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Jill Kinmont Boothe dies at 75

February 10, 2012

On the cover of SI in 1955

Jill Kinmont Boothe, the former ski champion from Bishop whose life story inspired two Hollywood films, died Thursday in Carson City.

She was 75.

Ruth Rhines, senior deputy coroner of Carson City, confirmed that Boothe died Thursday at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center. A cause of death has not been reported and Rhines could not confirm reports that Boothe died of complications related to surgery.

Kinmont was a top ski racer and an Olympic hopeful when, at 18, she crashed in a race in Alta, Utah, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down. Her accident happened in the same week that she appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.

Nevertheless, she overcame the tragedy by graduating from UCLA with a German major, and then earned a degree in education from the University of Washington.  She had a successful career teaching (special education) and painting. A school in Bishop is named for her.

She married John Boothe in 1976, and the two settled in Bishop.

She was the U.S. women’s slalom champion in January 1955 when she crashed.

Her story was the subject of the 1975 film “The Other Side of the Mountain” and the 1978 sequel “The Other Side of the Mountain Part 2.”

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