To television networks covering his death, Steve Clark was a
simple construction worker. But for housemate Alison Kemp, he was “Steve-O,” an
expert skier who died in his “happy place.”
Clark, 37, was killed in a class 2 avalanche in Blackcomb’s
Ruby Bowl on New Year’s Eve. A Whistler resident, he leaves behind two parents,
a brother and a nephew to whom he’d just become an uncle seven months ago.
Kemp, also a Whistler resident, shared a house with him in
Alpine Meadows for three years. In just under a decade of friendship, she came
to know him as an exciting personality who loved the mountains like he valued
his life. She would have trusted him with her life on the slopes.
“He needed to be up there like we needed to breathe,” she said
in an interview. “He was good at it, he was experienced, it put him in his
Clark grew up
in West Vancouver and graduated from West Vancouver Secondary School in 1989.
From there he went on to study business at Capilano College and the University
of Western Ontario. He also spent time traveling all around Europe and to
Australia in his younger days.
Patricia Leslie said he moved to Whistler sometime in the late ’90s — a
place where his family had a ski cabin since the early 1970s. He learned to ski
when he was four years old and “grew up skiing Whistler and Blackcomb,” she
No run in Whistler did it for him like Spanky’s Ladder —
the entrance to some of Blackcomb’s most difficult runs such as the Garnet,
Rainbow and Ruby Bowls.
“He was a very free spirit,” Kemp said. “He was also known to
say ‘I’m going for a walk’ and he’d go up and up and he’d just go up and he’d
come back down when he was ready.
“That day wasn’t one of those days, he didn’t say he was going
for a walk and he didn’t come back.”
On New Year’s Eve, Clark had gone up with some friends and done
several laps with them in Ruby Bowl — an area that had been marked beyond
boundary due to dangerous snow conditions. The avalanche hazard was high and
there was minimal avalanche control in the area.
As Kemp tells it, Clark’s friends were readying to go and he
wanted just one more run in the bowl. People last saw him on the Blackcomb
Rescue Road at about 2 p.m.