Mountain Star dancer profile
Jody Thompson, a registered nurse, has lived in Summit County for 22 years, and though she’s an avid biker, ice climber, mountaineer and teleskier, dance is pretty foreign to her. In fact, the closest she’s come to dancing is dressing up in costumes at a bunch of Breckenridge Bump Buffets and telemarking down the bumps, “doing a fun, exciting skit/dance and catching air/dance lifts,” she said.”When asked to participate in Dancing with the Mountain Stars, at first I said I don’t dance, but after hearing more about it and what a wonderful fundraiser it is, I thought that Yes, I can learn how to dance, what a great challenge and opportunity, especially to raise money for the specialized (operating room) spine table, because I know how important it is to have top-of-the-line equipment for our surgical spine cases,” she said.And therein began her four to five hour a week dedication to dance.”Seems like I will do a few steps here and there down the halls at work, boating on Lake Powell, of course trying to be as discreet as possible,” she said. “It seems like it’s always on my mind.”For her, it’s all about the satisfaction, and honor, of being involved in such a rewarding opportunity, which helps raise money “for our fabulous hospital.” She’s also grateful to learn how to dance.Her biggest fear, like others, is missing a step on the dance floor. But so far, so good. “I am enjoying every minute of learning how to dance and having a lot of fun with it, and the experience of working with very experienced and talented dance instructors and choreographers has been so wonderful,” she said. “They are amazing.”But, athletically, she’s pretty impressive herself. As a teenager, she worked as a junior ski patroller (which inspired her to become a nurse). As an adult, she’s won a few 24 Hours of Moab events and broke the female Enduro record, at 63 laps skiing at Arapahoe Basin in 2000, along with Kaileen Higney. She boasts plenty of telemark, climbing and cycling accolades. But her most publicized adventure was her Mt. Everest expedition in 2002. She didn’t just plan a trip; the organizer of a Ford-sponsored, all-women’s expedition invited her to join the team, when she heard about Thompson’s 1998 climb up Nepal’s 24,500-foot Ama Dablam.She and her husband also have triumphed over a more than difficult pregnancy that resulted in a life-threatening condition, when Thompson began to go into renal failure and pulmonary edema 26 weeks into her pregnancy. Doctors said the only way to save both her and her baby required delivering the severely premature baby by C-section. Their son, Hans (which means “a gracious gift from God”), weighed only 24 ounces and endured multiple surgeries, as well as liver failure and blood transfusions. Though his first year was tough for everyone, he’s now in first grade, reading chapter books, skiing black diamond runs and playing soccer.Part of Thompson’s strength stems from her personality. In dance terms, she describes it as “very cha cha like, energetic, adventurous, ambitious, motivated, enthusiastic and fun loving.”
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