Karsen grew up in Bozeman, Montana. She was first lured into the mountains by her mother who incentivized the experience with pockets full of jellybeans. Thus began a deep and abiding appreciation for steep, snowy places and an unfortunate sweet tooth. She now works as a full time pro patroller for Alyeska resort, starting avalanches and splinting knees. The other half of the year, Karsen works as a wildland fire medic and raft guide.