Friends, family and coworkers of Duncan MacKenzie entered the foyer of the Whistler Conference Centre to a packed house Friday night.
Though the mood was somber, friends embraced, shook hands and comforted each other. The night ahead would not be easy.
MacKenzie, a Whistler Blackcomb ski patroller was killed in an avalanche Dec.29 while backcountry skiing with three friends off the Duffey Lake Road.
When the doors to the auditorium finally swung open to the noble tune of Scottish pipes, the congregation filed in. Though there were several hundred chairs it was not nearly enough to seat the crowd. People stood at the back and sat cross-legged on the carpeted floor. His friends would later say that this turnout was fitting; Duncan touched so many over the years.
As the evening continued stories were told, stories that brought laughter and tears. Letters from far away were read and photos of MacKenzie's adventures showed his ever-present smile. As the memorial drew to a close everyone rose in a standing ovation, continuing to swap stories about a man whose smile lived on their hearts.