Kevin Edwards 1957-2017

At CMH K2 12/29/2015

I lost my ski partner last week, in the same place I met him originally, deep in the woods. I met Kevin in 2001 when I was skiing alone deep in some remote woods at the Keystone ski area. As I was coming out of the woods I saw a man below coming out of the same area so I decided to introduce myself. We got on the lift together and discovered that we lived less than a half mile apart in Boulder, had a kid the same age and were both powder fanatics. We proceeded to ski another 3 runs in the same area and cemented the deal that became the basis of our relationship. I would show him where the powder was and he would tow me out of the flats. 

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Kevin and his posse at Great Canadian Heliskiing 4/1/2005

Kevin with his two favorite guides (to his immediate left) Greg Golovach and Terry Makos 4/1/2005

By the time I met Kevin he was already a heliskiing legend. The two photos above are from an event honoring his 100th day of heliskiing at Great Canadian Heliskiing where they bestowed on him a pair of custom skis for his achievement. Every year Kevin would put together a group of friends and bring them to this heli operation located between Golden, BC and Rogers Pass for a week of heliskiing. When I met him that first day at Keystone, we hadn’t been on the lift for more than 5 minutes before he started telling me how I had to join him up there.  Besides all the friends he brought with him he also became very close to the guides who worked there and became lifelong friends with them as well.

Kevin’s favorite form of transportation

Young and happy!

Kevin lived for those weeks in British Columbia. As he often described it, his life was 51 weeks of anticipation and one week of bliss! Kevin showed so many folks the joy of powder skiing and introduced me to so many kindred spirits. While the skiing was always phenomenal, the camaraderie was even better – fabulous dinners with good friends where we gave each other shit in between reliving just how fantastic the day had been.

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Never without a big smile in the mountains!

Leading the way!

Faster than a speeding bullet…

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Showing us all how it’s properly done…

By 2008 I was on my 4th trip to GCH with Kevin and company and that was a particularly bountiful year as you can tell by watching the videos below

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The video talent after a long day in the field…

Kevin with the man who led us to all those goodies and shot those videos!

Meanwhile back on the home front (Colorado) I decided to return the favor by introducing Kevin to my favorite powder mecca – Wolf Creek. From then on the Wolf became our sacred place – the place where we could always go to worship at the alter of deep powder – a few shots from one of our prayer sessions are below…

Up on Knife Ridge

Pure bliss going down…

Deep…

and deeper…

Kevin was the one person I could always count on to make the 9 hour round trip drive to Wolf for what I liked to call “48 hours of powder”. We’d go a couple of times a year and hike the ridge lines that surround the ski area – getting fresh tracks all day. The video below is from President’s Day Weekend in 2011 and what a typical two day trip was like for us…

So every year we would plan a trip to BC – we started moving around and checking out other places and bringing our crew with us. What we soon discovered was that the guides moved around too so every where we went we would be greeted by familiar faces.

Lunch in the Valhallas…

followed by some powder turns…

and an end of the day group portrait…

when the light was just perfect

In 2012 we decided to go back to Great Canadian for one last trip and boy was that a good decision. Once again led by the incomparable Greg Golovach we enjoyed 5 fabulous days as evidenced by the video below…

I’d follow these two just about anywhere…

I must admit that I occasionally cheated on Kevin and in 2011 was lured to Haines, Alaska by my other good heli buddy David Cole. It took awhile but I finally convinced Kevin there was more to skiing than trees so in 2013 he joined our AK crew for the first time. And of course he took to it like a fish to water…

There’s that grin again…

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In to the steeps…

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with the AK crew

After that trip the crews began to merge and we ended up with what I called the core four – me, Kevin, David and Aaron Suzuki – four guys who could easily be convinced to go anywhere and everywhere as long as there was powder to be had…

Was it something he ate?

