Thursday, April 8 at 5:30 p.m.
Former Crested Butte resident Jack Hannan perished while backcountry skiing in Canada on March 31. Jack, his wife, Laura Ogden, and friends Dan and Tessa Treadway were skiing on Mt. Currie, an 8,500-foot-high peak in the Pemberton Valley in British Columbia.
Prior to the descent they had cut off a large chunk of cornice onto the slope with no results and skied it.
The four skiers completed their descent and were turning to head back uphill over a ridge into an adjacent drainage when a Class 3 avalanche released from above and caught Hannan. While his partners were able to respond quickly and found him, he had suffered massive trauma in the avalanche.
Hannan moved to Crested Butte in 1992 from Vermont. He spent many seasons here skiing both on the hill and in the backcountry, was a ski instructor from 1993 to 1999 and competed on the freeskiing tour.
In 2003 Hannan won the Crested Butte U.S. Freeskiing Championships. It was during his career on the competitive freeskiing circuit that Hannan pioneered a line at the Whistler venue during a competition. It was subsequently named Stars and Stripes by Canadian freeskier Ian McIntosh because an American was the first to ski it.
Hannan spent summers on his bike and helped build a trail on Crested Butte Mountain known as Nasty Gash that included riding down areas of the North Face before dropping into Brush Creek. The Forest Service eventually tore down the trail.
Hannan and friend Jon Johnston first skied in Canada in 1998. Riding a chairlift on Crested Butte Mountain in 1999, Hannan and Johnston decided it was time to head farther west.
“We were riding up over the one strip of snow that was open and we just hit the road,” says Johnston. “We bought a 12-foot camper in Grand Junction.”
In 2000 Johnston, Hannan and Susan Medville started the annual commute from Crested Butte to Pemberton, British Columbia spending summers here and winters in British Columbia pioneering new ski lines in the surrounding drainages.
Hannan met Laura Ogden in Crested Butte and the two moved to Pemberton permanently in 2007 and were married in 2008.
A celebration of Jack Hannan’s life and fundraiser for Laura will be held at the Eldo on Thursday, April 8 starting at 5:30 p.m. Several friends and businesses have donated items, including brand new skis from Fatypus and K2, Smith and Scott products, ski wear, gift certificates for local restaurants and services as well as ski tunes from local shops.
There will be a silent auction for some of the products as well as an open auction for some of the bigger items.
The celebration will include film footage and images from Hannan’s adventures as well as live music by local bands the Derels and Buntron Smith.