Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I only met Ryan briefly, but from that meeting comes a story that echoes all of the positive energy that his close friends associate with the man. GMFR was in town for the Alyeska comp and I was able to put them up for a few nights. After the comp they were hell-bent on getting down to Thompson Pass, but no one would rent them a car. So they got on craigslist and bought a van. $400. It was a hunk of shit but it only needed to last a few weeks and they figured they could sell it for what they bought it. Plus it would provide lodging.

From all accounts the trip was an incredible success. The pass delivered and the van took on legendary status. Flights to the lower 48 called the team back to Anchorage. The van wasn't running all that well. Just outside of Glenallen: click, bang, boom!! The front tire had exploded and blew itself inside out. From what I understand, the only thing holding the front wheel to the van was the brake assembly. Her race was run. With the unsigned title on the front seat, out went the thumbs. At the next town they left notice at the local bar that there was a free van down the road.

They made their flights, but that's not the point. The point? Friends, experiences, skiing. For most, this would be a trip of a life time. This would be their "ace in the hole" story for late night games of one-upsman-ship. But for GMFR it was just another chapter in a long book. Experiences like this were common for this crew; experiences you can't buy; experiences you can't plan; experiences you can't predict; experience you can't forget and experiences that inspire. Duct tape and a prayer.

I am proud to have crossed paths with this great man who truly lived life to the fullest. Catch his enthusiasm, grab some friends, have an adventure, make some turns, make it happen. And if your lucky, maybe you will inspire someone. Just like Ryan did every day.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know what to think about the WFT anymore. Skiing is an important part of all of our lives and risks plays a large part in each adventure into the mountains. It has been an emotional week and the mountains feel empty when you know that someone who enjoys them as much as Ryan did is no longer alive. We cant stop this from happening again because we are going to continue to ski, but lets all be safe out there because I love all of you! Great tribute Keith, amazing words.