Our first trip together was to Revelstoke, BC where after a couple of days on the hill we headed out to Eagle Pass to ski with Scotty Newsome, our old guide from SnowwaterSONY DSC

From there it was on to Valdez, Alaska where we had a most unfortunate incident. To make a long story short, due to an unexpected cornice collapse, Aaron, I and one of our guides fell 1200 feet down a mountainside. Aaron and the guide sustained minor injuries but I unfortunately turned my leg all the way around and tore every ligament in my left knee. Kevin wrote a long piece about this trip and the meaning of faith which is worth reading in retrospect. 

Kevin at the bustling Valdez airport

and the equally busy Chugach Range

One year and 100+ PT appointments later I got back on my board and headed back to BC with the gang and sampled a CMH experience at their K2 Rotor Lodge and of course, Kevin was there.

Bonding with Aaron

Tearing it up with that big smile

and mixing with the rest of the riff raff

And earlier this year, we met up with our old friends and guides Greg and Terry at Kingfisher Heliskiing and had ourselves a most joyful reunion.

Ever seen this posse before?

or this smiling face?

or the one ski trick Kevin knew how to do?

So up till now, this post has read like a most pleasant travelogue but unfortunately it does not have a happy ending. Last Friday, April 28th, while skiing in the woods with me at Loveland, something happened – (amended note – coroner now says cause of death “heart failure” from enlarged heart which is a known issue with endurance athletes – he was a triathlete) not sure exactly what and may never know but the end result is that Kevin is no longer with us. I can not tell you how sorry I am I was not able to help him when he needed me most. We were ski partners for 15+ years and chased powder all over North America together. He was there at both my highest and lowest moments and I’d like to think I helped him through some tough times but for the most part he led a charmed life on the slopes which all came to a terrible end last week. Kevin was a great guy, who made people laugh, helped everyone he could and was an inspiration to us all. I can not believe I will never share another run with him again or hear him give me shit about my liberal leanings.

Right before the last run of his life

I am going to miss Kevin so much. I was so lucky to have him as my ski partner over all these years. He pulled me out of so many flat spots both literally and figuratively. He was beloved by so many and the first to pitch in when anyone needed some help. I can not believe he is gone but if there is a heaven I know he’s skiing deep powder right now. Goodnight sweet prince…


22 Responses to “Kevin Edwards 1957-2017”

  • David Saraceni Says:

    Rest in Peace Kevin

  • David Edwards Says:

    Brad,

    Thank you sooooooooooooo much!

  • Paul Says:

    What a beautiful tribute. The loss of such a good man is hard to fathom. Lucky to have shared 15 years of incredible powder and great friendship.

  • Cotton Burden Says:

    Brad,

    Thanks seems like such a small word when I think of the incredible remembrance that you’ve compiled. It is Kevin’s smile that shines through everything. I know it wasn’t difficult, but THANK YOU for capturing it over and over again. It is clearly the best way to remember our friend. Cotton

  • Linda Lowry Says:

    Thank you! That was awesome! Beautiful and uplifting. I was with Kevin on one of his first heli-ski trips in BC; maybe his first, certainly mine. His early powder cronies Tom Bergh, Carol Russo, Bob and Sally Dalton were some of the cast. We had a blast and a fresh three feet of snow! I got named the “scud missile” because nobody knew where I would end up.

    Kevin and Tom shared many adventures: skiing, kayaking, trolling and maybe their first triathlon with me. As Tom said I was usually 200 feet back but I would be damned if I was going to be left behind. I am so grateful for the encouragement, the joy, the humor, the adventure that Kevin shared with me. He always welcomed me to join even years later when we were both single parents of young girls. That smile and open heart were constant.

    I cry for the loss of you, Kevin. You touched so many in such a positive way.
    Your life was full of what you loved and is an inspiration. You will live on in our hearts.
    Love and solace to the Edwards clan.

  • Chris Edwards Says:

    Thank you Brad. You are a true and tried Friend. I’m sure Kevin is framing the Powder in heaven too. Thanks for the stories. It helps to here and know just how many friends and good times he had.
    Chris Edwards or the Sewer Rat as my loving brothers called me.

