Friends mourn death of snowboarder 

An Ty Lin fondly remembered in memorial

An Ty Lin was just out of culinary school when he discovered Whistler during a work term. He moved here after he graduated, and started to work in several local restaurants. He loved to cook. He loved his friends. He loved to snowboard.

On Saturday morning, An Ty – known as Andy to his friends – was killed in the Seppo’s Run area on Whistler when he rode into a tree well and was buried by snow. He was spotted by a passenger on the gondola who alerted the ski patrol at approximately 10:50 a.m.

The patrollers attended the scene with an on-hill doctor, and they attempted to resuscitate Andy, a 23-year-old resident of Nordic Estates. He was pronounced dead shortly after 11:30 a.m.

The coroner told Andy’s family that he had snagged his board on a tree, and was plunged headfirst into a tree well, where he was buried from his head to his knees in the snow.

The area he was snowboarding was outside of the ski patrol boundary and closed because of the early season conditions. However, that didn’t stop Andy and hundreds of other snowboarders from going under the ropes last weekend and skiing and riding these areas at their own risk.

Whistler-Blackcomb expressed its sincere condolences to Andy’s family and friends.

A memorial service was held in the Fire Rock Lounge in the Westin Resort on Tuesday, with more than 50 friends and co-workers turning out to share memories and support each other. His aunt Jerrica Lin had flown in from Toronto with her husband to bring Andy back to Winnipeg and to be part of the memorial. Just 29 years old herself, she was raised by Andy’s parents and considered him as more of a younger brother than as a nephew.

Lin was the first person to speak at the service, which was taped by Andy’s friends. A copy of the tape was given to Pique to help write an obituary for Andy.

Jerrica Lin told stories about Andy when he was younger, from the monster who used to go through her things, to the college student who used to invite his friends over every weekend to cook for them.

"He never followed the rules," said Jerrica. "To him rules were meant to be broken, and keep out meant to investigate further."

Growing up with an older brother and Jerrica made Andy the type of person he was, she said.

"He was a strong character, very independent, and very outgoing with everyone he meets. He wasn’t afraid to try new things," she said.

Andy grew up in Winnipeg. He went to school for one year in Calgary to study Information Technology, but returned to Winnipeg the next year to attend the Culinary Arts School at Red River College. He came to Whistler after he graduated in 2001, looking for a place to bring together his love for cooking with his love for the mountains and the outdoors.

"Something the coroner said to me that made me feel better was that Andy died doing what he loved. He loved being out in the mountains, snowboarding, surrounded by the faces and places he lived for," said Jerrica.

He worked at the Aubergine Grill at the Westin, the Crab Shack, Le Bocca and Sukiya Sushi and Japanese Bistro in Pemberton.

Friends and co-workers also got up to say a few words, and to share their thoughts and memories. They remembered Andy as a competent, spiritual and fun-loving person, and as someone who cared passionately about everything he was doing and the people around him. He made friends easily, and was close to his friends and co-workers.

"He really lived to the edge, and always had a smile on, no matter what," said Karen Wilhelm, the human resources director for the Westin Resort and a friend of Andy’s.

"He was really a very motivating type of person, and I think all of his friends really looked up to him. He never took anything for granted.

"When he was here working, he always had a smile on his face. It didn’t matter if we were at 100 per cent occupancy and we were overbooked, he was always smiling and enjoying himself. He was just a great presence."

He is survived by his parents and an older brother who lives in Toronto.

Andy was transported home to Winnipeg on Thursday. His family is hosting a prayer night tonight (Friday) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The funeral is Saturday at the Glen Lawn Funeral Home in Winnipeg at 455 Lagimodiere Boulevard from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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