"Remembering the Skiers We Lost"
This is going to sound very hard hearted, but the death in the mountains of a young skier I didn't know does not feel more personal to me than the death of any other young stranger around the world, many thousands every day, by war, crime, disease, accident. The deaths that are personal to me--the friend who started up Mt Washington with me. I came down, he didn't. My friend who died in the Revelstoke avalanche. The two high school friends who killed themselves. The college friend who died of cancer in her twenties. The son of my classmates, 20 years old, who drove into a tree, drunk. The cousin I never knew who died at the Battle of the Bulge but whose parents--my great aunt and uncle--talked about him every time I saw them, twenty years later. My cousin who died of AIDS, and his brother, from cancer. My brother--not really young--he was very proud to have made age 50, barely. I'm sure we all have lists like that. To me the outpouring of internet grief and tribute when some well known skier, or other athlete, or some other kind of celebrity dies reminds me of people slowing down to get a good look at an accident by the side of the road, or maybe it's a last chance to bask in their reflected tragic glory. We didn't lose them. Their friends and family did.