Dave Whalen, Country Club at Castle Pines
Enjoying all that Colorado has to offer
By Chris Michlewicz; photos courtesy of the Whalen family
Few transplants have embraced the Colorado lifestyle as quickly and enthusiastically as Dave Whalen. By weekday, Whalen is the chief operating officer and general manager for the Country Club at Castle Pines. By weekend, he and his wife of 27 years, Tammy, are full-on adventurers.
The Whalens moved to Castle Rock from the western suburbs of Chicago three years ago, and promptly bought all of the accessories needed for their planned excursions: skis, hiking boots and clothes, apps to find the top places to hike, and even a can of bear spray – just in case.
As some of us have, Whalen even had the honor of accidentally going down a black diamond run at a ski resort, resulting in a treacherous traverse down a steep slope.
“There’s a lot we’ve done in the short amount of time we’ve been here, and there’s still a lot I want to do,” said Whalen.
The Front Range is a far cry from Whalen’s home state of Florida, where he grew up just a stone’s throw away from the ocean. He admits he’s still making the transition from ocean lover to mountain guru, but an active lifestyle is nothing new to the 56-year-old.
“Anything outdoors is what I grew up with,” said Whalen, who has participated in everything from soccer to swimming to racquetball. Whalen hasn’t played golf competitively, but said he enjoys playing recreationally. With such a pristine course at hand, a round or two with friends is that much more enjoyable.
Two of the Whalens’ three daughters — ages 26, 24 and 19 — have joined them in Colorado, and the third is on her way. The family first got acquainted with our great state when they came with their church to volunteer at food pantries and homeless shelters. After spending a week in the Denver area, they stayed in Breckenridge and soon were enamored with all Colorado has to offer.
Since arriving, the Whalens have enjoyed ATVing, whitewater rafting and mountain climbing. Now, “I’m not allowed to leave,” Whalen said, noting that his profession often requires frequent moves. “My wife made it clear she’s not going anywhere, and I’m completely fine with that,” he said.
Just as the 620-member Country Club at Castle Pines has plans to expand its amenities – with a swimming pool, tennis courts and fitness areas – the Whalens have plans to further expand their horizons. They have the drive; all they need is their gear and a map.
“I absolutely love being here,” Whalen said. “I’m just enjoying every day of it.”