My memoir, THE NEXT 15 MINUTES (Behler, 2011), takes readers on a wild ride of salvation, finding answers to a scary diagnosis on the ski slopes. Click here to order.

As a ski patroller, I use explosives to prevent avalanches and my EMT training to save lives.  When my husband got sick, it was the most important job yet:  rescue him.  My training taught me how to survive any crisis, even a terrible diagnosis:  just calm down and breathe.  During the twelve months waiting for the liver transplant that would save him, I conquered my greatest fear by returning to the mountains.  I mined our lives spent skiing, climbing, and exploring the wilderness for lessons I could apply to our current dilemma.  THE NEXT FIFTEEN MINUTES offers a rare glimpse into the strange and fascinating world of ski area work, where steep terrain and deep snow, the twin fuels that run our business, can teach us how to get through the worst trials just fifteen minutes at a time.


“When I read memoirs or listen to a speaker, I want to learn and I want to be inspired.  Kim and John’s story does both.  Everyone has a story to tell and Kim tells their’s well.  Kim and John’s lives will inspire all readers and allow us to pull lessons learned from their lives and struggles.  We as reader gains strength and hope through the sharing of their story.” Phil Ershler, AMGA Certifitied Alpine Guide and author of Together on Top of the World

“Kim’s positivity and grace under pressure is incredibly inspirational.  Her story is a joy to read, and it reminds all of us to get outside with the ones you love.” Ingrid Backstrom, Professional Skier

“As a transplant surgeon, I witness the immense physical and psychological challenges facing patients with a life-threatening illness. Ms. Kircher weaves her experience as a ski patroller high in the Cascade Mountains with the current battle against her husband’s liver disease with intense emotion and heart-wrenching detail. As she draws on her prior high-adrenaline experiences to face the current challenge of her husband’s illness and pending transplant, it leaves the reader feeling breathless, as if they are standing on the edge of the mountain with both husband and wife…This book is a fascinating memoir for any reader, and especially one who may be in the midst of or recovered from their own major adversity.” Julie Heimbach, Transplant Surgeon, Mayo Clinic

The Next Fifteen Minutes is a profoundly courageous and honest exploration of Kim and John Kircher’s journey together during John’s nearly fatal battle with liver cancer.  Their lives together in the mountains they love so much are the backdrop, and the lessons Kim has learned as a professional ski patroller give her the strength to make it through a harrowing year.” Dan Nordstrom, President and Owner of Outdoor Research

“In the year leading up to her husband’s liver transplant, Kim Kircher triumphs over the long wait and harrowing diagnosis by drawing lessons from her life in the mountains. As a ski patroller, she witnesses tragedy and triumph, dark storms and sparkling beauty, and learns how to fight for her husband’s life, offering him the support and partnership necessary to weather the storm.” Chris Klug, professional snowboarder, Olympic medalist, liver transplant recipient, author of To the Edge and Back: My Story from Organ Transplant Survivor to Olympic Snowboarder

Thanks Mountain Magazine for the great review, “From Bombs Away to Words on a Page.”

Great interview with Craig Hill of Tacoma News Tribune, “Email Updates Form Basis of Book.”

Kristen Lummis, Brave Ski Mom, wrote this review: Book Review and Giveaway: The Next 15 Minutes, by Kim Kircher.

44 responses »

  1. I am Kim’s mom and I know pretty much first hand what she and John were going through. Needless to say, it was horrific at times. She decided to write “news letters” on John’s progress and send them to their friends and families. These “updates” were a life-line to them and became the inspiration for this book, I believe. I, of course, have read the “rough draft” and some of the re-writes, with tissues in hand. Even though I knew the wonderful, prayer-answering outcome, I still sat on the edge of my seat.
    Kim has always been a writer, inspired by a teacher early on to write daily in her journal. I think this has been a wonderful outlet for her and when this diagnosis came along, it saved her sanity. As a reward for all of the readers, you will see what true commitment really is and what those vows we all took at the altar really meant.
    I am confident that when the book is in publication and in the hands of the readers, it will serve as a real inspiration to all.
    I, of course, am truly proud of her as I have always been. When we try to describe her, we simply call her “the outdoor Barbie”. She, of course, will deny ever having anything to do with Barbie and I must admit that this is true. It is just that she is as beautiful as she is brilliant.

  2. HI Kim
    Crystal is such an incredible place! I was fortunate to spend a couple of winters living up there and enjoyed epic snow, tree skiing, backcountry and bowls! Please give John my best! Luv your Blog and please check mine out at . Give our best to the old time Crystal rippers- Scott K, Matt S, and the rest of the crew. Few places have rippers that can match Crystal!
    We just skied in the Currie Bowl at Fernie Alpine Resort over the weekend! should be a great winter!
    ski ya later
    powder matt

    • Matt,
      So jealous that you are already skiing. Nice photo on your blog commemorating it! Thanks for checking mine out. It’s so true about Crystal skiers. We have some serious rippers. Here’s to a great season!

