact and soft winged nature of a paraglide allows you to pack it up and take it with you so you can jump off mountains essentially anywhere.
  • Paragliding is safer than other “air sports”, under 10 a year on average, compared to 24 for skydiving and hang gliding.
  • Skilled paragliders can fly for 1-2 hours – like birds in the sky.
  • Extreme sport pioneer Jean-Marc Boivin paraglided from the summit of Mount Everest (you know, that 29,029 foot mountain that happens to be the tallest in the World).