Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Ski patroller, author, traveler, Kim Kircher is still learning how to get through life in small increments. Sometimes just fifteen minutes at a time.

She has logged over six hundred hours of explosives control, earning not only her avalanche blaster’s card, but also a heli-blaster endorsement, allowing her to fly over the slopes in a helicopter and drop bombs from the open cockpit, while uttering the fabulously thrilling words “bombs away” into the mic.

An EMT, she has received both a National Ski Patrol Purple Merit Star for saving a life as well as a Green Merit Star for saving a life in arduous conditions.

Before working in the ski industry, she received her BA and teaching certificate from the University of Washington, and taught high school English for five years.

Her articles have appeared in Powder, Women’s Adventure, The Ski Journal and Off-Piste Magazine, among others.


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She is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association. Her memoir, THE NEXT 15 MINUTES, about how ski patrolling taught her to get through her husband’s liver transplant, recently won the NASJA Harold Hirsch Book Award. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and everywhere books are sold. If you haven’t already, please buy her book. Nothing makes her more happy than the conversation starter, “I just read your book, and…”. Even if the rest is, “I hated it,” which, thankfully has never happened, Kim could probably handle it. In a way her lifestyle has cultivated a tolerance for adversity. And that, more than anything else, it what Kim’s hopes to share with her readers and listeners. Getting dirty, being outside, spending time on mountains and rivers and the world’s wild places makes you a better person. And, when the sh*t really hits the fan, it’s those moments in the trenches that remind you that you can get through the next hard thing that comes along.


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When she’s not on the slopes or writing about the outdoors, she hosts a radio program called The Edge with Kim Kircher on Voice America. She has interviewed athletes, sports psychologists, neurologists and even a hypnotist about getting out on the edge and what we can learn by pushing our limits. Some of her most popular interviews include big mountain skier Ingrid Backstrom, legendary waterman Chuck Patterson and the king of GNAR himself Robb Gaffney.

Kim is currently working on a book about the “extreme” sport experience (in quotes because “action sports” “adrenaline sports” and even “whiz-bang sports” don’t quite capture it), delving into why we take risks, what we can learn about ourselves and how those experiences can broaden our lives in surprising ways. (Hint: it’s not about being an adrenaline junkie.) Instead it’s about Kim’s favorite subject: putting yourself out there and finding out what you’re truly made of.

Thanks for being here.

P.S. Kim loves comments.

41 responses »

  1. Hi Kim.

    I just wanted to say thanks for commenting on my post the other day. It’s always great to hear from experts in the field, but it also led me to your blog, which I am thoroughly enjoying. Thank you.

  2. WOW! Kim, you totally rock! I’ve so enjoyed strolling around your site. And your blogroll is full of interesting stuff too. I’m grateful you found my blog and left a comment. A kindred spirit!
    HUGE CONGRATS on your book deal! THAT is a book I can’t wait to read!

  3. Kim,

    Love the blog! Not sure if you do any guest blogging, but I’d love to talk to you about publishing a post on my company’s blog – we are looking for an expert skier with ample ski patrol experience.

    Ping me if your interested.


  4. Hi, Kim —
    Thank you for ‘finding’ me and leaving your enthusiastic comment on my blog. I’m fascinated by the diversity of women I’m beginning to discover on She Writes. I would not classify my spirit as adventurous in the way yours is (although one can make a case for publishing as an adventure), so I’m all the more fascinated with what you do. Bhutan is a fantasy of mine. All of which is to say, I’ll be back.

  5. Pingback: Girls Trek Too!

  6. …a Merry Christmas (&/or happy holidays) at you and your colleagues… that was quite the sleigh-ride that youins provided on Dec 9… soon that ‘tibial plateau’ will be totally reunited… thanks again, truly…

  7. Hi Kim,
    Thanks for the thoughts! Yes, we lucked out missing the 92-mile-an-hour winds at Banked Slalom that happened the day before we came up. And we scored a lot of great snow. I’ll definitely look you up next time I’m at Crystal. Looks like you guys are getting dumped on! Hopefully winter’s back for a while!

  8. Dear Kim,
    We just returned last night to gather our wits after 5 gruling days. Matt, Paul’s brother, is retuning tonight with with several skiers and friends from Hood River to resume the continued search for Paul.
    The Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol and all the volunteers at the mountain were and are fantastic people. I consider them now my friend and family. Paul’s friends in “Parking Lot B”, on the patrol,and staff in all aspects of the operations of the mountain were supportive, kind, helpful and dedicated souls. My heart goes out to them in thier continued efforts to bring Paul home.

    • Bonny,
      You have often been in my prayers this past week, and I want to personally extend my hand and heart to you. I’ve known Paul for many years–we shared a locker space back when he worked on the ski patrol. While zooming to my duties, or loading the Chinook Express in the morning, I would see Paul, and he would always have a kind word and that goofy grin of his. I spoke to him just a few days before his disappearance about his diving job and how it was keeping him from his ski time. I had to laugh when he said his job only allowed him to ski four days a week. I reminded him that four ski days a week was still a pretty awesome schedule.
      I want you to know that I will not stop searching for Paul. I think of him every day, and hope to bring him home to you soon.
      All the best,

  9. Kim

    Just finished reading your interesting blog–been ski patrolling since college in CA at Tahoe. Started in 64-65 with those old wooden toboggens–transfered after college to Portland and the MHSP in 67-68–hey they hadn’t even thought of Meadows or Crystal back then much less hand held radios! I was working at Meadows when the patrol director Wong was buried back in the 80’s. I work at Timberline and the Bowl now on the weekends. I’d like to ski Crystal some time–what is your policy concerning visiting patrollers? Sorry about your missing friend–sound like he was an exceptional individual and dedicated skiier. We don’t need to loose those guys, but we need capable young patrollers like you and your group to keep us safe.

