January 2nd, 2019

Our Fallen Heroes

As tends to happen in sport, we sledders often find ourselves looking up to certain individuals who exemplify what our activity of choice means to us.

These are the leaders in our community. They are role models who can lead us, teach us and make us better on the mountain as well as in daily life; their lessons often transfer between both.

Some of our snowmobiling heroes help to enrichen the lives of others while they battle their own pain (both physical and mental) and continue to heal. Some are just so purely entertaining to watch that a following grows organically. Others exhibit an exceptional combination of snowmobile and people-skills that make them a perfect spokesperson to show just how well a product can perform. Some just plain rip.

Fallen Heroes

However they come to be known, these industry heavyweights offer us all goals to achieve, skills to master, gear and equipment to desire and inspiration for our lives. We follow these ambassadors on social media; watch them on video or DVD; meet them at snow shows and dealer events; and work with them at club functions. Sometimes we even ride with them. Through it all, we develop an affinity and fondness for these people, which can make them feel like family in a way. And when our sport loses one of these role models, we all feel the pain.

Mountain sledders know that participation in our sport comes with a level of risk as we tackle Mother Nature and her mountains. But when one of the heroes of our sport is taken from us, we are suddenly left facing the stark reality that Mother Nature can be truly ruthless. She doesn’t care about our popularity, or the size of our followings. We all are forced to look her in the eye and admit our own shortcomings. The loss calls into question our own mortality on the slopes—or at least it should. If the best of the best can fall, what hope does the average sledder hold?

The fact is, there will always be risk; we can only mitigate it so much. And sometimes, just when we think we have a handle on the game, the goal posts move. Tragedy can strike as we attempt the most extreme maneuvers of our sport. But it can also happen during the most mundane of rides or situations. We always need to stay on our toes.

The next time you are on the mountain, take a moment and reminisce about our fallen heroes—our brothers and sisters. Remember the outpouring of grief and the tributes they received. Think about the families and friends they left behind—their parents, spouses and children. Think about all that they did to improve and advance our sport. The greatest honour and thanks you can give is to remember our fallen heroes and live every moment like it’s your last.

Fallen Heroes

To all whom the mountain has claimed, we salute you.

– Marty