"Yet another rad day on the shred, life is good...and simple."
This was the last thing Whistler snowboarder and chef Erin Solowey-Wanamaker wrote on his Facebook page before a tree-well claimed his life last season.
April 4 marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic event and Erin's words and spirit will be out in full force as his family and friends mark the occasion with a day of riding followed by a party and Search & Rescue fundraiser at Dusty's.
"Erin was a kind-hearted soul and fun-loving spirit," says longtime local Karin "KJ" Johnson.
"He was always convincing me to join him on the next big adventure and the guy was an endless source of great stories, party antics and bear hugs."
"He was the best chef," says Mike Calder. "He didn't have a specialty dish, he would just cook whatever you wanted or make something up. He could boil celery and it would be the most amazing celery you ever had."
Only 30-years-old at the time of his passing, Erin was also a driving force in Whistler's filmmaking scene. The annual B-Grade HorrorFest "Most Fearless performance" trophy is named after Erin and his mother recounts how he used to act out SNL Chris Farley skits in his Grade 4 show and tell.
Erin's parents, Susan and Denis, along with his brother Lucas, will be making the trip out from Mont Tremblant and Utah to attend the event.
"There are few words to describe this last year," says Susan Solowey. "Were it not for his wonderful, thoughtful, generous "Whistler family" we would have experienced a much lonelier time. We know that returning for his memorial in his chosen home is the place we want to be."
Life in the mountains can be hard, especially when one of the crew is taken so suddenly, but Whistler has a long tradition of honouring our fallen.
Those lost live on in our laughter and our stories and so the hills will be alive this April 4, and the party at Dusty's will be one of those honest nights of reflection, joy, and shared love as Whistler celebrates Erin and the friendship he gave to so many.
"He was always saying how lucky he felt to have such a good life," remembers Nada Shureih.
"Erin never judged anyone and always saw the best in people. He was a guy who made every day count and reminded us to make the best of every day and take nothing for granted. He's still reminding us that all the time."
Friends and family will be sharing a few celebratory runs on Whistler and the party at Dusty's will begin with après and roll from there. Admission is by donation, with prizes auctioned off and handed out throughout the evening.
All proceeds, including sales from commemorative toques and t-shirts, will go to Whistler Search & Rescue.
Music will be provided Jay Greenway, Mark Bannock, Chunky Chornz, Richy Hartl, and more.
Love, laughter and the value of a simple life will be provided, as always, by Mr. Erin Solowey-Wanamaker.
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