Hannah Taylor, a longtime Summit County, Colorado resident known as a tough-but-beloved coach for Summit Nordic Ski Club and an accomplished endurance athlete, died on Saturday 21st July after a mountaineering accident in the Gore Range. She was 39, reports Summit Daily.
In a post on their Facebook page, the Summit Nordic Ski Club wrote that Taylor and the club’s head coach, Olof Hedberg, were out on a mountain run northwest of Silverthorne when Taylor grabbed a rock that came loose on the Willow Peak ridge. The accident led to her fall from the ridge. Charles Pittman of the Summit County Rescue Group, who responded to the scene after Taylor’s fall, confirmed the nature of the accident.
To her local Summit County friends, Taylor, a New Hampshire native, embodied the essence of the Summit County sports and outdoors scene. She’s remembered as a big-hearted, adventure-seeking, do-it-all woman who pulled no punches. In her 14 years with the Summit Nordic Ski Club, SNSC board president Peter Haynes described Taylor as a pillar for the club, a woman who always provided a source of strength for members.
“She was here through several head coaches, she was our rock,” Haynes said. “This club would not be what it is without Hannah. She was such a strong person and personality, and hard on people. But she loved them so much — the kids especially. She did not give them a lot of breaks, but it was truly because she cared about them so much. She truly made this club better for everybody — coaches, parents and athletes. I’m at a loss at what we will do without her, truly,” Haynes continued. “Her ability to hold it all together when it kind of felt like it was too difficult at times, she just got through it all and did everything we ever asked of her.”
Coming out to Colorado with a background as a Nordic skier for Middlebury College in Vermont, and with experience working for the Appalachian Mountain Club, Taylor’s first gig with Summit Huts was officially as an office manager. She’d eventually work her way up to doing most anything and everything for the association as its managing director, the effective right-hand woman to Zobbe.
In recent years, Taylor lived with her longtime boyfriend in Silverthorne and her trusted dog and adventure buddy Saco, who was a mainstay at the Summit Huts offices. Alongside Summit County friends and colleagues like SNSC coaches Olof and Whitney Hedberg, Taylor excelled at and enjoyed ultra-endurance races. Just last summer Taylor won the High Lonesome 100 Miler, an ultra-endurance race across the peaks, valleys and forest surrounding Salida.
In remembering his colleague and friend, Zobbe commended Taylor for never wavering from being forceful about the things she believed in. At the heart of her belief was her adventurous personality, a sporting soul custom-made for the mountains of Summit County.
“She lived here because she wanted to live here,” Zobbe said, “because she chose to live this lifestyle. She embraced the lifestyle and community and she really got it. She was made for a place like this.”