Cortez Tours is a small business, and small businesses are run by people, normal, everyday people. So, I'd like to introduce myself:
Hi! I'm Helen West! By day I'm a band director at a local high school.
I started Cortez Tours (back then it was called 'West Adventures & Tours') in 2018 as a summer job. As a teacher, I felt like I needed to fill my summers with something a little more interesting than playing video games and cuddling my cats...so I started looking for seasonal jobs. I am fascinated by history, folklore, and science so I knew I wanted to do something in the tourism industry. Most tours in the southwest Colorado area, however, seem to focus on adventure sports: rafting, mountain biking, and jeeping. I did none of those at the time (I have since started mountain biking, and if you haven't tried it yet, do it! You are missing out!), so I started my own tour business.
When I travel I specifically look for small local businesses to book tours from. I also like to learn about new cities by walking through them - looking at the buildings and the people and the plants. I started Cortez Tours with people like me in mind - folks that want to get out, walk, learn about the area they are visiting, and maybe make a new friend.
When I'm not guiding tours you can either find me paddle boarding, swimming, backpacking, hiking or mountain biking with friends, helping manage my family's lavender farm, or doing yard work around the house with my partner, Casey. (I also do play a fair bit of video games, but only when the sun goes down!)
In the future, I would love to grow Cortez Tours into a business that operates multiple tours a day and employs at least a dozen or so people. I imagine offering longer hikes in the surrounding mountains or partnering with local bike businesses to offer entry-level, exploratory mountain biking tours. Right now, though, Cortez Tours is just me, a very small sole proprietorship. Still, running a small business is a lot of fun, and I've learned a lot about taxes, social media, web design, marketing, and generally running...well, a business! Of course, what I love most is designing and guiding tours and meeting incredible people from all around the world.
SOME THINGS ABOUT ME
Favorite Video Game:
Assassin's Creed or Tomb Raider franchise (I said I loved history, right?)
Where I Went to College:
American University (BA in music performance & economics)
The University of Northern Colorado (Master's in music education)
Favorite Time of Day:
Sunrise & Sunset
Favorite Place I've Visited:
Iceland...or Edinburg, Scotland