A celebration of life will take place Wednesday, April 27, for Whistler big-mountain skier Maxim Arsenault, who was killed skiing last week near Haines Summit, after he was swept over a cliff and buried by an avalanche.The service will be held at the Whistler Conference Centre from 4 to 6 p.m. with a memorial party to follow at Merlin's from 6:30 p.m.
Arsenault, 36, was filming with a production company near Pleasant Camp Recreation site near the B.C.-Yukon-Alaska border when he went over a 30-foot cliff and landed in a terrain trap, April 20.
The coroners' press release said Arsenault and some friends had snowmobiled to the area before he skied down a narrow trail and was swept over a steep embankment.
Members of Arsenault's party located the skier and dug him out, but were unable to resuscitate him.
In an email to Pique, Whistler-based writer Tobias C. van Veen said, "Max had that unique ability to make you live life at the edge, and to make you a better person for it."
Van Veen said he had the pleasure — and terror — of skiing with Max a few times, and said of one run in a surreal blizzard that Arsenault "never seemed to turn. I could only glimpse his tailwash."
"I'm going to miss Max and his energy and his lack of pretentiousness. He treated everyone with mad respect no matter what their ability, rode with the best, and mostly scared the rest of us shitless," he said.
On the Teton Gravity Research website, MacKenzie Ryan wrote: "I'd known Maxim for three years. He helped me with one of my first pieces for Teton Gravity Research, and he remained as encouraging and lovely as anyone I'd ever encountered."
On Facebook, grief took hold for those whose paths crossed Arsenault's.
Andrew Strain described a 2012 encounter as Arsenault started his ascent when Strain was already halfway up a mountain. "Inconceivable," Strain said as Arsenault soon caught up to the group.
"Shred in peace," Strain posted on his own page yesterday.
Low Pressure Podcast described Arsenault as always the most "stoked," and thanked him for his bottomless energy.
The BC Coroners Service and the RCMP are investigating. Arsenault's family has been notified.