This past weekend was a rough one for snowboarding, the snowboard industry, and those of us in Colorado. An avalanche on Loveland Pass 55 miles west of Denver took the lives of four expert back country riders and one skier. For those of us that live in the high country of the Rockies this especially hits close to home as we have lost five people that left a mark on our lives in some form or another. Visibly the community is shaken from this tragedy and words can not fully describe what everyone is thinking or going through.
If you are following the medias coverage of this event I urge you to start with this article by Mike Bennett one of the first people to respond to the accident. His telling of what happened will be the most accurate till the CAIC Avalanche Report comes out and even then his opening words should be the precursor of all information read, “I am writing this account in order to assure that there is correct information across the board for news outlets. Please, out of respect for the victims and the situation, do not take any of this story out of context or assume creative license with the facts mentioned.”
For more on the story I recommend this article on ESPN from local writer Colin Bane and this one from Transworld Businesses Mike Lewis. Both have ties with our community here and offer up better information than some of the current sources out there.
We can all sit here and armchair quarterback after these events and speculate on how things could have been done differently or what went wrong, but in the end that’s not going to change what happened. As Nic Drago said in the Transworld article, “We’re not built with a reverse, we’re built with a forward. It’s only natural to grieve, but Joe and these guys wouldn’t want us to stop. They’d want us to absorb it. To slow down. To pay attention and be more cautious going forward.”
As I mentioned earlier in this article the community is shaken and I am part of that community. On Friday the 19th there was an avalanche with a single fatality up on Vail Pass. This unfortunate accident served as a catalyst for an article idea I wanted to write about how Mother Nature does not care, but for a myriad of reasons it did not get written on that day and I don’t know if it ever will. Instead I want to point anyone reading this to a guest post written in December of 2010 from Shan Sethna of Friends of Berthoud Pass. While being an older post the points he makes are still very valid.
We send our condolences to all those effected by this event. Rest in peace Joe Timlin, Ian Lanphere, Rick Gaukel, Chris Peters, and Ryan Novak you guys will be missed.