Ripple Effect

I fell asleep last night before I could see the result of the election but it wasn’t looking good. I still had a glimpse of hope that a miracle would shift the numbers ever so slightly, but at 4 am I woke up, checked CNN and learned that that miracle never came.

Today; I am so sad. I am so sad that anger, racism, and ignorance lead this election. I am not a huge fan of Hilary Clinton, but to me, she is just like any other politician, and sometimes they can’t always be trusted, but what’s the alternative?

Donald Trump is a rich reality t.v star and a narcissistic racist who had a campaign full of hatred and dangerous rhetoric. Donald Trump awakened the KKK and accepted their support like it was a good thing. Donald Trump made fun of a handicapped reporter, and Donald Trump insulted the Mother of a fallen hero just because she was a Muslim.

I don’t have all day to write about all the horribly disgusting things Donald Trump has done during this election but these few things listed above are enough to make me say, WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED.

Donald Trump, that man I was just talking about, is now the President of the United States of America and guess what? This affects the entire world.

Let us pray.

Sometimes I wonder if people truly think about their actions and what it may mean for other people. Sometimes I wonder how a person can be so ignorant to the ripple effect that can occur when decisions like these are made.

Let me change the direction here a little bit and talk about some of what has been bothering me the last few days. I took my first AST 1 (Avalanche Safety Training) classroom course on Sunday. It was one of those things I knew I needed to do and it is definitely only the beginning of my learning, but it was one of the hardest things I have had to do, and I am so glad I had Kathy and Erik with me so we could get through it together.

The instructor had the class participate in a straw exercise while watching a video of a skier being caught in an Avalanche. When the skier’s movement stopped, you could hear him struggling to breathe, and you could hear the panic. It was heartbreaking to watch for the three of us sitting there who had been touched personally by an Avalanche.

Part of the exercise was for the students to plug their nose and breathe through a straw for the entire time the skier was under the snow. He was rescued in just over four minutes. While the class was breathing through their straws, the instructor made them think about who they had left back home. She made them think of their wives, and children, and plans they had made that may not happen now. She reminded them that they would have a lot of time to think under that snow waiting for their friends to rescue them.

But what if they don’t get rescued?

I mentioned above how I often wonder if people truly think about the ripple effect of their decisions. For any of you reading this who spend time in the backcountry I want you to read and understand every word I am about to say because this shit is real.

Nick died doing what he loved, but Nick also didn’t have to suffer the ripple effect like I have had to. Nick may have died in a beautiful bed of snow and is now free of pain, but I am here having to pick up all of the fucking pieces.

Nick may or may not have suffered, and I will never know the truth, but his amount of suffering under that snow doesn’t come close to the amount of suffering I have had to do since February 20, 2016, because his suffering ended. When will mine end?

Any of you who read my blog regularly know that I try very hard to share the things that I am grateful for and the blessings I have experienced over the last nine months but the last few days have been so hard.

After sitting through the AST course and seeing a picture of Nick’s Avalanche on one of the slides, I realized; this is my life. This is so personal, and the passion that has developed through this is almost uncontrollable, and my goal is to do two things; share and save lives.

I was able to see pictures of the site Nick died at, and the pictures were so hard to look at. By the way, the person who had them did not force them on me; I insisted I wanted to see them. I saw the pictures of Nick’s sled sticking out of the snow; I saw pictures of Nick’s hole, and I was shown where Nick was buried in relation to his sled. I saw pictures of where Nick was sitting when the mountain slid, and I was shown pictures of where it slid. I knew it was massive but Wow.

I also saw pictures of all the men that were there on their own time working so hard to dig up those sleds, and I still can’t say thank you enough to all of you who were involved. That meant the absolute world to me. If we ever happen to be in the same place, please approach me and tell me you were there, because I want to say thank you.

I know many people think I am torturing myself by subjecting myself to AST and photos and information that hurts so much to learn but I am doing this so I can truly understand, and so I can help educate and remind all of you how important it is for you to come home.

I have only taken one AST class, and it was the classroom portion of a beginners level course. That is it. GUESS WHAT?

I AM NOT A FUCKING EXPERT, and neither are you.

When I looked at the pictures of where Nick was, the first thing I thought was fuck you, Nick. How dare you go to a place like that, how dare you choose to ride in an area that does not match your skill level on a sled, or your knowledge of Avalanche terrain. How dare you make all of these decisions without considering the ripple effect and the life that you would create for me by doing this.


I need you all to hear what I am saying because it is so important. I want you all to go out and have a blast in those mountains, but I NEED YOU TO COME HOME. I need you to come home because I can’t handle watching the news every Monday morning with a picture of another DEAD snowmobiler. I just can’t do it, and we don’t have to.

The education is out there, the equipment is out there, the professionals willing to teach you are out there. Yes, it costs money, and it takes time. I know it’s not always convenient to designate 3 or 4 days to training and I know it’s not easy to dig up the money to purchase adequate equipment but listen to me; you will do significant damage to your loved one’s lives if you decide this stuff isn’t important. And by the way, when I say 3 or 4 days of training, I mean annually, there shouldn’t be a cap on your training and you need to understand that.

If you are going to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a mountain sled, PLEASE spend the money for everything else that will keep you riding that mountain sled for years and years to come. Nick barely got two seasons on his new sled, and his funeral cost $15,000. His death has cost my family upwards of $40,000 or more in the last nine months because without Nick’s income I am unable to maintain the life we had. Do you want to do this to your family?

Get the training, buy the equipment, learn how to use the equipment, and then buy the sled. To me, this is a no-brainer.

I want you all to go out in those mountains and have the time of your lives and then come home and share that with your families. As the person left behind, I am here to tell you; we love seeing the smile on your face when you come home, and on February 20, 2016, I didn’t get to see Nick’s smile, and I will never see it again.

Be safe out there guys and gals and remember, much like the decisions of the Americans last night, your decisions and actions affect everyone, and you have to consider that ripple effect.

How much do you love your family? Nick loved me so much, and he would want you all to know, he didn’t want this for me.

Lets make Nick proud and learn from his death and all of the other deaths in those mountains. Their deaths DO NOT have to be in vain.

Be safe everyone……


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