When Alissa Johnson first came to Crested Butte, she didn’t think her life would suddenly shift as much as it did. For an outdoors lover, the town had everything she enjoyed, along with a unique beauty and charm that only Crested Butte provides. She decided to take a leap of faith, quit her corporate job, and moved to the small mountain town.

That was nine years ago. Since then she launched a business of her own as a writing coach and continues to pursue projects that allow her to follow her main love—writing. Alissa is relatively new to Montanya Distillers, but you’ve likely already come across much of her work. She’s the voice behind Montanya’s blogs and has helped make the website a better experience for all. According to Karen Hoskin, Alissa has a wide array of amazingly important skills that she brings to her work at Montanya Distillers every day, helping the company reach more people about who we are.

Alissa shares a bit more about her journey to Crested Butte, her writing dream, and something she won’t ever forget:

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Discovering Crested Butte

I found Crested Butte in 2010. I was newly single, fresh from grad school, and looking for something different because I’d lived in Minnesota and the upper Midwest my whole life. I visited a friend in Crested Butte, and it felt like Disney World for people who love the outdoors. There was something new around every corner, and it had a sort of magic to it. I quit my communications job at Target headquarters and moved to Crested Butte with my dog. My friend joked that she’d help me find a job, a Townie bike, and probably a boyfriend. Sure enough, she did all three (and eight years later the boyfriend is still a great match).

Mid-Life Reckoning Leads to Montanya

I hit a milestone birthday in 2018 and it sparked what I call my mid-life reckoning. Not a crisis, but a good hard look at life. I was running my own business as a writing coach but realized that all my lifetime goals were related to writing. I shut down my business and looked for writing and communications work flexible enough to do my own projects too. Karen mentioned a communications position and it seemed like a no brainer. I love Montanya Distillers and working with people like Karen who are passionate and innovative. It’s also great to help her tell the company's story and know it’s genuine.

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Looking to the future, Alissa has her eye on a book of her own!

In five years, I hope I’ve published my first book. That’s the real reason I made all these changes! I’m working on a novel about a female scientist in the early 1900s. I had a chance to read part of it out loud at a literary pub crawl this winter—talk about making it feel real!

Her Four-legged Partner in Crime and Newest Addition

As I shared, I moved here with my dog, Mica. She was known by many as the “sasspot” because she had an agenda of her own and let you know it. I once lost her out on the Cement Creek trail here in Colorado and found her riding in someone else’s car. She gave me this really excited, happy look like, “Hey! There you are! Wasn’t that the best adventure?” She died just shy of 14 and left a huge hole in our lives. After a year without a dog, my boyfriend and I recently adopted a border collie/pit mix who is Mica’s opposite. Ellie doesn’t bark, does what we ask without attitude, and loves to cuddle. It makes me laugh; Mica was my partner in crime, but I didn’t know having a dog could be so easy.

Something She’ll Never Forget!

I used to lead wilderness trips, including a solo-led, six-week canoe trip in the Northwest Territories. We traveled several hundred miles, crossing the Arctic Circle and reaching the Arctic Ocean. I’ll never forget how alone I felt watching the bush plane leave us that first day. We were on the shore of a lake so big I couldn’t see the other side, surrounded by tundra, and traveling through grizzly country—and I was in charge. I turned 22 on that trip and still marvel at the responsibility. It was nothing short of amazing, and the participants are now among my best friends. Including the one who convinced me to move to Crested Butte!

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