Our long-time employee and friend Kris Keys is retiring from Zephyr at the end of the month.
I first met Kris in September of 1998 at the North Shore Inline Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. Kris approached my booth where I was promoting our skate tours—we were in only our second season—and I found her to be smart and personable. When she said she was completing a masters in marketing and just needed to complete a final project, I said “I think I could find a project for you to work on.”
In 1999 Kris completed a detailed marketing analysis of my new, small tour company, consisting of a written survey and telephone interviews with our travelers and potential travelers. The results were highly useful and thus it was that one year later, in May of 2000, I approached Kris with this:
“I have a terrible job offer for you. It is only half time for now and although you can start by working out of your own home, the job is going to move somewhere in the Rocky Mountains later this year and I am not sure exactly where yet.”
Kris took the job and started working for Zephyr on May 20 and moved to a full-time role on August 21, 2000. Now, 22.5 years later, Kris is retiring.
Our staff love Kris for her loyalty, professionalism, and good humor. Our travelers love Kris for her warmth, care taking, and leadership. Kris has consistently scored above 4.9 as a guide on our 5.0 scale – which is a high bar and not easy to do.
But all good things must come to an end and we are both sad and excited to see Kris moving on. I founded Zephyr with the idea that “life is more important than work” and Kris has other things to do with her life. She was recently elected to the Red Lodge city council, needs to spend time helping her husband run his own small business, and – hopefully – will have more time to enjoy the beautiful Beartooth Mountains that she loves.
Kris, thank you for spending 22.5 years with Zephyr and with me. I am honored that you did so and grateful to have had you in my life.
NOTE: If you would like to join Kris on a 2023 tour, she will be guiding our Glacier National Park Hiking Adventure August 6 – 10 and our Chamonix Hiking Adventure September 7 – 12.
12 thoughts on “Farewell to Kris Keys”
Greetings Kris and Michael
Although my intro to these two was in the past two years (pandemic times), the impression is lasting. Her tending to details and making one comfortable in the trips far surpassed any normal expectations. Thank you so much for sharing your enthusiasm, expertise and love of the outdoors.
Tim and I wish you the best in future plans and endeavors. Keep that ready smile and love of making friends where ever you go. Jane & Tim Florea
Kris getting a 4.9 out of 5.0 is akin to Derek Jeter getting 396 out 397 votes for the Hall of Fame…. You want to find out who the missing link was in the vote, and examine their sanity. 😉 The people that will miss Kris the most, future adventurer travelers, will luckily not even know what they missed. Congrats, Kris… on the long fun-filled Zephyr run, of adventure and excellence, and cheers to your most certainly bright future endeavors. ~Ken
Sending a million best wishes for Kris in her new adventure. We’ve had some amazing fun with her over the years, and will always hold her in the highest regard.
Peggy Benzing and Jim Shaw
Hi Alan, A lovely summary of your life with Kris. She is a treasure and I know she will be missed. My friend Susan Warren and I are signed up for the NewFoundland bike tour in September, and are sorry she will not be leading that tour. C’est la vie. I hope you are well. All my best wishes to you and your daughter for healthy and happy New Year
I’m so glad that Zephyr Adventures is thriving, no doubt due to efforts by Kris! I was relieved to hear that you were surviving the pandemic and will be here for future adventures!
Farewell but not goodbye. Can she also guide our Galapagos trip in Dec? We’ve never taken a zephyr adventure without her. Xxoo Marilyn Macallair.
Of my 13 trips with Zephyr so far, Kris must have guided at least half. I will miss her so much. Thank you Kris for your kindness and love. I always felt like I had my big sister with me on your trips. Blessings and keep up your good work out there!!❤️ I hope you will guide w Zephyr occasionally in the future and if so, I will definitely be there!
Hard to believe that the voice of Zephyr is moving on, but as Allan has noted above, all good things must come to an end. And as we all know, Kris is not only a good thing, she is also the REAL thing. Not sure how she keeps that bubbly personality all the time!
We will ALL miss you, Kris, but we all know that you will continue to have fun in your future endeavors. Thanks for these 22.5 years.
Kris will certainly be missed. I was fortunate enough to go on several trips with Kris and she always had a smile on her face. Thank you Kris, our door is always open in Coronado for you! Much love, Susie and Doug.
Hey Kris, really enjoyed the skate tours with you. You’re easy going and fun to be around. I’m still skating and I hope you are too 😊
Many fond memories, from beginner Skate Camp in Hilton Head (when I was 63 and earned my “nickname” by skating backward into a hockey goal) to 3 tours in Europe and several in the States and the time at your cabin in Red Lodge where I spent the night with my good Buddy, Elvis. Kris, Thanks to your training and support, I am still skating 15 to 25 miles twice a week in Carbondale in summer (now skiing). May you enjoy your ?? Retirement?? And all things Good. If ever in the Vail area please connect and I’ll do same if in Montana.
I’ve been on a few trips with Kris and she is just one of those unforgettable people – always a good listener, incredibly good at her job but also at prioritizing what’s important in life. I feel very fortunate to have been on trips that she has guided, and definitely hope to see her again. Zephyr’s success is due in large part to her expertise and warmth (you too, Allan)! Wishing Kris the very best in all future endeavors.