On a Breckenridge mountaintop, two medical students found themselves starting at the top of a run together. They would end up skiing together more than once on that winter getaway.
The two only knew each other in passing as medical students at Des Moines University, but a love for medicine and the outdoors would bring the two doctors together, eventually leading them back to Summit County.
Physicians Kirsten and Brandon Goble joined the team at High Country Healthcare in Silverthorne five weeks ago. The family doctors moved to Colorado from Des Moines, Iowa.
Brandon is from Nebraska, and his parents owned a home first in Frisco and now reside in Breckenridge.
“Growing up in Nebraska I was here all the time, we’d come at least once a year but mainly twice,” he said. “Once we got married we were up here all the time.”
He organized that fateful ski trip to Breckenridge during med school for some classmates — Kirsten included.
“We skied together that whole time and have been together ever since,” she said. “It took coming out here to actually meet and get to know each other.”
Brandon would also later propose up in the High Country, too, and the couple married during their third year of medical school and had their first son the next year. Their youngest son was born two and a half years later, during their second year of residency.
Kirsten said having her parents so close in Iowa was a huge help during that chaotic time.
“They played a huge role for the boys so it’s been really hard to move away from them,” she said. “That was the only downside to moving here, was moving away from them.”
The couple initially thought they would retire to the area, as Brandon’s parents had planned. But Kirsten wanted to make a transition with her clinic in Des Moines when she saw the two open positions. She said there was no reason not to accept once they offered the jobs.
“We’ve definitely made the commitment, we weren’t planning for just a few years,” she said. “I didn’t move much from my hometown. I kind of stayed in the same place. We’d visited so often we felt pretty comfortable getting started here. It wasn’t completely new to us.”
Married for almost seven years now, the Gobles are still just at the start of their budding medical careers. They finished residency a little more than two years ago and worked at different clinics in Iowa after graduation.
“I always said, for other spouses even going through medical school and residency with a spouse that’s not in the medical field, it must be extremely difficult,” Kirsten said. She said understanding the time commitments has helped their marriage work so well.
Brandon said he originally thought he would follow in his father’s steps as an ear, nose and throat doctor but embraced family medicine after seeing Kirsten’s excitement for the different people she got to meet. He still enjoys elements of sports medicine, such as managing fractures, as well as dermatology.
“People come up here, they’re healthy, they want to stay healthy, want to be active, that stuff is fun from our standpoint because we actually get to talk to people at their visits about why they came or other fun stuff as opposed to major health concerns,” he said.
Kirsten is also interested in women’s health care and pediatrics, saying she and her husband have similar philosophies and constantly reinforce each other’s skills. She works part-time currently, two days per week, in order to spend time with their children.
“They know a lot more medical jargon then most young little boys,” she said.
Brandon has said he never wants to move again. The couple is currently living with his parents in Breckenridge while renovations are being made on their new home here. They’ve sold their house in Iowa, but all of their belongings are still in the house. They drove out to Colorado with what they could fit in the car — just a few outfits and necessities.
“We didn’t get much vacation, but would really only come here for any vacation time,” Kirsten said. “Now we can officially call ourselves locals.”
“The biggest thing for us, there’s a distinct difference between vacationing here and living here,” Brandon said.
He said one reservation he had about the move was he didn’t initially know about the population in the area — he wondered if real people live out here.
“We found people out here are more normal than where we came from,” he said.
The couple agrees having patients who are dedicated to their health is a different mind-set from where they came from. Kirsten said she’s found people here want to make commitments to make themselves better if something is interfering with their lifestyle.
In her free time — when the two aren’t busy with their boys — she likes to run, recreationally and competitively. She’s waiting just a little while to get used to the altitude. Brandon said he might want to try expanding the outdoor activities they already enjoy, taking up fly-fishing or some other new way to branch off from his usual skiing.
“I’m just looking forward to being part of the community,” he said. “Des Moines was a lot bigger, you kind of got lost in the shuffle, both patients and physicians. It’s nice around here, to be in a smaller place.”
“People come up here, they’re healthy, they want to stay healthy, want to be active, that stuff is fun from our standpoint because we actually get to talk to people at their visits about why they came or other fun stuff as opposed to major health concerns.”