When I heard of the demise of our good friend Dave Sheets today I skied behind a large spine jump in the Blackcomb terrain park where I was shooting, and shed a few private tears in disbelief. As I walked to Brandys to have a quiet beer with Tanya in honour of Dave, I called my ex-wife and told her she wouldnt have to worry about Dave rubbing the top of her head anymore, as that was how he used to greet her. She hated that! Im sure shell miss it now.
During my life in Whistler, Ive lost a number of friends to the mountains, to the rivers, to nature. This is the world we live in and love. It sucks that it happens, but we play the game and we all know the possibility is there.
Dave is another amazing, wonderful spirit, that has been taken from us far too soon, and I always have to wonder why the very special people are so often the ones. Is there some greater purpose that I cant understand at work here?
Statements like "Only the good die young" ring through my head. Why is that?
I try to take away the pain by telling myself "Gods making a ski team, and hes only picking the best!" Then I jump to, "Its that Trevor, Stevie, Lumpy, Brett, Kim, and the gang, need an update on whats going on down here, so someones got to take news." Right away I can picture Trevors pride in Tanyas strength to have brought up his two outstanding kids in his absence, and I start to feel a bit better. Then I can hear Stevies comments about the state of the world, in his dry, witty humour, and then I smile. I can think of any one of the amazing characters and precious gems that have been snatched away from us, and hear their voices, clear as day. I recall numerous situations and events that endeared them to me. Thoughts that send a tear to my eye or a chill up my spine. Then I think, "Wait a second, Seppo, Rabbit, Craig! They must be giving the gang updates! They dont need Dave this soon!" That cant be the answer.
I arrive at Brandys and I see the familiar faces milling around the back door. Subdued greetings and comments of Dave are exchanged and I make my way inside. Within no time, the place is packed with a lot of the core crew of Whistler, from 20-year locals to first timers. The subdued greetings build to a roar. A feeling comes over me that is hard to explain, but I feel comfort, and a sense of family. I think of Dave.