Fossett called low-key adventurer

Scott Miller

BEAVER CREEK ” Steve Fossett may be a daring record-setter, but he’s also an unassuming guy.

That, at least, is the opinion of a handful of locals who know the part-time Beaver Creek resident, who this week completed the first non-stop around-the-world airplane flight.

“He’s very low-key. You wouldn’t think he’d be doing the things he’s doing,” said Merlin Sagon, owner of Camelot Balloons. Sagon taught Fossett to fly hot-air balloons several years ago.

“It wasn’t hard,” Sagon said. “He picked it up real fast.”

Being a quick study is essential in Fossett’s world.

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“He’s always got multiple adventure projects planned,” said Tony O’Rourke, director of the Beaver Creek Resort company. “He tried to set a world altitude record in a glider in New Zealand a few months ago … It’ll be interesting to see what he’s planned next.”

What Fossett plans next could be just about anything adventurous. In addition to his flying and sailing exploits, he’s competed in the Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska, the 24 Hours of LeMans auto race and the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii.

Apparently, though, anyone meeting Fossett for the first time would never know he has a enough records to stuff a trophy room. The two words most used to describe him are “low key.”

“I met him right after his trans-Atlantic balloon flight,” local balloon pilot Frank Mack said. “He’s a real nice guy.”

Sagon agreed.

“I can’t think of a nicer guy to be doing all this,” he said.

But Fossett’s low key persona hides an inner drive.

“He’s the definition of determination and persistence,” Sagon said. “It took him six attempts to go around the world in a balloon.

“It’s refreshing seeing people go out and having that kind of energy,” he added. “I have a great deal of admiration for Steve.”

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado

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