Whistler boarder loses life to injuries 

Chapman passed away three weeks after he was burned in a snowmobile stunt that went bad

As recently as last Saturday, friends of local snowboarder Josh Chapman were optimistic that the 23-year-old would make a recovery from his injuries. Outside the Marketplace IGA on Aug. 3, they sold homemade cookies, hot dogs, and raffle tickets to help fund his rehabilitation.

The extent of the injuries were too severe, however, and after more than three weeks in critical condition at Vancouver General Hospital’s burn ward, Chapman passed away at approximately 4:40 p.m. on Monday.

His funeral is being held in Squamish with friends and family this weekend. His brother Jay, who is also a snowboarder, is putting together a video retrospective of Josh’s life for the service.

Remembered as a top-notch snowboarder and snowmobiler, as well as a positive and humble person who was dedicated to his sports, Chapman was injured on the evening of July 20 when he attempted to catwalk a snowmobile through a wall of flame during a party in the Squamish Industrial Park.

According to police reports, he wasn’t wearing any safety gear, and suffered severe burns to most of his body. Police are still treating it as an accident investigation, according to Squamish RCMP Sergeant Tracy Hardy. "We’re still going through the interviews and the tapes of the incident trying to ascertain what happened and if there was any fault," she said.

Almost everybody who was at the party has come forward to talk to police, and at least two videos of the stunt were turned over to the authorities.

The precise cause of death has not been released, "but he was very badly burned," said Hardy. The B.C. Coroners Service is assisting in the investigation.

Chapman, who was raised in Squamish and lived in Whistler, was coming off one of the best professional seasons of his life last winter. He finished fourth at a World Cup big air competition in Whistler, behind three Finnish boarders, and just missed the big air finals at the Ripzone Invitational in the World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

According to his sponsors at Invasion Snowboards, Chapman had since been invited to a Superpark Competition by Snowboard Magazine and attracted a lot of attention there. The magazine will include a feature on Chapman this fall.


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