Profile: Ginny Turner

By Dawne Belloise

Like Crested Butte kids, Ginny Turner grew up at the end of the road, but in Girdwood, Alaska, home to Mt. Alyeska. In fact, locals of that town were known as “End of the Roaders,” she tells. Also like CB, it’s a ski resort town except, she smiles, “You can see the ocean from the top of the mountain.” Ginny’s father was chief of grooming at the ski area, which came with perks like a free ski pass for her. She recalls that it was kind of like the wild west back then with plenty of partying, and as the resort gained popularity, she relates it to CB, “People being pushed out, not enough places for workers to live, and it got expensive.”

As kids they skied, of course, and the area had night skiing. When the snows melted, it was all about biking and playing in the woods. If it was raining, which it did a lot there, Ginny laughs that they’d still go out and play, “Rain wasn’t an excuse because it was raining all the time.” Since the local school only went through eighth grade, the high schoolers were bussed to Anchorage. “I got on the bus at 5:30 in the morning and school started at 7:30 a.m. I was doing cross country skiing, running and track so we didn’t get home until much later.” 

“In the winter, I left home in the dark and got back in the dark because from December through mid-February, it didn’t start getting light out until 10 a.m. and it was dark by 3 p.m.” The upside to that was that the sun never seemed to set during the summers. Throughout school, Ginny trained in sports constantly, because, “The high school ski racing in Alaska is a very competitive, high-pressure scene,” she says. 

By the time she graduated from high school in 1993, she knew she wanted out of Alaska. Ginny chose Western State College (WSC) (now Western Colorado University) because the brochure looked nice. “The brochure said 360 days of sunshine and I was coming from one of the most northern rain forests in the world where we get so much precipitation yearly. I wanted the sunshine.” At WSC, she had already spoken with the Nordic coach. “I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do but I was pretty burnt out and I was done with Nordic racing. So I decided I didn’t want to keep doing that to myself. I needed a break,” she felt.

Once settled into Gunnison, Ginny laughs that she became localized. “I was full on in my broomstick skirt, my Guatemalan sweaters and wearing patchouli. I went from grunge to hippie pretty quickly. But I loved Western. I made a lot of really good friends there. I loved Hartman’s so I went running there a lot.” 

In 1995, Ginny applied for the high school coaching job for the CB Nordic Team. She was only 19 years old and had a blast teaching 18-year-olds. The position reignited her love of Nordic skiing and she coached for three years. “That’s what got me into Crested Butte and back into Nordic skiing and I’m grateful for that. I lived in Gunnison but was in CB a lot,” she says, so she moved up valley in the winter of 1999.

Ginny was working at the Avalanche during the winter of 1999/2000, when she met her now hubby Sean Turner. Having been a ski bum long enough, Ginny felt it was time to switch up gear and be a beach bum for a while. When she told Sean she had decided to move to southern California, he told Ginny he was also moving there and suggested they share a U-Haul. They had been dating and decidedly liked each other, but at the time, they were barely committed. They moved to separate towns in the same area in California, “I was 25 and gun shy,” she smiles.

Ginny moved to San Diego. “At the time I was really interested in physical fitness and personal training. I figured San Diego is such a mecca for fitness.” She had worked at Rocky’s Gym in Gunnison for a couple of years and felt that she would not only enjoy becoming a personal trainer, but she’d be really good at it. Ginny started out working at one of those giant gyms while getting certified for personal training. She took her education further and enrolled at the University of California at San Diego. 

“It was basically their night school, a year-long program,” where she learned physiology, anatomy, how to program design, how to assess people and body composition. She was certified as a personal trainer in 2000 through the International Sports Science Association (ISSA). Afterwards, she was additionally certified with the American College of Exercise (ACE), and then in 2005 through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), who are more clinically based, such as dealing with heart conditions, diabetes and obesity. 

In 2004, Ginny was hired at a private studio called Malagros. “I worked with so many different kinds of people, conditions and the most difficult clients in California. So much is based in behavioral change. It’s not about calories or diets or exercise, it’s about making positive changes in behavior to support a healthy lifestyle.” She explains that the most difficult clients were those having to deal with behavior change. “It was frustrating. They didn’t see the changes that they wanted to see because at the time, we weren’t training in a way that changed behavior, we were training to lose weight. As new research comes out and is proven now, we’re understanding how to help people better. This is the reason I love training so much, the learning is never over,” she says of her now 24 years of experience.

Ginny and Sean married on the Hawaiian island of Kauai in 2004. “We decided to do more than share a U-Haul,” she grins. Their son Augie came along in 2006 and daughter Lulu was born in 2009 in Encinitas. “We went from the hospital straight to the beach to get their toes dipped in the Pacific because we wanted them to be in touch with the ocean. It was a great place to have kids. There were naked babies on the beach all the time.” 

Ginny started a mobile personal trainer business for home, offices and even the beach. “It was really good with two little kids since I was able to do it on my own schedule.” But the tides changed and Ginny decided that southern California just wasn’t her place. Even though it was a great place to have kids, they determined they didn’t want to raise their children there. They considered moving to Alaska, Oregon and northern California but, in the end, the young family returned to Crested Butte in 2011.

Sean was working construction and Ginny was making sandwiches at Why Cook when she started doing little group workouts in the park in CB South and Rainbow Park. She also helped with the winter sports conditioning program through the town, the ever-popular Achy Backs and Creaky Knees conditioning classes, but Ginny really wanted to open her own place. “I was tired of traveling and training in random places and wanted my own space. Gretchen Wassinger ran out of the Daily Dose one day and said the space above her was for rent.” Ginny signed the lease in 2014 and her fitness place Core was born. In 2019, she bought a space in the Horseshoe Building behind Clark’s Market to host her fitness training. In her gym, she runs group classes and personal training. “My philosophy in training is rooted in functional training,” she explains. Her tagline is “Train to Play.” “We do a lot of core focus. There are four personal trainers and three other class instructors.” Ginny feels she’s come full circle from the time she began coaching those high school kids with the CB Nordic team. “I still work with so many of those parents and I’m training them now at my gym.” 

Ginny is grateful for her life here and she feels there’s endless exploration to be done in the area. “I love the valley. Just this summer I found a whole new place that I’d never been to—Owl Creek pass,” she says. “What really makes me happy and keeps me here is the community and the amazing year-round recreation. I love that you can ice skate on Blue Mesa and then go skiing and then zip somewhere else for a bike ride or a hike,” she says of the never-ending diversity of outdoor life here.

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