1/19/63 - 12/29/2022
The Leavenworth Ski community lost an avid supporter of all things skiing over the Christmas Holidays. On Thursday Dec. 29th, following a 1.5 year struggle with brain cancer, Barb Kelly peacefully passed away, with her children Kieran and Aidan by her side.
Barb started alpine skiing at the age of 10 in Minnesota where she grew up, then eagerly took up cross country skiing. She was an athlete on the Stillwater High School Team, where she caught the racing bug and never looked back. She attended both the University of Montana and Montana State University, where skiing played a big role in her life and became her community. After moving to Leavenworth to work as a Fisheries Biologist, she became a member of the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club. She was lucky enough that her office was right next to the Icicle River Trails and she could often be seen skiing on her lunch break.
After having her children Aidan and Kieran, she became involved with the LWSC Jr. Nordic Program, and also continued racing regularly. She coached at all the different levels - the Jackrabbits (now Koos Cruisers), the Devos and the Seniors. She was the Head Coach for the Jackrabbits and the Devos for several years. At last count, she had coached for at least 16 years - including last winter, while undergoing treatment for her cancer. Barb’s enthusiasm for the sport never waned, and she found great joy in planning SkiSporten, Carnival Events, Full Moon skis and the famous Donut Ski. She loved her ski community and was passionate about passing that on to future generations. In addition to coaching, Barb was involved behind the scenes for several years with the goal of moving the LWSC youth program forward; providing an avenue for both serious racers and recreational skiers alike. She was a member on the LWSC Board of Directors, both to support the club and be an advocate for youth and the Nordic Programs. Even while in the hospital following her most recent brain surgery, she was thinking of different ways to fundraise for the LWSC Nordic Ski Team.
Barb was an unwavering optimist. She honestly never gave a negative report on the snow conditions. Any day on skis was a good day, no matter the conditions. She faced her cancer diagnosis and treatments with courage and optimism and made the most of the time she had left. She will be missed dearly by her kids, Aidan and Kieran, her former husband Jayson, and her beloved ski community. Because of Barb and her dedication to the sport, the LWSC and the ski community at large are a better place.