Kevin Murnane: 1971-2015

March 3, 2015 | Tim Hauserman

Once again, the little town of Tahoe City has faced the terrible tragedy of losing a person we love. But in tragedy, we’ve also reminded ourselves of how lucky we are to live where we do. On February 23rd Kevin Murnane, the manager of Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area, passed away. “Kevin from the nordic center,” as he was known by most, was not only the central cog of our incredible cross-country ski community, but an important part of what makes North Tahoe such an exceptional place.

Hours after his death, the nordic skiing community and just about everyone else in town jumped in to help. We called each other and emailed each other, posted on Facebook and gave each other hugs. Lots and lots of strong, oh my God how are you doing, hugs. An account was quickly set up for people to donate to his wife Valli Murnane, who runs the Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Education Association, and their two children Lily and Kai.  Brendan Madigan swiftly moved behind the scenes to turn the Alpenglow Sports Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival into a fundraiser to help the family. Ron Parson from Granlibakken donated their largest conference room and his staff to the cause, and just by word of mouth and social media over 600 people showed up, to support not only Valli but each other.

A few days later, it finally started snowing again. Everyone thought it had to be Kevin, bringing us a gift from heaven to remember him by. While there was not enough snow to bring the big grooming machines out at Tahoe Cross Country, for the first time in two months two snowmobiles headed out early in the morning to groom the trails. Driving the lead snowmobile was Valli Murnane, getting in a bit of throttle therapy, while showing us all that even with tears in our eyes, the show of our lives must go on.

I’ve worked at Tahoe Cross Country Ski area for over ten years, teaching skiing and directing the Strider Glider after school ski program. Through the influence of Kevin and Valli, Tahoe XC is a friendly gathering place for Tahoe folks. I will miss Kevin terribly, but am happy to have known him, and thank him for the place that he created for all of us to continue to enjoy.

Kevin’s memorial will be on March 15th, at 12:30 pm at Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area.