Ski with legendary ‘License To Thrill’ pro athlete Kim Reichhelm in Steamboat
March 11, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – When challenges arise, Kim Reichhelm won't even blink at the thought.
Like the time she was skiing in Squaw Valley years ago and noticed a group of guys ripping lines on Headwall and KT-22, and she jumped on the lift with them. After getting the once over from the group, she followed them up the ridge to the top of a cornice and was the first to step into her bindings and send it from top to bottom. It was there she met renowned filmmaker and director Greg Stump and shot footage for "License to Thrill," which Reichhelm starred in.
Skiing all over the world, Reichhelm said a few of her favorites are Japan, especially Niseko, as well as Alaska, where she's been heli-skiing for years in various locations, and Greenland, where she can ski down a run right to the water.
Reichhelm will soon land in Steamboat Springs to host her Women's Ski Adventure clinic March 19 to 22. Then on March 23 and 24, she will host an add-on of backcountry skiing with Steamboat Powdercats.
"Skiing is such a beautiful sport, and you don’t have to be strong or aggressive to be good at it," she said. "I saw so many women being taught by their husbands or just men in general who don't understand our fear and our intimidation. I set out to eliminate all the hurdles and barriers that kept women from skiing or who tried it but didn't enjoy it. I was inspired to do this because I love to ski, and I love being in the mountains."
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In 1989 Reichhelm — a former U.S. Ski Team member and U.S. Freeskiing Champion — founded Women's Ski Adventure as a way for women to hone their skills during four-day, small-group camps.
From movement analysis to trying one of her 15 pairs of demo skis and having the access to ask questions in an open environment, Reichhelm said she works tirelessly on group dynamics, constantly making changes to the camps to accommodate different personalities and ski abilities.
"It doesn't matter if you take two runs or 10 runs, the pleasure each of us gets from the sport is the same," she said. "No one is keeping score."
Her bottom line is not financial.
"We are surrounded by majestic mountains, the air is crisp and clean, and the sport itself is invigorating," she said. "I love creating great experiences in the mountains for women. My goals are to build confidence through knowledge and a positive learning environment."
For as long as she can remember, Reichhelm said she has loved skiing, starting out with her family skiing in Vermont on the weekends and driving to Stratton Mountain from Connecticut on Friday nights when she was 3. She started ski racing in peewee races when she was 5.
"In the ’70s, muscles were not sexy, and I struggled with that," she said. "I knew I wanted to set an example that you could be feminine and a great athlete at the same time."
During the late ’80s and early ’90s, Reichhelm built a reputation for pushing the limits. When asked what has helped her the most as a female in the sport of big mountain skiing, she said being a true professional.
"Skiing is a sport dominated by men, and it's a real boys club," Reichhelm said. "For many years, I got paid a lot less than men who did less than I did. I try to be poised, confident, modest, appreciative and well spoken. I go above and beyond what is expected, and I'm always looking for ways to make myself more valuable.
"Skiing is not about how fast we go or how steep the runs are,” she explained. “I tell women all the time to stand tall and be elegant. I also encourage women to ski on longer skis. Longer skis provide a more stable platform giving us more confidence."
As a ski racer, Reichhelm visited Steamboat numerous times, but it's been awhile since she's been to town.
"I love Steamboat because it's a real town and community not just a ski resort," she said. "It’s real, genuine, authentic and beautiful. I'm pretty excited to be there soon."