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Plowing a New Trail for Women on the Slopes:Kim Reichhelm
James Wall & Sara Russell

The flowing auburn hair of Kim Reichhelm had long stood out in the crowd of buzzcuts and mowhawks at extreme skiing events around the world. Now it blends in nicely with the high-end crowd at Crested Butte, Colorado, where Reichhelm became official ski ambassador in July, 1997.

A two time winner of the World Extreme Skiing Championships, and a veteran of the U.S. Ski team, Reichhelm has made numerous appearances on national television, including The "Late Show" with David Letterman, NBC###s "Dateline", and "Good Morning America".

Edward Callaway, Crested Butte Mountain Resort president, saw Reichhelm###s potential as a magnet for women skiers back when Reichhelm was coming to Crested Butte to practice on the Butte###s world-famous extreme terrain. Says Callaway: "She was always extremely personable for someone so dedicated." He adds: "Our partnership is a good one because both Crested Butte and Kim Reichhelm are unique in the ski industry. Kim has combined her prowess as an extreme skier with an unusual rapport with students - especially women - to encourage them to go beyond their present boundaries and stretch their skiing imaginations."

Adds Reichhelm: "I###m excited about working with Crested Butte to get more women into this great sport. This is a place I truly love, where I have made my home, and where I want to live the rest of my life."

Reichhelm is recognized by Crested Butte###s instructors as the master of the breakthrough on skis. "It###s pretty awesome to watch," says ski school chief Charlie Farnham, "she###s a one in a million natural with students. And of course to the advanced skiers, especially the women, she###s an icon."

Dean Stoyer of ESPN agrees. "Crested Butte will host the 1998 ESPN Winter X Games and Kim will be a great asset. She will be a team player in making sure that everything runs smoothly on the mountain and at the resort. We are fortunate to have her here."

The ESPN Winter X Games run January 15th through January 18th, 1998 and feature more than 200 of the world###s best athletes competing in six "cutting-edge" winter sports (including snowboarding, ice climbing, snow mountain bike racing, free skiing, skiboarding and snowmobile sno cross) for cash prizes. Stoyer said that while Reichhelm will not participate athletically in the Games, she is trying to work out an agreement with ESPN and ABC to commentate the internationally televised events.

In addition to her responsibilities on the ski mountain, Reichhelm will be attending ski shows and promotions nationally and internationally, commentating for CBMR at their televised events, and acting as Crested Butte representative and celebrity in her own right at special events. Crested Butte says she is available for speaking engagements, television appearances, and interviews upon request.

In 1996, Reichhelm was honored by being one of the first people to have her picture appear on the side of an aircraft. Crested Butte joined the internationally acclaimed "Air Logo" program, in which the exterior of Western Pacific Airlines### planes were used for promotional purposes. The starboard side of the tail of the purple Boeing 737-300 sports a 38-foot image Reichhelm bursting through powder. The port side of the tail depicts a fly fisherwoman. A rainbow trout and the words "Crested Butte" and "Gunnison" are emblazoned across the body of the plane. The plane has been used to heighten the awareness of Crested Butte as a year round vacation destination, as it can be seen at airports nationwide.

Reichhelm, now 37 years-old, grew up in Westport, Connecticut. She raced on the U.S. Ski Team as a teenager, and attended the University of Colorado, earning a degree in business. She competed on the Women###s Pro Racing Tour on a regular basis.

She staged her first women-only ski clinic at Kirkwood, California, in 1989, with the purpose of "inviting women of all abilities to rediscover the fun of skiing through camaraderie and confidence building," a mission that continues today at Crested Butte. Women-only ski clinics are held at Crested Butte periodically throughout the year.

In 1991, she was invited to Valdez, Alaska, to compete in the inaugural World Extreme Skiing Championships, placing first in the women###s event. She capped her extreme skiing career in the 1994-95 season by achieving the first-ever Triple Crown‹winning the South American, U.S., and World Skiing Championships consecutively‹a record that still stands.

This is the first season that Reichhelm will be available to the public through the Crested Butte Ski and Snowboard School. Group lessons and even one-on-ones are available by calling 888.444.9236. For more information about the ESPN Winter X Games at Crested Butte, please call 970.349.4178.