Catching up with the Mountain Stars: Jodee Trainor and Jake Fiala |

Catching up with the Mountain Stars: Jodee Trainor and Jake Fiala

Erica Marciniec
Special to the Daily

“You know I am no dancer,” said Jodee Trainor, president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center – but on October 1, she will dance the foxtrot in front of nearly 750 people as a contestant in this year’s Dancing with the Mountain Stars event.

It all started with an aside to Debra Edwards, president and chief development officer for the Summit Medical Center Health Foundation, after last year’s inspirational program. “She’s good at convincing people,” Jodee said. “It was pretty funny; she caught right on. I said, ‘What does it take to be a dancer?’ and she said, ‘What? You want to do it?’ and we were off to the races.”

Since then, dancing has caught Jodee’s heart. She describes her routine as lively but not as complex as some of the fast dances the other participants will do, and she is appreciative of her coach, Debbie Swartz. “She’s a great little dancer and a good teacher for people like me who can’t dance,” Jodee said.

Jodee’s nursing career began in 1972 when she graduated from Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing. As a new graduate nurse, she served three years in the US Navy Nurse Corps in Philadelphia at the end of the Vietnam War. Following her discharge she worked in a variety of clinical settings and then completed her BS in nursing at the University of Denver, graduating cum laude. In 1983 she joined Flight for Life Colorado and became administrative director in 1990, earning her MS in nursing in 1993. Later, Jodee held several leadership positions in the Centura Health system before coming to Summit Medical Center in 2009. She indicated that none of her prior positions required dancing, however.

“I’ve always loved nursing and I still love it – that’s why I stay,” said Jodee, who has known since she was a teenager that she wanted to become a nurse. She and her partner of 30 years, Bruce Abbott, have a home in Parker and a condo in Keystone where Jodee resides during the work week. Although she does not have much time for extracurricular activities, she has tried everything from skiing to horseback riding – and now dancing, too. She also enjoys reading, swimming and walking Tag-Along, her golden retriever mix.

While Jodee admits that participating in Dancing with the Mountain Stars is “way outside her comfort zone,” she is at the same time excited about the adventure and the opportunity it affords her to “create a new life vision and experience something different and challenging.”

You might know Jakub “Jake” Fiala from his alpine speed skiing career, the highlight of which was competing at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Or perhaps you know him from his later tour with the US Ski Cross Team, during which he gapped 50 yards to take second in the 2007 X Games, among other accomplishments.

After retiring from competitive skiing in 2009, however, Jake turned his attention to the community – to living, working, and building a life in Summit County after his years on the circuit. “I’m trying to start a more normal life, because the US Ski Team (life) is definitely not normal,” he said.

Jake and fellow team member Casey Snyder are co-owners of Alpine Tree Services, a local business that has served Summit County for 10 years. He also sells real estate at Novak and Nelson Real Estate in Dillon. He and his wife, Ursula, married in 2009 and now enjoy Summit County’s offerings year round with their dog Radek. Jake enjoys fly fishing, ice hockey and golf when he’s not donating his time and name to various charity events, including cystic fibrosis research in addition to Dancing with the Mountain Stars, which this year supports the cardiology program at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. It might almost be the definition of “normal” – were it not for the dancing, that is.

“They had to hound me pretty good,” Jake said, passing off his initial hesitation as unwillingness to commit the time before acquiescing to the real reason: “Who am I kidding? I’m not a dancer,” he said, laughing. Training for the October 1 event, in which he will dance swing, is going well nonetheless. “I’m having a lot more fun than I anticipated, for sure,” Jake said.

Jake was born in the Prague Czech Republic and came to the US in 1978 at age 3. With his father’s blessing, he moved to Colorado at a young age, living with a family while training for ski racing. He attended three years of high school in Vail before moving to Summit County in 1992, graduating in Summit High School’s Class of 1993 along with Mandy Moore, the Emmy-nominated choreographer who’s the creative force behind Dancing with the Mountain Stars.

“I’m sure that the night of the event it’s going to be heart pounding,” said Jake, “a lot of people watching like at the Olympics or the X Games, (but) I’m not going to be as comfortable with what I’m doing. I think there will be some adrenaline and some nerves.”

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