A Bold Community 5

Local Professionals Pursue Passion for Adventure

Bend attracts the adventurous. There are mountains to climb, trails to run, roads to ride, skies to fly, and rivers to navigate. And if any of that gets old, we simply create new possibilities. Meet some local adventurers and find out what makes them tick. Maybe you’ll be inspired to strike out on some new adventure of your own!


Emilie Cortes

Age: 41
Occupation: Motivational Speaker/
Independent Guide
Adventure Sport: Mountaineering
Why: The sense of exploration and challenge feeds me in a way that no other pursuit does.
Best Memory: Climbing Mt. Stanley (16,762 ft.) in Uganda to celebrate my 40th birthday. The local guides said they had never seen anyone, man or woman, climb all three country high peaks (Speke at 16,0483 ft. and Baker at 15,892 ft.) with no rest days.
Giving Back: I’m currently serving as a volunteer guide in Afghanistan with a group of Afghani women ages 16 to 25. I’ll be helping to lead them to the top of their country’s highest peak, Mt. Noshaq (24,580 ft.).
What You’ll Learn: Mountaineering teaches you how to set big goals and achieve them, as well as deal with disappointment when factors out of your control keep you from summiting, despite your best efforts.


Selina Witt

Age: 59
Occupation: Investment Advisor Representative, Oregon Financial Services Group
Adventure Sport: Small Team Dog Sled Sprint Racing
Why: Working and training with amazing athletes who are the sled dogs. Being on trails with just the quiet of the forest and the beauty of the mountains.
Best Memory: We were about five miles out on the trails at Wanoga Butte. My team got a whiff of something and picked up speed. About 50 yards in front of us, a coyote darted out in front. The coyote darted off the trail, but my dogs stayed focused.
Giving Back: One of my lead dogs is a registered therapy dog. We volunteer with St. Charles Medical Center and Redmond Hospice, visiting patients and staff members.
What You’ll Learn: It involves learning about responsibility; the dogs need to be taken care of throughout the year, not just during the winter.


Chris Kramer

Age: 47
Occupation: Pastor, Nativity Lutheran Church
Adventure Sport: Cyclist
Why: Do you remember the joy of learning how to ride for the first time? I feel that every time I get on my bike.
Best Memory: Biking to the top of McKenzie Pass. I ran into 4 inches of unplowed snow and just kept going. It was even work to go downhill that day. But being the only one on top of the pass was awesome!
Giving Back: I commute to work on my bike. It’s good for me and it’s good for the planet. In my professional life, if I am trying to convey that lifestyle changes have a big effect on social justice issues, I’d better be making those changes myself.
What You’ll Learn: If more of us were focused on healthy living, as a nation we could direct more funding toward efforts that build people up.


Stephanie Howe Violett, PhD

Age: 32
Occupation: Professional Athlete, Endurance and Nutrition Coach
Adventure Sport: Trail and 
Ultra Running
Why: Running is so freeing. I love being on trails and in the mountains. On a treadmill, it’s exercise, in nature, it’s the experience. And you don’t need a lot of gear.
Best Memory: When I won the Western States 100-Miler. And, when my husband and I adventure out on runs together. We just go! Like the time our three-hour run around Three Fingered Jack took eight hours. “We aren’t lost,” he said. “We just can’t find the trail.”
Giving Back: Trail stewardship is a requirement of many of the races. It’s important to give back to the trails that give so much.
What You’ll Learn: Being outdoors, exploring with your two feet! It’s not expensive. It’s a great connection to nature and anyone can do it.


Rick Wright

Age: 62
Occupation: Owner/Designer/Drafter, Wright Design Studio
Adventure Sport: White Water Kayaking
Why: Working with moving water, it’s dynamic and forces you to be spontaneous. It’s a wonderful way to see parts of wilderness that you can’t see from paths or roads.
Best Memory: When my wife and I ran the Grand Canyon in a two-person kayak. And doing my first roll—in 1982 at 1st Street Rapids. I flipped and actually made the roll that time. It was exhilarating.
Giving Back: I’ve been an organizer for the Riverhouse Rendezvous paddle race and have been a member of the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance, which was instrumental in creating the Bend Whitewater Park. I’m also a member of the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council.
What You’ll Learn: The sport demands mental focus, physical prowess, and it’s an adrenaline rush—and after all that, there is the calm and the scenery and the wildlife.


Bill Warburton

Age: 35
Occupation: Cycling Director, Bend Endurance Academy
Adventure Sport: Cyclocross
Why: It’s racing. You really only do cyclocross if you’re competing. And, because of the season, it pushes you to continue biking October thru January.
Best Memory: My experiences traveling with the junior teams I coach; going across country to new towns with the students.
Giving Back: I served on the team that brought the Cyclocross Nationals to Bend for two years. There were the races, art shows, speakers; we built a lot of connections for this growing sport.
What You’ll Learn: It’s the best way to get used to competing on a bike. All races are under an hour. It’s a mental push with repetition on the course, allowing for experimentation.