Get to know Kristen Kirkland, Registered Dental Hygienist

Kristen NEW Close up 3_27_15(1)Kristen grew up in Lake Tahoe, California and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene from Northern Arizona University in 2005, being named the College of Health Professions Outstanding Student of the Year. She moved to Colorado after graduating and has lived in Lone Tree ever since.

You grew up in California and went to school in Arizona. What brought you to Colorado?

I decided to move to Colorado without ever having visited because it sounded fun! I wanted a real city to live in where I could still ski, and then got into climbing after having moved here. I love the seasons in Colorado – Denver is the warmest and lowest elevation of anywhere I’ve ever lived.

What advice would you tell someone who would like to be a Dental Hygienist?

I love being a hygienist, and it’s a great career for working in health care, but not working with sick people.

You are passionate about rock climbing and just got back from a trip to Switzerland. What was special about climbing there?

Switzerland is such a beautiful place. A really good friend of mine moved there earlier this year for work, so I got to see her as a great bonus. Every place I climb has a subtly different style of climbing that presents new challenges, both mental and physical.

What other countries have you traveled to?

I’ve been to the Netherlands, France, Italy, Canada, and the British Virgin Islands. I’m planning a trip to Belize for February (maybe a little climbing, but mostly enjoying some sunshine and sand instead of my usual hanging out under a rock in the dirt!)

When not out of the country, you still rock climb every weekend. What is your favorite local spot?

There are so many to choose from. I always say it depends on the season, but Guanella Pass, or a little area outside of Vail called Red Cliff are both favorites!

You are also an avid skier. What is your favorite Colorado resort?

I usually spend Friday at Mary Jane/Winter Park, but my favorite resort is definitely Crested Butte.

What else do you like to do in your downtime?

I practice yoga,  cook almost every night, and read.

Favorite Book: Anne of Green Gables

Favorite Movie or TV Show: Sound of Music

Favorite Holiday Tradition:

Making a “friendsgiving” meal every year (14 years running). I brine my turkey ahead of time and then spend all day in the kitchen making everything from scratch. One year I even made the whole meal in a motel room in Utah while on a climbing trip using just a crockpot and microwave.