Jim Kankler

Jim was born on April 22, 1948. Growing up in Columbia Falls, Montana, Jim spent his youth skiing and climbing around Glacier National Park with his father and brother, Jerry.  The boys became strong mountaineers and were in the forefront of present day rock climbing.  Moving to Bozeman, Montana he attended classes at MSU, became a ski patrolman at Bridger Bowl ski area, married and had a son, Jamie. Exploring the business world with fellow climbing partner, Chad Chadwick, they started a mountain guiding and climbing school out of Red Lodge, Montana. There wasn’t much money to be made in guiding then so Jim followed an opportunity to become director of the professional ski patrol at the new Big Sky Ski Resort. In 1978 he moved to Jackson to work as a patrolman at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Jim’s avalanche forecasting expertise led him to accept the position as lead avalanche forecaster for the resort when Forest Service Snow Ranger Gary Poulson transferred to the district office in 1984.  Because Jim was no stranger to the profound grief and devastation avalanches can create physically, mentally and emotionally, he and fellow assistant, Larry Livingood, explored methods in avalanche mitigation techniques in order to create more safety for patrollers, becoming the first to use large amounts of explosives placed in plastic sleds lowered by rope down to strategic locations on dangerous slide paths.  Jim spent summers as an Exum Mountain Guide in Grand Teton Nation Park.  When he retired from the patrol he continued to work for the resort in the IT department using his talents in the fast moving world of communications. We sadly lost our friend Jim on April 18, 2011.  He left behind his wonderful son, Jamie, a daughter in law and two adorable grandchildren.