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dan-kneip

Dan Kneip in front of his new cabin in Welches.

Dan Kneip put aside $50,000 for a mountain cabin years ago — before going through cancer hell and back.

Dan was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer after a routine colonoscopy in October 2006, not long after selling his house in California for a profit and moving up to Oregon with plans to buy a mountain home.

Since his diagnosis Dan has been through 26 sessions of radiation therapy, 30 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, 16 surgeries (10 of them major), and more CT scans than he cares to recall. In 2013 he was hospitalized for all of January, enduring two major surgeries and nine operating room procedures in one month.

"I had pretty much given up on the cabin," he told me the other day, smiling a huge smile. "But after a year and a half without any problems I decided to go for it. Luckily I never spent that 50,000 bucks."

The reason Dan was smiling so big that day was simple. He was standing in front of the very cabin he had pretty much given up on. This past weekend he moved into a cozy wooden home surrounded by fir trees in Welches that he bought with that same money he put away all those years ago, before his cancer diagnosis.

A crowd of Mount Hood friends dropped by to congratulate him on Saturday and share drinks and soup around the wood stove inside and the fire pit out back. Some of the folks gathered were intensely aware of all Dan has been through over the past decade; others only vaguely so. He doesn't boast about his travails, but if you ask him, he is extremely honest and direct with his answers. He also manages to keep a lively sense of humor about his ordeals — and about everything else he talks about.

Even when his health was at its worst and he got too sick to ski, Dan kept driving up to Mount Hood, to be on the mountain and see his friends. He bought an RV, proudly displayed his skull-and-crossbone pirate flag in the Meadows parking lot, and gradually made his way back into the powder — and back to the Mazot, where he has a plaque inscribed in his honor.

As you can see from the photo above, Dan is doing great. He hasn't been hospitalized in nearly two years and he racked up 1,500 miles bicycling over the summer to get in shape for the skiing season.

A whole lot of people who know him from Heather Canyon and the Mazot and the Hope on the Slopes festivities at Skibowl will be glad to see Dan Kneip back on the snow in 2014-15.

To get the full story on Dan's return from cancer to Mount Hood, check out Zeb Yaklich's profile of Dan Kneip, published on Shred Hood last December.

You also might enjoy this slide show:

Dan gets a hug from his mountain pal Shannon after recovering from one of his many surgeries.