There was no "moment of silence" to remember Sarah Burke; rather like the woman herself who lived life larger than most, it was a moment of noise.
Three helicopters, their rotors beating a steady rhythm in the dull grey sky above Blackcomb Mountain, flew over the Superpipe Tuesday afternoon in tribute to the freeskiing superstar, who died three months ago to the day.
Below them, between 100 to 200 of Burke's family and friends lined the edge of the pipe, candles in hand to remember her in a private ceremony, hours before the official public ceremony is set to begin in Whistler.
"It was a really intimate experience," said Whistler Blackcomb's Tabetha Boot.
"The 'moment of noise' was reflective of Sarah, of who she was as a person and great spirit.'"
Burke's sister sang a song and gave a speech.
It is the first gathering of its kind in Whistler since Burke's accident at Park City, Utah on Jan. 10 where she was training with the Monster Energy freeskiing team.
Burke fell after attempting an alley-oop flatspin 540 and was flown to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City where doctors worked to repair a ruptured vertebral artery in her neck.
Nine days later she was taken off life support.
Burke was a pioneer for women in freeskiing. She had four gold medals from the X Games to her name, five World Cup victories, the 2005 world championships and was a driving force for the inclusion of her sport in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. But she was more than just a skiing legend; she was a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
She lived in Squamish with her husband Rory Bushfield.
A Celebration of Life will begin at 8 p.m. in Village Square and will include a video and speeches from close family and friends.
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