May 1 2017

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…


Return of the Fantastic Four
The Opposite of Powder
Back in the Heli Again…
In the White Rim
Go west young man…
Happy Anniversary?
Not every powder tale has a happy ending
The rain in Haines falls mainly on the plains (in the mountains, it’s all snow)
When in Doubt, Head North!
Spring Skiing in Haines Alaska
Working the Winter
Springtime in the Rockies
Haines – the video
Alaska – the last frontier
Helmet Cam Fun – Berthoud Pass 3/23/11
Hail to the Wolf – President’s Day 2011
An East Vail powder tale – 1/20/11
Long live the King – Monarch Mountain 12/21/10
Striking gold at Copper Mountain 12/7/10
A Snovember to Remember
Back in the saddle again – Berthoud Pass 11/12/10
Wolf Creek and the soul of skiing
The third time’s the charm – Berthoud Pass strikes again
Gluten Free skiing and snowboarding
Aspen – The Powder of Four
One good turn deserves another – Berthoud Pass Snowboarding part II
Knowledge is powder – 10 great ski and snowboard websites
Berthoud Pass = Backcountry Fun
Back in the USSA
O Canada