  • Tom Rice Says:

    Hi Karen, I just read this post and am stunned and saddened by your loss. May your faith, family and friends see you through what will certainly be some difficult days ahead. You were so fortunate to have enjoyed your time with him sharing your mutual passion on the slopes. Tom

  • Wayne Bingham Says:

    Many years ago I had the privilege of introducing Kevin to heliskiing at my brand new heliski operation, Great Canadian. It was instantly apparent that he would become an addict, and his dream was to become a heliski guide. Along with Tom, Linda, Carol, Bob and Sally, and Leslie, they became more friends than guests. Kevin brought great energy to whatever he did, and was truly the most passionate skier I ever met. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to a great friend.

  • Chris Edwards Says:

    So great… I’ll keep this post as long as I’m making turns. Thanks Brad.

  • Keith Says:

    Brad,

    Thanks to Kevin, we all shared some incredible times in the mountains that I will never forget. His powder grin has left life long impressions on so many and will never be forgotten. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sarah P Says:

    Hi Brad,

    This is such a touching & fitting tribute to Kevin.

    He was an inspiration to me. From when we first met I was struck by his energy & zest to just grasp life’s opportunities. Chronological age…pah, Kev was able to show just what physiological age can do when it came to training & IM. He had such a passion for a good Tri workout & as I would find, skiing. I know he found it hilarious how this Brit wasn’t a duck to water on the slopes. But hey, I held my own on our training runs & canyon rides. I’ve come to love Alpine skiing, albeit only just advancing to the difficult slopes.

    I’m blessed to have known him. We kept in touch & so he knew how my studies were going & my impending qualification as a Paramedic.

    Kev, I’ll remember you fondly & draw from the energy I know I have on the shifts to come knowing that you’d inspire me to do so. There was always that little bit extra energy available somehow to get thru the training we did together, so I can do the same on even the busiest, most exhausting EMS shifts to come.

    I’ve tried to take solace knowing you would have been in your element up there. You were a rare breed Kevin Edwards, a rare breed indeed.

  • Aaron Says:

    Literally, all I ever did with Kevin was heli ski. I thought no one could love it more than me, but then I met Kevin. He was selfless in his willingness to ski first to take photos of everyone. 🙂 The passion. The athleticism. There was only and will only ever be one Kevin Edwards!

  • Lennard Zinn Says:

    I, too, can’t believe he is gone. Just two days before he died, he and I were joking around. He was revising my will–which he had originally done for me over a decade ago. Under “Disposition of Remains,” it said that in lieu of flowers, I wanted contributions to be made to the Nature Conservancy. He replaced that in Track Changes with “SOCIETY TO CALM DOWN AND TALK SOME SENSE INTO GLOBAL WARMING FANATICS,” and the editor’s name and comment in the right margin says, “Kevin: I changed this from TNC as I know what is best.” I cracked up and joked with him about it. Now, I just see that “Kevin” in the margin, and I don’t want to take it out.
    Whenever I ski powder, I always think of Kevin saying, “There is nothing like that feeling of floating on top of deep, light snow.” Now, I’ll never be able to forget it. I miss you, buddy.

  • bgilbert Says:

    The following email was sent to me by Matt Dewitt

    I met Kevin on a chairlift at Wolfcreek 4 years ago. I was on a trip with my girlfriend and some of our best friends. I was boarding by myself to satisfy my needs to spend my time in the trees in deep powder a need the others in my group don’t quite share. Kevin asked if I had done the hike-to terrain yet and offered to show me around, we spent the next two days together giggling as kids as we dove into wonderful glades full of powder. I immediately felt a great connection with him and felt as though we had been friends for some time. He had a very genuine quality to me. He wanted me to follow him through the glades so he could capture my turns on his go pro camera. He was interested in making my trip good. We spent those two days hiking and riding all day, a truly wonderful trip for me thanks to him.
    We kept in touch and he invited me on several helicopter trips. I truly regret not being able to share one of those adventures with him. It’s not often you meet people that you feel comfortable enough with to travel across the country to do such a trip with but he was such a person for me. I will always think of him as I pause to drop into the trees and recognize what a special friend he was.

