Lately I’ve been afraid…well, for just over a year now. Since Shane McConkey died really. While my friends are loving one of the deepest winters on record (maybe the deepest if it holds out much longer) I remember wiping my eyes wiping the snow from the McConkey Pontoons hanging on the back of the cat at Retallack. While the boys hit the shot-ski in the lounge I felt the pain in my chest and sat one out and wrote a letter to my wife on the world’s most unreliable wi-fi connection on my phone. Chair lifts piled with snow, cats and comps, heli drops and face shots are all streaming live in the world of Tweets and Facebook mobile and I look at the week ahead and wonder if I’ll get back up there again before this season ends… Time and tide.
‘To all things Time and Tide.’ Who said that? (Other than me?) Images of Himalayan peaks and Sherpas and tent walls blowing in the wind rush back as Azir says, “The mountain will wait for me.”, preparing to lower billionaire Phillip Claiborne to base camp before edema fills his lungs with fluid over 20,000 ft. (*classic scene from K2)
I know when I return to that place there will once again be the sometimes welcome weight of remembrance beneath my feet and the voices of two more, too soon, in less than two weeks in the snow (RIP Jack Hannan and Erin Solowey-Wanamaker). I didn’t know them but like many, I suppose, recognized their faces from the shop or the mountain and in the tight knit community Whistler is there is often but one degree of separation in any tragedy from loved ones, friends and coworkers who lost one of their own…and this case is no exception. My heart reaches out to my friends who were one step closer and I pray god-speed, wings and peace to them all.
Winter is fading…it’s time to move on.
rest in peace
David Chubak, Trevor Peterson, Goran Kropp, Alex Loewe, Craig Kelly, Denis Fontaine, Doug Coombs, Shane McConkey, CR Johnson, Jack Hannan, Erin Solowey-Wanamaker… and all the others.