Jack Hannan

(Last Updated On: September 20, 2012)

As many of you know, the world lost one of the best people ever to walk the earth last Wednesday in a slide on Mount Currie outside Pemberton, B.C. What follows is what I can get off my chest in these tough times…

In the winter of ’96-’97 I ran into my friend Karl Lavtar in the North Face lift line at Crested Butte. We started talking about the upcoming “extremes”, as the freeskiing comp was then known. He introduced me to his friend Jack, and said “Jack’s going for the win.” I raised my eyebrows a bit, but Jack didn’t disappoint, finishing second to Brant Moles that year. It was only one of many top finishes in Crested Butte and elsewhere for Jack, highlighted by his eventual first place finish in 2003, made all the more impressive coming just a year after ACL surgery.

Impressive always came easily for Jack, not that you’d ever know it, as Jack was as humble as they come. Jack and I were landscaping together in the late 90’s and he took up mountain biking. By the end of the summer, he was already better than me, even though it was a sport I’d been doing for 10 years at the time. He moved into downhilling and started winning those events, too, even though his bike was usually held together by a little JB Weld and duct tape. Tandeming on a snowmobile with Jack was always a treat as well- I’d just hold on while he would carve up a steep face. Jack was such a patient teacher as well, and I wish I could go out with him on my new snowmobile- he could have taught me more in 2 minutes than I’ll be able to learn in the next 20 years.

In 2000, the season in Crested Butte was looking grim indeed. So Jack and his closest friend Jon Johnston drove to Grand Junction, bought a tiny old trailer, and hit the road along with their two huge dogs. Jack never spent another winter in Crested Butte, although it remained his summer home for several more years. Jon and Jack took to the coast range near Whistler and made it their own, putting tracks down seemingly every mountain in this vast range. I spent a winter in Whistler early on, in 2001-2002, although that was the year Jack blew his knee some time after New Year’s. Here the three of us are returning from Fissile, not far from Whistler:

Years later, the two of them really had things figured out- there probably isn’t a valley within 2 hours of Pemberton that they hadn’t explored. My last ski trip there, in 2007, they treated me to some of the bast skiing of my life, on just a handful of their favorite lines accessed by snowmobile in the Coast Range. Here’s a couple of photos of Jack from that trip:



Three years ago, I was lucky enough to build a duplex with Jack- his first lead project. This is the house that Jack built:

I must say we were pretty happy with it- a nice energy-efficient local’s affordable housing unit that came out super tight. That fall was the last time Jack lived in Crested Butte, as he had finally figured out a way to live in Canada full-time. Before he left, we were able to ski the Emerald Couloir on Mount Baldy. It’s a heck of a ski for November in Colorado. Jack:



Jack married Laura Ogden the following summer, an incredible person and perfect match for Jack on so many levels. We’re all thinking of you Laura!

On March 31st, Jack boarded a helicopter with three friends to ski Mount Currie, a beautiful peak that towers 7,400′ above their home in Pemberton. After dropping a cornice into the chute they were planning to ski, with no avalanche results, they safely skied their line and were getting ready to do a short traverse/climb to another area of the peak. The highest member of the party then saw an avalanche heading for them- Jack was just slightly lower than the rest of the party and was the only one caught. The class 3 slide most likely occurred naturally due to a cornice failure, and although Jack was found quickly, not even Jack could survive a slide of that magnitude on that rugged of terrain. There is some solace in the cliches that Jack died “doing what he loved”, and that he likely didn’t suffer.

For those of you that would like to help Jack’s wife Laura, while she finishes up nursing school in B.C., we have set an account up for her. Here is the information:
Jack Hannan Memorial
c/o Bank Of The West
P.O. Box 429
Crested Butte, CO 81224

For those of you in the Crested Butte area, please consider attending this event as we celebrate Jack’s life:

Frank Konsella

Frank loves snow more than anything... except his wife.  He ensures his food is digested properly by chewing it 32 times before swallowing.He is a full-time real estate agent serving Crested Butte and Gunnison and would be honored to send you his monthly newsletter.

Latest posts by Frank Konsella (see all)

Frank Konsella

Frank loves snow more than anything... except his wife.    He ensures his food is digested properly by chewing it 32 times before swallowing. He is a full-time real estate agent serving Crested Butte and Gunnison and would be honored to send you his monthly newsletter.

12 thoughts on “Jack Hannan

  • April 5, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Thanks for the stories and photos Frank! I wish I could make it to CB for the benefit party. I will be thinking about you all.


  • April 5, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Thanks Frank, cya thursday.

  • April 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    thanks for posting frank, great tribute and article about a great man we all miss so much.

  • April 5, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks for this wonderful glimps of jack in his element. Many fond memories of skiing the extremes with him. see you there.Thanks for the info for Laura.

  • April 6, 2010 at 2:00 am

    Thank you Frank. I did not know Jack very well and the only time I spent around him was while wearing ski boots in many different places. He always seemed to have a smile on his face. Someone to look up to.

  • April 16, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Thank you Frank- Jack and I spent a great deal of time together doing landscaping. He immediately felt like family to me. We did so much together. He was a great contribution to all people. His humility, kindness, great skills in so many avenues, and his smile will be missed by me and my family. He is one of those people that I wish I had said more too about how much I cared for him. This is a late response. I am still so torn up. I will miss you Jack. I somehow felt comfort in the fact that Jack was a part of this world. He, without question made the world a better place. My sincerest sympathy to his family and all who new him.

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  • March 10, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I laughed and cried 😉 Jack blew me away as one of the good ones in this life. It helps to know that his legacy lives on in talented skiers, and that he passed on his craft so generously while he was here.
    Laura absolutely amazes me, too.
    Thanks to all who share their memories of Jack. “he is gone, but not forgotten.”
    Jack’s Aunt Loretta

  • November 29, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Has anyone thought of writing a book about this remarkable young man’s life? I happened on Jack Hannan’s story on the Internet last year while looking for something else. I was so impressed by how talented he was and touched by how much he was loved by his friends, wife and family. And come to find out, I knew his mom and dad in Fremont, Ca in the early 70s. My condolences to all who knew Jack.

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