    Sam D Smith MHSP# 530

    • Sam,
      Visiting pro patrollers can usually get a ticket as long as you bring along a letter of introduction from your patrol director. You may want to give guest services a call to see if they need anything else. 360-663-3050.

  10. In our 39 years of owning property at Crystal, we are not aware of season passes ever
    extending past the regular closing of mid-April. We have over 500 people stay at our house every season and they keep coming back year after year. Several groups have already inquired about our availability for the extended season. They have season passes and are excited about your pricing plan. You usually don’t hear from people that think your plan is great.


    • Thanks Tom!
      Good to hear from you. It’s so true that first the “constructive” criticism rises to the top, then the other, more supportive, type filters in. Looks like we’ll be open for the late-spring season, thanks to the overwhelming support both here and elsewhere.

  11. Hi-

    I found your name on a thread over at and wanted to let you know that your father-in-law’s autobiography was a great read! It was in our room at Boyne Highlands this last January and I think I read the whole thing in a few ours during our warm ups back in the room. You’ve married into quite an entrepreneurially successful family! Congrats to your success and wonderful life as well. Have a great day.

    • Patrick,
      Thanks so much for stopping by, and I’m glad you liked Everett’s story. He had an extraordinary vision and he passed on much of that to my husband. Since Everett’s passing the family business has continued to grow, and I like to think he would be proud of what his children have done with it. Boyne Resorts is still the largest privately held ski company in the States, and there’s another generation of ski-minded kids to take over in the near future (actually, if they’re anything like their parents, they are genetically altered in some strange way that will allow them to be successful in this tough business).

  12. Hey Kim! You’ve got some great posts here! I enjoyed reading them and shared them on the National Ski Patrol’s Facebook page. Thanks for providing such a great blog!

    -David Frick
    NSP Marketing Coordinator

  13. Hi Kim,
    Great blog. You are certainly the “real deal” and a very good writer. I look forward to getting the book, The Next 15 Minutes. Saw your post on Unofficial Networks on the girlfried issue. I work at Squaw Valley as a PSIA instructor and always admire the hard working dedicated mountain girls that have the same passion and work ethic as the guys. Good luck. Btw, looks like you did find the guy a described in my reply to your comments. Good job!

      • Great, then you got a really good guy! I went to and I will be pre-ordering your book. I just tore my rotator cuff in a mountain bike crash and will have a 5 month recovery to be back riding and skiing. I think your book will be an interesting read to help me put that in perspective to other people’s real problems. Keep up the good work!

  14. Dear Fellow Skiers and Ski Instructors, I created a funny rock/rap ski music video which can be found on youtube by searching Pirate Ski Lesson Rap. I hope folks will enjoy this, get a few laughs and share with others too! Have a great season!

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  16. Hi Kim!

    I read your book “The Next 15 Minutes” and throughly enjoyed it. I never realized all the work patrollers put in to make our slopes safe. And I’m glad to your husband was able to receive a new liver. I’m a Mt. Hood skier, but have wanted to ski Crystal for some time now. Do you have a recommendation for cheap lodging nearby? If I ever make it out your way I’d love to look you up and have you sign my book.

    • Linda,
      I’m so glad you liked my book. Did you check out the “lodging” options on the Crystal website? We don’t run the hotels, but they are all linked there. I’ve also heard of some good deals on FRBO, where you can find someone renting their house in nearby Greenwater, so check that out as well. Let me know if you make it up!

  17. Your right……no powder days on snowboards. Hummm wonder what that 2600 foot of white bliss called Bloddy Couloir in mammoth lakes CA I ride on my splitboard is? I guess those face shots of powder were fake.
    You dont rise high enough to comment on me…… ride resorts ( yuck)

    • Ray,

      Sounds like you’re not an intermediate or beginner, the user group this post was intended to discuss. But I don’t understand what you mean. I’m not allowed to comment on you?

  18. Hey Kim, what you’re doing is inspiring to me, especially the part about being an English teacher for 5 years and taking a leave to the mountains and permanently staying! Thanks for everything. I’m staying extra aware for my next opportunity to spend more time pursuing outdoor passions! Let me know if you hear of anything in the Tahoe region!

    • Meghan!

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve made a few Tahoe friends over the years, but don’t have any current connections there. Fortunately there’s enough “town” there to support an annual influx of newbies. My advice is to start looking early. Don’t wait until the middle of the ski season to look for work and housing. Best of luck, and keep me posted on your progress.

  19. Hi Kim and Meghan,
    I work at Squaw Valley, part time, during the Winter. We own a house in Truckee and I split my time between Truckee, CA and the SF Bay Area during the Winter. Truckee is a wonderful mountain town and has a real community of people that are a small town bunch. It’s the most vibrant and real town in the Lake Tahoe region. It has access to Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and to Northstar, Sugar Bowl and also has a large back country scene. I enjoy working at Squaw and Truckee has good employment opportunity as well. I agree with Kim, start early rather than later. Try and find a job that gives you a season pass. I hope you make Truckee you new home. I have read many posts by Kim and admire her passion and attitude as well. Good luck!

  20. Pingback: Learning Calmness Through Snow Skiing with Kim Kircher

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