A man who died in a snowboarding accident on Whistler Mountain last week has been identified in New Zealand media as Rotorua's Kieran McDonogh.
Speaking to the Rotorua Daily Post, Simon Reilly said he dropped his friend off at the airport two weeks ago for the snowboarding trip of a lifetime.
"He was really excited about going on this trip, it was his life dream to go and snowboard on Whistler," he told the newspaper on Tuesday, Feb. 28. "He was really amped and had some friends over there who he was going to catch up with."
The 42-year-old was found unresponsive Friday, Feb. 24 after falling in an out-of-bounds area near Matthew’s Traverse. A witness told police he was showing McDonogh the area when the pair decided to ride down to Cakehole. McDonogh reportedly rode over a large wind slab at high speed, sending him approximately nine metres in the air, police said. Ski patrollers administered CPR before two doctors arrived on the scene and pronounced the man dead.
“Hazards exist inside and outside the ski-area boundary and people are urged to ride and ski with care,” said Whistler RCMP R. Const. Steve LeClair.
While the BC Coroners Service has not officially identified McDonogh, tributes have begun pouring in on social media as news of his death spread.
"So sorry to learn about the passing of my friend Kieran McDonogh today," wrote Costas Peppas. "His constant smile, positive attitude and joy for life were contagious everywhere he went."
"I learned several very valuable lessons from you like truly caring about people, always wear a big smile on your face because it's infectious and to appreciate every moment and live life to the fullest," posted Zach Crawford.
McDonogh, who worked in online marketing, was known as a "mentoring" type of person with a "happy-go-lucky" attitude, Reilly said. He was also described as an avid outdoorsman who loved snowboarding and mountain biking.
*This post has been updated as more information became available.