Monday, October 10, 2011

First for Colorado's ski season: Wolf Creek Ski Area

An early October snowfall allowed Wolf Creek Ski Area in southern Colorado to be the first in the state to open for the 2011-12 ski season. Typically the ski area that gets the most snow, Wolf Creek never has been among the first to open. It's earliest opening was Oct. 27, 2006. But now it has set a record, opening on Oct. 8 with a 35-inch snow depth at the summit. It will stay open through Columbus Day, then re-open for the weekend of the 15th and 16th. Conditions will likely dictate if it will stay open for the rest of the month.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kim Kircher: The Next Fifteen Minutes—Strength from the Top of the Mountain

Kim Kircher's risky duties as a member of the ski patrol at Crystal Mountain in Washington would challenge any woman . . . or man. They are nothing compared to the challenges she faced when her husband John, the owner of Crystal, was near death's door from a congenital liver condition called primary schlerosing cholangitis.

In The Next Fifteen Minutes—Strength from the Top of the Mountain, Kim details her and John's ordeal in an intensely personal story. She compares how she dealt with the surprises and sadness of his illness with how she faced the dangers of her job on the mountain, complicated by her own disease of diabetes.

"Each visit to the clinic, every time a nurse drew blood in search of infection, every time Dr. Gores entered the room with a dour look on his face. . .I would turn toward the terrible thing and face it," she writes.

Recovering dead bodies, throwing bombs into avalanches, cutting through deep new snow on avalanche-prone terrain, suffering insulin shock—none of this was as difficult as watching her husband's battle with life.

"At least I could hold John's had, knowing that soon it may lose its warmth. I could mourn each passing heartbeat right alongside him, worrying over the countdown. At least I could fight with him, helping him gather strength, and if the end came, I would face it with him. I would, at least, have a chance to say goodbye."

Any woman or man who has nurtured a loved one through illness, anyone with diabetes, or anyone who loves skiing will devour this book. The gripping narrative goes from hospital room to the mountain and back, each memory told "in the next fifteen minutes."

Kim's book was just released by Behler Publications. It's a paperback, selling for $15.95. I highly recommend it.