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Friends, family say fond farewell to fallen skier

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Dave Sheets remembered as ‘larger than life’; foundation for critical care equipment created in his memory

Most of all, friends and family remember Dave Sheets as one of the happiest guys in Whistler – one of those lucky few who sincerely loved his many jobs, his many friends, and his remarkable life in the mountains.

"He was larger than life," recalled Brian Leighton, a long-time friend and past employer of Sheets.

"He was a big guy, but he was pretty gentle and caring. He cared about people."

On Feb. 13, Sheets died at the age of 31 in a skiing accident on the Honeycomb Run of Blackcomb Mountain after colliding with another skier. According to Whistler-Blackcomb, at approximately 10 a.m. he skied over a knoll and crashed into another skier who was turning in his direction.

In the resulting collision, the other skier’s knee struck his head. Sheets was wearing a helmet at the time.

He was diagnosed with a head injury by Ski Patrol, and his condition deteriorated as he was brought to the Whistler Health Care Centre. After emergency treatment, he was sent by helicopter to Vancouver General Hospital, where he died as a result of his injury.

The other skier in the collision was also taken to the health care centre and was released without any serious injuries.

Dave Sheets is survived by his parents, Rod and Liz Sheets, his brother Peter, nephew Jordan, Grandfather Gordon Hillborn, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He was a loving partner to Dianna Carey.

Friends recall Sheets as an open, honest and generous person who loved life. But his final act of generosity was truly telling – he loved life enough to be a registered organ donor, and doctors at VGH were able to transplant his organs into six recipients, perhaps saving their lives in the process.

Sheets, or ‘Sheetsy’ to his friends, was born on Nov. 1, 1971 in Merritt B.C. He lived in Logan Lake, outside of Kamloops, until he moved to Whistler at the age of 19.

In Whistler, Sheets worked as a fishing guide, tended bar at Uli’s Flipside, and helped out at a local lumber mill. He was also an extremely talented skier who coached at the Camp of Champions, and was featured in various videos and photo shoots.

Through work and his love of the slopes, he befriended literally hundreds of locals in various circles.

At a memorial service at Millennium Place on Tuesday, mourners filled the auditorium, foyer, and staircases. At a celebration of his life at the GLC later that evening, the bar was filled to capacity while dozens of others lined up outside.

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