There have been a lot of articles the past week about what’s been going on with our ski and snowboard heros and why they keep dying. Outside Magazine wrote our favoirite thus far. They basically say: We don’t know why our ski and snowboard heros keep dying, but they do keep dying.” Then they go on to write a great piece about each of the 5 different ski and snowboard heros from someone who knew them.
by the editors of Outside Magazine
To anybody who follows sports in the Outside world, freeskiing has emerged as a shockingly dangerous pursuit. Over the past decade, so many of the sport’s luminaries have perished in the mountains that in December 2012, Powder magazine ran the lonely cover line “Why are so many of the best skiers dying?” Arne Backstrom, John Brenan, Sarah Burke, Doug Coombs, Fredrik Ericsson, Kip Garre, Jim Jack, Aaron Karitis, Magnus Kastengren, Shane McConkey, Chris Onufer, Jamie Pierre, Steve Romeo, Chris Rudolph, Tony Seibert. The list goes on, and the trend shows no sign of abating.
In the past two weeks, five more top mountain athletes died in three separate incidents in the Himalayas and Andes. On September 24, German Sebastian “Basti” Haag, 36, a former veterinary surgeon and Dynafit-sponsored ski mountaineer, and Italian Andrea Zambaldi, 32, Salewa-Dynafit’s Italian marketing manager, were just below the summit of Tibet’s Shishapangma (26,289 feet) when an avalanche swept them and teammate Martin Maier off the mountain. Only Maier survived. On Monday, September 29, Canadian freeskiing legend JP Auclair, 37, and the introspective Swedish skier-poet Andreas Fransson, 31, were hit by an avalanche that ripped loose high above them on Mount San Lorenzo (12,159 feet), on the border between Chile and Argentina. Their camera crew watched them fall and summoned help, but nothing could be done. On the same day, 100 miles to the south, snowboarder and AMGA mountain guide Liz Daley, 29, died in an avalanche on Argentina’s 7,041-foot Cerro Vespignani.
There are no easy answers. Explaining why top skiers are still getting caught in avalanches often breaks down into complicated snow science and human psychology. But at the root of it all is something simpler. Mountains are beautiful, and fresh snow on them calls to us. We can’t help ourselves. That won’t change. To honor the five skiers who’ve died in the past two weeks, we’ve assembled this series of photos and remembrances by their friends and loved ones.
Please read the rest of this article where they go into each person lost this fall and what made them tick: