To the troll behind the keyboard who said the following:
“Well how long will it be till we start getting reports of deaths of snowmobilers from avalanches, and how many have to be killed before they are controlled and kept from going into dangerous locations.”
First off I want to make it very clear that I respect and appreciate the right you have to your opinion. With that said, I want to take a quick minute to share mine with you.
On February 20, 2016, I lost the love of my life Nick Roberts as a result of an Avalanche triggered by a fellow snowmobiler in Golden, British Columbia. His death changed my life, and the wedding that I was in the middle of planning was canceled, but guess what?
I love snowmobilers.
Over the last year, I have grown very close to many snowmobilers who I hadn’t met until Nick died. I reached out to many of them in hopes to share my story. I want nothing more than to prevent as many people as I can from receiving that traumatic call that I received that February afternoon.
I have had nightmares of Nick’s death nearly every night for six months, cried myself to sleep more nights than not and desperately tried to make sense of why this happened. The one thing I have NOT done is sat behind a keyboard and bashed a community of backcountry enthusiasts because of my own lack of understanding. What I have done is tried to learn more to help save those who are out their living a meaningful life.
I have spent hours upon hours discussing, crying, laughing, and learning from some of the most amazing human beings I have ever met, and you know what?
They are snowmobilers.
These people took me under their wings and carried me through this last year, and they have shown love towards my beloved Nick and had never even met him. Those snowmobilers who I now call my best friends share the hurt and grief each and every single time someone dies in the backcountry. I know this for a fact because we cry together every time it happens.
So when someone takes the time to post something on their status that is alluding to the fact that snowmobilers are going to die because they are reckless and stupid, I find it my duty to stick up for them.
I AM NOT A SNOWMOBILER.
I loved one, but I am not one. Why don’t I hate them? Why don’t I bash them? This sport killed my fiance, and my life is changed because of it, why am I on their side?
You know why? Snowmobiling made my best friend, lover, and fiance incredibly happy. Did he and his friends make mistakes? Absolutely. Did they mean to go out there and come home with one less? Absolutely not.
To the troll behind the computer screen know this, I pray every day for every person in the backcountry. Snowmobiler, snowboarder, skier, snowshoer, I don’t care, I pray. Contrary to what you believe, I do believe praying is a good practice, and I believe it is far more productive than typing random uneducated nonsense on my facebook status.
I have friends who have been buried the same way my Nick was, and they have made their lives about education. They died under that snow and were lucky enough to be rescued by their friends, but they didn’t let it stop them from living. They have shared their stories countless times and have used it to save so many others.
I have received countless messages from people who have read about my story advising me that they have learned from mine and Nick’s story and they will do everything in their power to be as educated and prepared as they can be before heading out in the backcountry. I even had one group tell me they decided to stay home one weekend because these stories have really hit home with them.
There are people who make reckless decisions all the time in the backcountry, on the highway, in the bars, at work, in their homes, etc. I was in a profession where I was exposed to absolute stupidity but also to unexplainable tragedy.
This is life.
There is a reason for having Police, EMS, Firefighters and Search and Rescue. It’s because people make mistakes, tragedies happen, and people get hurt.
This is life.
If we all sat home behind our computers knocking a sport, we don’t fully understand then maybe we wouldn’t need these services, but the fact is many of us prefer to live and to live fully.
My fiance was pulled off a mountain dead by search and rescue. Since then I have often thought about volunteering for that service. Why? Let me tell you why. I would do ANYTHING to prevent this from happening to someone else. I will do ANYTHING to prevent another woman from becoming a widow or man a widower. I would do ANYTHING to prevent a child from losing a parent or a parent from losing their child but the one thing I would NEVER do;
is tell them not to go. Why?
BECAUSE THEY ARE LIVING
To the troll glued to his keyboard, no deaths are acceptable as a result of someone “climbing the highest hill,” but it happens, and this is why we are dedicated to education and sharing these stories to prevent more death.
So here is my proposition to you.
If you would like to be a part of changing the culture of snowmobilers, by all means, come on board. I have learned so much from these selfless people who dedicate their lives to this and you can too. I will set it up just for you, and you too can be productive.
If the answer to this proposition is No, I strongly recommend you find something else to comment about because I believe things are changing. There have been more skiers die this season in avalanches than snowmobilers, and I know the majority of snowmobilers are learning and making it a priority to be better. Do I think skiers are stupid? No, I don’t. They are human, and humans make mistakes, and the only way we can learn from those mistakes is to share and to teach, and that is exactly what is happing right now in this community so if you want to be a part of it great but if you don’t, than your opinion DOES NOT count.
I have attached some of the blogs where I have openly shared my feelings on reckless uneducated snowmobilers but this in no way means I lump them all into the same stereotype and you shouldn’t either.
To the troll who typed the status above, I pray for you. I pray you find it in your heart to understand that not everyone is the same, not everyone is like you, and that is okay. If you don’t like the idea of people in the backcountry than don’t read about it. If you don’t want to pay tax dollars to services that provided rescue to humans in need than I suggest you pick that fight with your government and if you don’t want to put your life in danger in the backcountry than don’t. That is your choice, but as a widow of a dead snowmobiler, I ask you from the bottom of my heart to lay off the snowmobilers and mind your own damn business.
Well how long will it be till we start getting reports of deaths of snowmobilers from avalanches? I don’t know, but when we do, I know what I will be doing.
Loving, consoling, and appreciating this beautiful life that is so short.
To the troll, my e-mail is very easy to find and no doubt you can find my contact info if you choose to. I am more than happy to have this discussion with you in person.