Ann Krcik: entrepreneur and mountaineer

I started Extreme Connection, a speakers' bureau and agency for athletes, because I like the outdoors. I didn't expect to become housebound when I became an entrepreneur. But that's what happened when I first started the company, in 1992. A refugee from the outdoor-gear company North Face Inc., in Berkeley, Calif., I decided to leave the pricey Bay Area and set up shop in an affordable apartment in Salt Lake City, minutes from Utah's many outdoor playgrounds. I thought I had it made. But instead of hugging boulders in rocky canyons, I found myself glued to my phone, my fax, and my computer -- writing up proposals, checking athletes' availability, and setting up speaking engagements, photo shoots, and commercial spots. In a matter of months I came down with a severe case of cabin fever.

When I heard that some of the athletes I represented were toting laptops on mountain-climbing expeditions and stowing cellular phones in their sea kayaks, I decided it made good business sense to get plugged in myself. It's hysterical how technology is infiltrating the outdoors. People who didn't know how to type their names are suddenly exchanging E-mail over the Internet. Now I bring my PowerBook along on rock climbs and trips into the backcountry.

I type up E-mail correspondence and proposals when I'm in the woods or on a climb, and then emerge periodically to plug into a phone line at a lodge or a hotel so I can send messages and faxes and check my America Online account. I hear there are wireless modems available for my cellular phone that would enable me to exchange E-mail alfresco. That's my next technological frontier.

Now my office never closes, and I'm able to enjoy true working vacations. I represent an eclectic, far-ranging group of people. If I want to work with them, I have to travel a great deal -- which is fine with me. A recent assignment for a Silicon Graphics video took me out of the office for a long time, for three days of scouting locations and four days of shooting at California's Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. Without my PowerBook I wouldn't have been able to go on the trip. I would have had to send my assistant. Thanks to technology, I get to be outdoors and still keep up with my workload.