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Kee has found niche in Pa. mountains

September 06, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - When he was growing up in Middletown, Md., John Kee loved the outdoors, especially the mountains, and he knew someday he would make a career there.

Recently, as he took in the picturesque view of Whitetail Ski Resort and Mountain Biking Center from atop his bike, Kee was beaming when he spoke about realizing his dream.

"It's definitely not a bad place to spend my day," said Kee, 28, of Hagerstown.

Kee is the mountain bike school director at Whitetail, as well as the resort's mountain bike events coordinator. His dual jobs have him doing everything from teaching novices the basics of mountain biking to organizing races with experienced competitors.

He spends most of his week on his bike. He said it beats sitting behind a desk any day.

"I'm one of the few people who actually like getting up in the morning and coming to work," Kee said.

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He bicycled in BMX as a child but later skiing became his passion, so much that after graduating from Middletown High School in 1988, he headed to Colorado to work as a ski instructor for a winter.

That one winter turned into seven years and, during that time, Kee found a new sporting love: mountain biking. Soon, he was spending more time on the bike than on skis.

"I really began to feel that winter was too long and summer was too short," he said.

So he returned home in 1995, taking on several different jobs before landing a position at Whitetail a year later.

He loves being able to teach people the skills and techniques he learned through trial and error over the years.

"It's nice to see someone come in with a hesitant look on their face and then leave later that day with a smile, some dirt on their face and ready to go out for some more," he said.

Kee said that while he is living "a charmed life," he also is taking accounting and business classes at Hagerstown Community College, hoping to move up mountain biking's corporate ladder.

"I love what I do, but I would love to advance," he said.

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