By Stephanie Frykholm ’82
Not just any boys’ high school soccer team practices on an artificial turf field at 10,000’ elevation, but if you play for Peter Frykholm ’92 in Leadville, Colorado, you do.
Under Frykholm’s leadership, a landmark five-year community project transformed an abandoned zinc smelter into a modern athletic facility.
Frykholm devoted countless volunteer hours to everything from raising $1.1 million to manning heavy machinery. “I often spent 20 hours a week in a dump truck — unbelievable!” says the CC history major, grinning.
Today, Frykholm is gratified to see the field used by the track team running intervals, kids playing football, moms walking in exercise groups, and men playing pick-up soccer. Often Frykholm and his son, Sam, kick a soccer ball there before school.
While the field project was a “massively challenging endeavor with huge political, engineering, and fundraising obstacles,” Frykholm contrasts that “ultimately doable” project with his current coaching challenge: to keep 25 first-generation Latino boys in school and eligible to play soccer.
“Many of these boys come from profound poverty. For them, there’s a disconnect between Ms. Smith’s American Literature class and the fact that the propane tank at home is empty, a stack of sheetrock needs hauling up three flights of stairs at a condo project in Vail, and this labor will pay for the next refill of propane.
“Given this immediacy of need, it’s a real challenge to persuade the boys to embrace school and to take a longer-term view of their possibilities.”
Aside from coaching, Frykholm operates his own business — the idea for which came from brainstorming with his wife, Amy, on their sofa: Wouldn’t it be cool to have a carving of Mt. Massive after you climb it? Something where you could draw your finger along the contours and see your route? Something beautiful that would connect you to a memorable climb or favorite mountain place?
Frykholm immersed himself in the study of digital elevation models, 3-D modeling, and CNC programming. “It was the ultimate high-stakes independent study,” recollects Frykholm, who moved his family to Chicago for a year of specialized schooling.
And so, Precision Peaks was born.
Drop in today at City on a Hill coffee shop in Leadville, and you’ll see pine-framed reliefs of Mt. Massive, the Maroon Bells, the Tetons, and other memorable peaks mounted on the brick wall below the Precision Peaks motto, “What Mountain Tells Your Story?”
Surrounded by mountains, Leadville suits Frykholm as “a roll-up-your-sleeves type of town with a spunky, optimistic vibe. Need is everywhere. Because of that, so is the opportunity to make a difference. You can’t help but feel that you’re someplace special, that there’s important work to do.”
From his workshop, Frykholm cycles home, grabs soccer balls, and heads to practice, greeting his players with joshing and wit. In the background, Mt. Massive looms, sunlight glinting off its snowy peak. Emblematic of the field, this mountain bears witness to the stories played out here.
And which mountain tells Frykholm’s story? “Mt. Elbrus, in southern Russia. It’s majestic beyond description. I saw it up close during my CC semester abroad in Krasnodar — a time of tremendous growth, challenge, and transformation for me.”
Frykholm admits it would be a life dream to someday climb it. “To me, Elbrus is a symbol of possibility, of being overwhelmed and awed, of dreaming big. It tells my story — which I’m still writing.”
Writer Stephanie Frykholm ’82 is Peter’s sister.