    I realize I don’t know any of you guys on this email but wanted to share my experience with him. I also hoped someone might share with his daughter if/ when appropriate. His passing has had an impact on me even though we only spent several days together. I would love the opportunity to continue his legacy with the heli-trip or some annual get together in honor of his love for the mountains. He was a special friend indeed and will be missed dearly. I’m thankful for the short time I got to spend with him.

  • bgilbert Says:

    The following email was sent to me by Trevor Clancy

    First, my condolences to all of you who knew and loved Kevin. I had only spent a couple days with him, on a heli trip over new year’s in 2015. I don’t need to say much else, those few days of dropping powder lines in the Koots made me feel like long time friends, with everyone. I know he meant a lot to all of you. I’d like you to know that his life has touched mine in a positive way. As has each of yours. It’s been my pleasure to know all of you (that I’ve met so far.)
    Every time I burn my bacon I think, “Kevin ASKED for his bacon this way,” and boy, he put it away. I should go for a run now, after a hard day of riding, but I’m not that hard core.
    I will keep Kevin’s memory as an ally. One of those who bring life back into perspective.
    I’m especially sorry for your loss, Brad. I’ve lost close friends to freak accidents as well. It’s a great mystery we’re involved in, wonderful, nonsensical…That’s why they call it the Great Mystery, right?
    To living it the best we can, hope to ride with you all again soon,
    Trev

  • bgilbert Says:

    The following email was sent to me by Greg Porter – the current owner of Great Canadian Heliskiing

    Brad

    This is gutting news.

    As you know more than any of us, Kevin skied 10 lifetimes of vertical feet, but he only seemed to be counting how many people he could share his passion for powder with. I am here at helicat canada meetings and connecting the dots between who Kevin has skied with. He lived a life, he will be missed here in BC.

    There will be too many fresh lines left unskied now.

  • bgilbert Says:

    The following email was sent to me by Deane Pickering of Great Canadian Heliskiing

    Hi Brad,
    This is such sad news. You have our deepest condolences.
    Kevin was a huge part of the history of GCH.
    Thank you very much for sharing the wonderful words and story.
    Take care friend.
    Deane and the GCH team.

  • David Cole Says:

    After many heliskiing trips with Kevin, he is soul brother forever. Kevin will always be remembered and will be a part of every one of our ski adventures as we will carry his spirit with us.

  • Lisa J. Shultz Says:

    I saw the article about Kevin in the Summit Daily and followed the link to your blog. I did not know Kevin but you paid a wonderful tribute to him. His smile throughout the tribute shows his love of skiing, especially the last photo. He died doing his bliss and is in good hands now. Thank you for sharing a bit of him with the world. Take care of yourself, Lisa Shultz

  • bgilbert Says:

    The following email is from Gregory Golovach – Kevin’s longtime friend and heliski guide from British Columbia

    Hi Everyone,

    I just got back from Cuba on Monday at midnight and I spent the day yesterday in shock at the passing of Kevin. We have lost a friend who truly lived his life to the fullest! I for one will truly miss the passion that he radiated for powder skiing ….Sadly a bright flame has gone out much to soon.

  • Bonnie Beauregard Says:

    This is a beautiful tribute. Kevin is my cousin, he had such a beautiful life full of love and adventures. You captured his spirit so well, it made me cry and smile.
    Thank you.
    Bonnie Beauregard

  • Jim Cameron Says:

    It has been months and it is still sinking in that we have lost such a wonderful beacon of good. I worked with Kevin doing his other passion: The ski business. He was never afraid of trying new ideas and was years ahead of the pack with his ideas. Cutting out a layer of hassle by selling sporting goods on the internet was one. Embracing fat alpine skis many years before they were the norm is another. I’m one of the few people that never skied with Kevin. I can only imagine the ear to ear smile at the run out of a great powder stash. If there is powder in Heaven, I’m sure I’ll find him to finally get a run with him and that smile!

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