I had lost track of this and had earlier tried to determine who the skier was and the true circumstances of the fatality. It slipped my mind and no longer living in Banff I've lost touch of much of the 'grapevine'. I found out yesterday that this was actually a very long time aquaintance and also found out head trauma was not the cause of death. I find it somewhat unprofessional that a police officer would speculate to a newspaper (or newspaper would misreport the officer) on head trauma simply because no helmet was worn. What I hear now is the odd thing was there was no obvious signs of trauma which is what led to speculation of medical condition.
Fact is he fell in such a way that he snapped his neck at C1 and C2 although apparently there were no witnesses it remains that this was cause of death. The accident occured on 'the (speed) gully' which is a very steep pitch and correctly indentified as #81 on the map. It is a pitch that gained fame in a head tyrolia poster showing Darren Thorburn high against a deep blue sky after launching from the top during world cup training in the early 90s. It is a pitch prone to bad light, some rocks, hard hard snow, inconsistent bumps and surprise rolls. In short steep, generally flat but quite treacherous and deceptively so in some conditions.
Joel was a large fellow (6'4" I would estimate) who grew up skiing Lake Louise and had been a passing aquaintance for 20 some years from around the mountain. He was an extremely gregarious guy whom I can't even recall my first meeting with it just seemed I always knew him.
Such was he that from the first time I recall speaking with him I wondered where I knew him from and what the hell his name was. I think he was just that kind of guy who treated everyone like he knew them well and left me at least embarassed that I didn't remember his name. I'm ashamed to say he probably knew a lot more about me then I ever knew about him.
He was full of life and always full of cheer. I still distinctly recall watching the opening ceremonies of the '88 olympics when the camera zoomed in on one face radiating good cheer and the warm glow of the candle lanterns handed out to the crowd. His face just always showed so much warmth, awe and enthusiasm that a cameraman would pick him out of a crowd of 30,000 and the producer would choose that image to beam around the world to the millions of TVs tuned in to the spectacle. I teased him about that several times over the years.
Joel was a very solid and experienced skier who liked to go fast and did so in a very relaxed and natural manner. He leaves behind his wife and very young son as well as his mother and sister. http://www.ucalgary.ca/GeographyNewsletter/
I certainly was not a close friend but a very long time casual aquaintance and he long left an impression on me.
RIP Joel Martin. You will be missed by many (all that knew you) and the bigger tragedy is to those who will never have the chance to meet you.