In separate accidents, a skier has passed away in Whistler and a climber at Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin.
In Whistler, ski guide Lisa Korthals died on Wednesday after being buried in an avalanche.
Whistler Blackcomb confirmed the 49-year-old woman from Pemberton was guiding a group of guests outside the resort’s boundary when the avalanche occurred near the South Creek area.
The group was heli-skiing at the time.
“Today is a difficult day for the Whistler Blackcomb and Vail Resorts family. We lost a well-loved member of our staff and community,” said Pete Sonntag, chief operating officer of Whistler Blackcomb in a release.
”Our hearts go out to her family, friends and fellow employees and we extend them our deepest condolences.”
And at Devil’s Lake, Chicago-based climber Savannah Buik, 22, passed away in a climbing accident.
The American Alpine Club released a statement that read, “Our hearts are heavy with the news that Savannah Buik passed away in a climbing accident yesterday. Savannah was our charismatic Chicago Chapter leader, spent last summer interning with us here in Golden, and just graduated with her BS in Mathematics.
“When, a few months ago, we asked her why she climbs, she wrote: ‘I divert to climbing to help me experience ALL emotions: happiness, anger, frustration, sadness, excitement… the emotions combine to make me feel whole again. Climbing is my way of feeling.’
“Savannah was an inspiration in our community, and we miss her laugh ringing through the office and local crags. We continue to be inspired by her positive spirit.”
Officials with the Department of Natural Resources say she was killed in a fall involving a rope on Wednesday from the East Bluff of the park. No other details are available.
It has been a sad year for many in the ski and climb community.
Conrad Anker recently posted a message on Instagram about loss, prior to the passing of Savannah and Lisa. But his words seem timeless and the message comforting.
There is no easy way to approach death. Avoid it and it will haunt you. Confront it and are you seeking immortality? Perhaps by accepting it and seeing death as wonderful as its partner – birth – we can lessen the pain of loss. ••• If there is one constant in life, it is that we have to understand mortality. We ponder the timing and the circumstance, especially if we engage in activities that bring us a heightened sense of awareness through danger. Each moon, with its eternal cycling, brings a sliver of wisdom. The ancients recognized this and if we step out of the buildings that contain us we are open to question our existence. The process of aging forces us to make peace with death. Our existence is, after all, fleeting and so very short. ••• During the first few months of 2018 friends, close and far have left the physical. For those, like Lama Geshe and Liz Hawley (both of Nepal) it was after a life well lived. Our bodies gives in to the daily struggle with gravity. We celebrate the life they lived. For Jim Bridwell, master and diviner of Yosemite Walls we wished another decade – so that we could be inspired by his vision. For Ann Krcik, struck by cancer, we mourn the wanton choice of death. There was so much more to do. She was a leader. For Ryan Johnson and Marc Andre LeClerc, gone in the prime of their life while pursuing their passion we question the value of adventure and risk. And those left standing, we that ply the same seas as Marc and Ryan, we feel the weight of being a survivor. With the passing of Dr. Stephen Hawking, our generation’s leader in the cosmos focusing on gravity and black holes, we are reminded of our human potential. After experiencing zero G in a jet Dr. Hawking said of the risky endeavor , “I want to show that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit.” ••• We are in this together. We have but a brief time to reach for self actualization and in the process make the world a friendlier and happier place. Let us not mourn death, let it be our inspiration. 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 Photography: @night_sky_collective @max.lowe @nytimes @jamesqmartin @alexhonnold Collection of Ann Krcik