24hrs with a Local

24 hours with a Local: Hemingway Steam School Teacher Ross Parsons

Life has come full circle for Ross Parsons, a teacher at Hemingway Steam School, where he himself went to elementary school. The school expanded to pre-k through 8th grade in 2017, which was Ross’s first year teaching back at his alma mater. Before returning to the Valley and becoming a teacher, Ross worked as a field instructor at the McCall Outdoor Science School, ski patrolled at Snowbasin in Utah, and was a U.S. Forest Service/BLM River Ranger on the Salmon, Rogue, Owyhee, and Bruneau Rivers. He now teaches 6th grade science, 7th grade math, and 8th grade advisory, and works a second job as a ski patroller in the winters (taking after his father, Ron Parsons, a ski patroller since 1979). Ross’s wife, Mya, is a fellow teacher at Hemingway (5th grade). The two met through Mya’s brother, Ross’s best friend in college, and after dating long-distance between Ketchum and Breckenridge, Ross convinced her to move here. “You gotta import the good ones,” he says of his wife, describing her as his “best friend on the planet.” The two live on Warm Springs out Board Ranch, just past Penny Lake, with their eight-month-olds twins, Redd and Maeve (the birth of whom Ross describes as the “best day ever”) and their husky mutt Pato (“duck” in Spanish). When not in the classroom or on the hill, Ross loves hanging out with his kids: changing diapers, reading books, and singing the “Macarena” and “Single Ladies,” which he has decided are the two best songs for babies. He also loves mountain biking, skiing (obviously), and gazing at wildflowers.

How does Ross Parsons morning start?

Ross: I’m gonna wake up, change two diapers, see the smiles on my kids’ faces, which you just cannot put a price tag on. I really enjoy walking around in the morning in our flower garden with them, just bopping around, when it’s quiet and there’s nothing going on in the world.

What about breakfast? Coffee? You go out or cook at home?

Ross: There’s no good breakfast places in Ketchum. I wish there was a working person’s breakfast place in this town, like open at 6am. I just think back to like, the Western Café and Buckin’ Bagels. I’d cook breakfast at home: eggs, toast, cottage cheese. Cottage cheese has made a comeback in my life.

What’s after breakfast?

Ross: I like going on morning walks. I feel like people in this town go too fast too much. My friend Colter Brehmer says to me every time I see him, “Dude, you gotta soak it in.” So it’s been the summer of soaking it in. I like five-, ten-, fifteen-, twenty-minute morning walks with the dog, kids, wife—anybody. Just soak it in, quiet time of day.

Where to next?

Ross: We’ve been in to going to the splash parks, Memory Park on the north end of Main Street and then Atkinson Park. Tip of the hat to Ketchum Parks Department; those guys and gals crush it. All Ketchum city parks are awesome. The splash parks have been awesome for kids and beautiful. I feel like any day spent out on the trail is also pretty awesome. Trail Coalition, Forest Service—they do such a good job on our trails.

Which trail would you head to?

Ross: Hard to say. Any one with dirt on it!

What’s for lunch?

Ross: If I go out anywhere in town, I usually go into Johnny G’s. It was really cool to see that business stay here and the Thomas boys are awesome people.

What do you like to get there?

Ross: I’m a simple guy; #20, Chicken Ceasar.

What’s after lunch?

Ross: Right now the kids are going down for a big afternoon nap from 2–4 so I gotta plan my day around that. But I’d probably go down to the river. Any time on water is time well spent—skipping rocks, fishing, anything to make my two kids laugh. It’s pretty amazing to think that every person in this Valley is within a mile of some piece of running river or creek. I feel like the river’s pretty underutilized, just in terms of relaxation.

What are you getting up to pre-dinner?

Ross: Maybe I’d grab a couple buddies, a six pack of cold beverages from the gas station and head back to the river. The river is a great place to have a few afternoon drinks. The company’s always good, the views are great, and it’s never too loud.

What’s for dinner?

Ross: I love to cook with Mya. That’s one of our favorite things we do together. I love to cook anything, anything different and new. I’m a sucker for anything Asian, which is very broad. Out in town, I’m a sucker for La Cabanita. I love their small tacos, they’re top-notch.

What do you like to do after dinner? TV? Play a game?

Ross: I hate board games. Had too many bad experiences with board games. Evenings are slow. I feel like I stare at my kids a lot right now. Watch the sun go down after the kids go to sleep.

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