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  4. Hi Kim:
    You stopped by my blog on She Writes. I spent five seasons ski bumming in the west: Sun Valley, Aspen, Mammoth Mt. and also skied in Kitzbhuel, Austria, and Zermatt, Switzerland. Went through prolonged withdrawal but life goes on. Congratulations on the upcoming publication of your book/memoir.

    • Carolyn,
      You certainly chose some great resorts to spend those seasons. I think every skier should take at least one season in their lives and ski bum. And you got to have five. Bravo!

  5. Hi Kim,
    talked to your mom today. I was so glad she stopped me (I was on my way to a lesson). She told me about your blog. Had to check it out! Awesome!
    Please give my regards to John and Andrew. I was thrilled to hear that Andrew was at the right place at the right time.
    Hope to see you all in Big Sky soon,

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  8. Hey Kim

    Thanks so much for commenting on my HBS post – very cool to hear from you and be directed to your site! What an awesome lady you sound – really great to hear a wee bit about you.
    Do stay in touch

    • Sophie,
      I’m glad you stopped by. I enjoyed your post on HBS about how attitude affects reality. It’s true whether in the mountains or in the city. Also, thanks for following!

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  10. Okay…now I’m stalking you. After you commented on my blog, I had to come over here and visit and then I was like, “holy crap! she IS cool” (not that I didn’t necessarily think you were cool from the comments you left…I just think your cooler now). 🙂

    Anywho, at first when I read the title of your book/description, it didn’t sink in. And then it hit me. It’s pretty much how I’ve been living the past 2 years. Thankfully, I wasn’t worried about my husband dying, but we’ve been living apart for almost two years and when I get really down, I just tell myself, “One more day, I’m just going to make it through one more day…or one more week.” And I can make it one more day, or 15 more minutes.

    Excited to read your book!

    • Suz,
      Thanks for stopping by. I think I have a good idea of what you’re going through. Did you ever read the book Touching the Void? In it Joe Simpson falls into a crevasse while climbing and is left for dead. He pulls himself out and drags his broken body across a glacier to base camp where his partner is just about to leave. He was seriously injured, and the only way he gets himself out of the crevasse and across the glacier is by going 15 minutes at a time. He looks ahead at a landmark that he thinks is 15 minutes away, then times himself and tries to beat it. I read that book years ago and someone sent us a copy of the film when John first got sick. It became a survival tactic for us. We decided to get through it 15 minutes at a time.

  11. Hi Kim,
    SO very exciting about your upcoming memoir. It sounds fantastic and, based on what I have read of you so far, it is beautifully written. So nice to meet a fellow writer who lives in this little part of the world. Keep me posted on the success of your book.

    • Sarah,
      Such high praise coming from you. Thanks! Writing is a lonely business. I would love to connect with you, if you can ever carve some time away from the stray cats!

  12. Hi Kim,
    I finally got a few moments to see your site. Wow, it’s interesting, dynamic, and very personal. I think the book will do really well. What I want in a book is characters I respect and like, facing challenges I can relate to. A compelling setting and a great title don’t hurt, either. I think you’ve got all of those. I can’t wait to read it.

    • Thanks Judy! It will be published October 1st. Currently it is available pre-order at amazon. And, if you want to be extra-awesome, you can always give me a review at once you read it. I look forward to hearing your feedback. All the best, K

  13. Hi Kim, thanks for commenting at Brave Ski Mom today. I’ve been snooping around your blog and I can’t wait to read your book. I’ve done some work with the Chris Klug Foundation and promoted organ donation on my site a couple of times. My husband is one the bone marrow donation list as a donor. It is something very important to us. And, then of course, there is skiing. I did a review of Wendy Clinch’s novels on my site and a giveaway of her most recent Ski Diva mystery. If you would be interested in something similar I would be more than happy to do the same with you!

    Take care and congratulations!

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  16. Hi Kim,
    I discovered your blog about a month ago and I can’t believe I had never seen it before! I’m a fitness trainer and ski patroller from Alberta, Canada. I’d like to get a copy of your book but unfortunately won’t let me ship to Canada…any suggestions?

    • Jessica,
      That’s strange since we do have distribution in Canada. Have you tried Barnes and Noble? Here’s a link to the book. See if that works. Otherwise, let me know. You can always order it at a brick and mortar store.
      I’m glad you found me. Where do you patrol?

  17. I’ll check it out! thanks! My boyfriend and I are both volunteer patrollers (Canadian Ski Patrol System) at Marmot Basin in Jasper, Alberta

    • I’ve never made it up to Jasper, but I’ve been close. I went heli-skiing in the Monashees, and when we had a down day we almost drove up there. What a spectacular setting!

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  21. Just found your blog while searching out transplant info. My mom had a rare primary liver cancer that kept reoccuring. She received a liver transplant last week. What kind of liver disease are you and your husband dealing with? Interestingly, I was a ski area manager until 2 years ago and my mom and I are both writers. My blog on my mom’s journery is
    Blessing to you and your husband.

    • My husband had bile duct cancer. Congratulations on your mom’s transplant. My husband did well I’m initially after the transplant then developed cmv, a virus that can affect those on immunosupression. Hopefully your mother doesn’t experience the same. All the best to you and her.

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