(Last Updated On: June 5, 2010)
Today, like most days after work, I cracked a beer and checked out the latest on the internet. It didn’t take long to discover the sad news that the ski world had once again lost a member, this time Arne Backstrom. While I didn’t know Arne personally, I’m sure we competed in an IFSA contest or two over the years. The news of Arne’s passing came not much more than a week after hearing the news that former Crested Butte resident Scott Murray perished in a kiteboarding accident in San Francisco. I used to ski with Scott back in the late 90’s when he was in Crested Butte- he was an amazing telemarker as well as a talented kayaker from what I hear, but what I remember most was how happy he was to be doing the things he loved doing.
A lot of people who really loved the things they do and lived life to the fullest have left this world lately. Sometimes I feel like I went through a long stretch of dodging bullets in terms of not losing anyone I really knew to these sports, whether it’s ski mountaineering, kiteboarding, mountain biking, climbing, hang gliding, or something else. These sports can be dangerous, and it’s really no wonder I’m starting to develop a long list of friends and acquaintances that have passed away. For a long time everyone I knew was just out there having a good time, up until a few years ago, but now it seems as though at least a couple people I know pass away every year. So I’m going to take a minute and think about my friends: Tobias Lee, Scott Murray, Captain Jack Carey, Billy Poole, and especially Jack Hannan. Not a single day has gone by that I haven’t thought of Jack- miss you buddy.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s time to take a big step back and chill out, and quit doing the sports I love. But the thing is, I just wouldn’t be “me” anymore if I tried to tie myself to a desk and do nothing more dangerous than the commute to work. That doesn’t leave a lot of options- be happy and be who I am, or play it safe and live a life I might not be that happy with. I guess I’ll keep playing, and try to stay safe the best I can. And remember my buddies that aren’t with me anymore.
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