Action County: Jody Thompson
Some people never get to return to the site of their marriage engagement.Jody Thompson has done it 75 times this ski season alone.Thompson still frequents Arapahoe Basin, where Mark Thompson asked for her hand in marriage in 1994.She vividly remembers meeting her husband a year earlier on the slopes.”He was a rippin’ tele skier with leather boots and skinny skis,” Thompson said. “I had never seen him before and I thought, ‘Who is that?’ I met him at The Beach at the end of the day. A year later he proposed at the Basin on a rock in the rock garden.”
It’s only fitting that one of Jody Thompson’s most memorable moments occurred during a day of skiing.Thompson, who moved to Summit County from Pennsylvania in 1988, began skiing at a young age and has never stopped.”My father was a ski instructor and he taught me how to ski when I was three,” Thompson said. “I’ve been passionate about it ever since.”Thompson also has a long history of helping people. As a teenager, she served as a junior ski patroller in both New York and Pennsylvania, an experience that helped her calling to become a nurse. Thompson went to nursing school straight after high school and she has never looked back.
“I’m not a job hopper,” she said. “My career is very important to me.”Thompson is currently an emergency room nurse at the Summit Medical Center.When she’s not nursing, Thompson can often be found in the midst of one of Summit’s many outdoor competitions. She has raced in the 24 Hours of Moab more than 10 times, where she’s claimed at least three team victories. She also has more then a decade’s worth of Enduros and Bump Buffets under her belt.Thompson and Kaileen Higney still hold the current female Enduro record of 63 laps on skis at A-Basin, which they set in 2000.Of all Thompson’s adventures, the most publicized was her 2002 expedition to Mt. Everest.
“I got a call in January of ’02 to join a Ford-sponsored, all-women’s expedition,” Thompson said. “I had an 11-month-old baby at the time. Going on the expedition was the toughest decision I ever made.”Expedition organizer Alison Levine invited Thompson to Everest after hearing about her extensive climbing background. Some of Thompson’s exposure came from her 1998 expedition to Nepal’s 24,500-foot Ama Dablam. There she was one of six Summit County locals involved with a base camp cleaning mission.Thompson’s Everest excursion kept her away from her family for two and half months. About every two weeks, she called her husband on a satellite phone to strike up a 3- to 5-minute conversation.Thompson describes her Everest expedition as the trip of a lifetime, despite the fact her team came up 285 feet short of the summit.”One of our teammates was having a lot of trouble; she was in and out of consciousness 500 feet below us,” Thompson said. “There were three of us at 28,750 feet when we got the radio call that she wasn’t doing well and that there was a big storm coming in. Turning back was the smartest thing we ever did because the storm came in and it was fierce.”
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