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A Tribute to Following the Dream

15 December 2008 By: Casey No Comment | The Fall Line

What does it mean to live? To really be alive? To experience the feeling of an incomparable moment and give up everything you have to seek more of that same feeling? Is living following your heart? Your passion? Is living giving up everything in the world to pursue what you love? To me, living is skiing. Living is being able to find those few singular moments while all is white in the mountains.

I ask myself these questions after hearing the tragic news of yesterday’s inbound slide at Snowbird. A 27 year old woman, Heather Gross, was caught in the slide while pursuing what she loved. While I did not know Heather, I do know many people like her. I know many people who have had close calls or have been seriously injured while skiing. People who would give up careers, loved ones, homes, and money to spend their lives following their skiing addiction. Even at the cost of their own safety. From everything I’ve read in the last 12 hours about Heather, I know she was a skier at heart who spent all the time she could on the mountain and my condolences go to her family and friends who have lost their loved one.

Every time I hear about someone who has died skiing, I try to justify their death by saying “at least they died doing something they loved”. But when someone is having a fun day at a resort, laughing with their friends, and an in bounds avalanche claims their life, it makes me incredibly angry. It also reminds me how dangerous skiing is, regardless of how safe you may feel out there.

The skiing community is like no other community I’ve ever seen. We are a group of people spread across the world, with our love and passion for the mountains as our bond. Unlike many sports, skiing is not just another activity. It’s not just something to do or a reason to vacation somewhere. Skiing is a way of life, and for many, a reason for living it. And when someone loses their life while doing something they love, it effects us all.

To Heather, and all of those who have had their lives claimed by the mountains, this is to you. May you find never ending fresh lines and blue bird days where ever you are.

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