Kim McKnight Pedersen – A full and happy mountain life 

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Indeed. And pretty much from the moment she moved here, Kim started expanding her skiing horizons. No event was "off-limits;" no contest beyond her capabilities. From the Saudan Couloir race to Alaska's Arctic Man, from X-Games skiercross to big-mountain freeskiing comps — not to mention a World Cup victory in the straight-ahead world of speedskiing — she's done it all. "I love the feeling of freedom skiing brings me," she says. "I love the diversity of the sport. The fact that every run is different... every day is different. It's totally wide-open. Nothing dictates your movements — unlike sports like tennis or even wakeboarding. I mean, there's just so much room for personal expression. Personal fulfillment too."

Kim spent the next four years coaching with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club. And she has great memories of that time. "I coached Mike Janyk to his first slalom victory," she says, proudly. "And Ashleigh McIvor was one of my racers. And I even worked a little with Manny O-P."

She reserves her warmest words, however, for her boss at the time, former program director Joze Sparovec. "He was the club's saviour," she says flatly. "He took what was then a mediocre program and transformed it into one of the country's strongest."

Still, working for the club she realized, restricted her too much in what she could do with her own skiing. "I was coaching and racing all these crazy events," explains Kim. "I needed a more flexible schedule. I needed to find more time to train and ski for myself." Enter adult coaching.

"Switching over from the club to the Dave Murray program," she says, "brought its own new challenges. Kids are often there because their parents want them to be. And that can be frustrating for a coach. But adults? They ALWAYS want to be there. I mean, they are as keen as it gets. Which puts a different kind of pressure on the coach..."

Her solution? Keep things simple. "Skiing isn't about how you look," she says. "It's about how you feel. Are you having fun? Are you enjoying your runs? That's what really counts. Funny too — for most skiers, that's when the real improvements begin to happen."

It's also when epiphanies occur.

"It was my second year with the program," she recounts. "And there was all this new ski technology coming out, you know fat skis and shaped skis and everything in between. I was encouraging my group to test some of these new designs, you know, but I was getting a fair bit of pushback on the idea." She smiles. "That's when an 82-year old guy in my group spoke up. 'Yep,' he said. "I grew up skiing on wooden skis and leather boots. Do you think I could ski on them now? Of course not. Embrace the new technology, my friends. It will just help you ski longer!'"

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