from the Sierra Sun:OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Community members are mourning the loss of local skiing and outdoor enthusiasts Kip Garre and Allison Kreutzen, who were killed in an avalanche last week near Lone Pine, Calif.
In interviews Friday and Monday, friends and family said they remember Garre, 38, for his quiet optimism and Kreutzen, 41, for her inspiring zest for life. Both were avid outdoorsmen — Garre noted for his humble dominance on the ski slopes and Kreutzen for her undaunting passion for outdoor activities such as climbing, skiing and kayaking.“Allison lived life as fully as anyone I’ve ever met. Whatever she did, she did with 1,000 percent effort,” said Phebe Bell, a friend of Kreutzen. “More importantly than any of her many accomplishments, Allison was an incredibly kind and loving person.”
According to various reports, the avalanche occurred on April 26, with rescuers — alerted by family and friends who had not heard from the couple since they’d left three days earlier to ski the Split Couloir on Split Mountain — finding Garre and Kreutzen on April 28.
Kreutzen, an ER nurse at Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, was born in San Francisco in 1969. She grew up skiing in the Sierra where her family spent vacations, weekends and holidays throughout her childhood. She attended Chico State University earning a BA in Recreation Management, before eventually moving to Tahoe City.
“If you wanted to find Allison, look for the girl wearing the crazy dress with feathers in her hair and tattoos on her arms and who knows what else, the one with the huge smile on her face and with a crowd of friends around her, laughing and chatting as she flew up some crazy hard climb,” Bell said. “She was one of the brightest lights I have known and will be deeply missed by her hundreds of friends and her dearly loved family.”
Garre grew up in Hancock, N.H., and was captivated by the freeskiing movement of the early 90s when he moved to Squaw Valley. Garre was an early supporter in the park scene before shifting his focus to ski mountaineering and backcountry adventures.
The near pro skier made descents down notable mountains including those in Kashmir, Pakistan, China, the Tetons, the Alps, Alaska, Antarctica and his beloved Sierra.
“It’s a huge devastation. I keep thinking about it and I’m so saddened by the loss,” said fellow skier Elyse Saugstad. “He was such a huge part of our community. Every time you’d run into him you’d always see a huge smile on his face. He was someone to look up to.”
Michelle Parker, a friend and fellow Squaw Valley rider, said she saw Garre as a quiet hero who always could be seen doing incredibly technical descents — yet never needing to talk about it later.
“He never really talked about himself too much but he did have a lot to talk about,” Parker said. “He was the nicest person I ever met.”
Cody Townsend, also a fellow skier, saw Garre in the same light.
“He was the kind of guy who was a leader without ever having to announce it.” Townsend said. “It’s kind of another tragedy in Tahoe and it’s an incredible bummer because Kip was one of the most unsung heroes in Squaw.”
Scott Gaffney, director of Matchstick Productions ski films, offered these words about Garre: “I’m probably going to say the same thing everyone else says, but he was probably one of the most positive guys I’ve ever known. He’s just that kind of guy. He was incredibly humble. He probably could have been a real pro skier but he wasn’t a guy who liked to market himself. He was a guy who did everything for the right reasons.”
Kreutzen’s brother Jeff, who lives in San Francisco, said Allison always looked for the best in people and in herself.
“She definitely lived an amazing life worth telling people about,” Jeff Kreutzen said. “She inspired everybody around her, and the number of people who called her a friend was overwhelming. They both lived life as much as two human beings can.”
Fellow climber and friend Mike Davis sees the tragedy as a loss not just for Kreutzen’s family and friends, but also for the community that surrounded her.
“She was one of my close friends and climbing partners. Allison was a phenomenal athlete with about everything she did,” Davis said.
A memorial honoring Allison and Kip is scheduled for Thursday, May 5, 2011, at 2 p.m., at the Olympic Valley Lodge in Olympic Valley.
“Locals remember Kip Garre, Allison Kreutzen as athletic, caring individuals”