A man who died in a Pemberton avalanche last week was an adventurous athlete and a dedicated volunteer with the Squamish mountain bike community whose presence will remain on the trails he helped build and maintain, say those who knew him.
Chris McCrum, 42, was identified Sunday by the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA) as the skier who was swept up in a Jan. 3 avalanche in the backcountry near Pebble Creek. He was skiing with a group when he was buried in the avalanche. His fellow skiers found him using their emergency beacon and dug out his body, but McCrum did not survive.
The skiers went to a nearby cabin for the night. Weather conditions and flight restrictions prevented police and Pemberton Search and Rescue officials from getting to the area until mid-day Friday. McCrum and the other skiers were flown back to Pemberton and police and the BC Coroners Service are investigating.
RCMP have said the group of skiers were experienced and properly equipped, but reminded the public that precautions should be taken in the backcountry.
In a SORCA Facebook post written by acting president Melissa Sheridan, McCrum was remembered as an important member of their “family of friends” who were joined by their love of biking local trails and their quest for adventure in the mountains. “It’s a brotherhood and sisterhood,” said the post.
“Chris McCrum died doing what he loved, exploring the mountains. Chris was a dedicated volunteer, a passionate past SORCA executive board member, an exceptional trail builder, an incredible athlete, and a friend to many of us,” said the post. “His energy will be felt for years to come on many of the surrounding Squamish trails that he had a hand in building and maintaining.”
McCrum will be remembered for the work he did to have Squamish’s bike trails officially recognized by the B.C. Ministry of Tourism, and for spearheading the group’s Trail Pass program, which collected funds that went directly into trail building.
“We are eternally grateful to Chris for his dedication and time spent to making the Squamish trails the world class network that it is. So the next time your tire hits the dirt, or your shovel strikes the ground, tip your helmet in thanks to an incredible pioneer, Chris McCrum,” said the group’s Facebook eulogy.
“We like to think that on January 3rd, just like he did in every (race) he raced in, Chris simply took another path, he ventured off somewhere to explore the mountains and we lost sight of him for the time being. RIP Chris, we hope to share a cold one with you at the after party.”
–with files from the Canadian Press
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