May 27, 1975 – August 31, 2020
Park City and Summit County lost the community’s big-hearted firefighter, transportation guru and friendly mountain man on Aug. 31.
Alan Lewis Powell passed away at the University of Utah hospital while recovering from injuries he sustained in an accidental fall on Aug. 19 when the crane bucket he was working on fell. He was 45.
He is survived by his wife Lisa Anne Hardman Powell, sisters Mary Newell (and the late John Polk), Heather (Dennis) Lambeck, and Alice Powell; parents Nancy Louise Nicholson and Lewis Newell Powell, and step-mother, Pam Wylie Powell; his Hardman in-law parents Ken Hardman and Joan Hardman; his in-law siblings Jana (Brent Greenhalgh), Bonnie (David Corral), Susan (Michael Axler), Bethany (James Gardner), Michael (Rebecca), Melanie, Emma (Jaxon King) and 14 nieces and nephews, including Ben, with whom he was particularly close.
Alan’s adventure started on May 27, 1975, in Forest City, Oregon, where he was born to the late Nancy Louise Nicholson and Lewis Newell Powell. He lived his life to the fullest. Alan’s childhood included moves to Florida, Georgia, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. In Hughesville, Pennsylvania, Alan worked at Crystal Lake Camps for years and that camp became his home and family in many ways. Working at the camp trained Alan to become the ultimate handy Mountain Man his friends and family loved.
As Alan sought new opportunities in life, he headed west and pulled into Park City a few months before the 2002 Olympic Games.
His arrival to “Winter’s Favorite Town” was one of Alan’s favorite stories to tell. And the tale always included him saying to himself “I think I’m going to stay here,” as he saw Park City suddenly when he drove around the bend just west of Wanship on I-80.
With next to nothing to his name, Alan turned off the freeway and visited Deer Valley Resort, a place he had heard about. After learning the resort wasn’t hiring at the time, Alan drove on and luckily spotted the Utah Olympic Park. There, he saw a winched Snowcat grooming one of the ski jumps, and thought that was the coolest thing he had ever seen. After watching the Snowcat work on the jump for a while, Alan met the driver, who hired him immediately. Alan worked as a snowmaker at the Utah Olympic Park throughout the Olympic games, and made friends with many local athletes, who became his Olympic family. After the games wrapped and the Olympic torch was extinguished, he decided to head east and spent the summer hiking from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail. Alan’s A.T. trail name was “Snowmaker.”
Upon returning to Park City, Alan resumed his work at Utah Olympic Park, and also started taxi driving in the evening. In 2007, he became CEO of Peak Transportation, where he took pride in his dedicated drivers, employees and clients. Many of those colleagues and clients became Alan’s good friends throughout the years.
Peak Transportation also led Alan to his bride and soulmate Lisa Hardman, and their courtship is truly a Park City love story. The two met in 2009 at the old Washington School Inn in Old Town Park City. Lisa was an innkeeper, and Peak often provided transportation for her guests.
Alan and Lisa were married on June 24, 2013, in the backyard of their cabin home in Tollgate Canyon.
Although the couple longed for a family, a child wasn’t in their future, due to a series of early- pregnancy miscarriages. So, throughout the years, the couple focused their love on each other and their two cats — Boots and Mert — and two dogs — Sadie and Kenai.
Alan was a loving uncle to his nieces and nephews and a great, accessible role model to his friends’ and neighbors’ children. He dressed up several Halloweens as a Firefighter for the Tollgate Children’s Hayride, and even attended a little neighbors’ firefighter-themed birthday party as the guest of honor.
Alan was driven to help people, and that’s why he became a volunteer firefighter. He was a Certified Firefighter including Ice-water Rescue, Hazmat, Wildland, and Structure Fire. He lead volunteers to help build Tollgate’s current firehouse and was working hard with the county and community to get a permanent, professional firehouse built in Tollgate Canyon.
When the local firefighters and emergency-responders heard about Alan’s passing, they made the decision to fly their flags half mast. Alan wasn’t injured while on duty but his firefighter family wanted to honor Alan because of the level of commitment he gave to the fire department. Alan’s influence as a firefighter in Tollgate was strong, and he would teach fire education in the community and he would always raise awareness of extreme-fire conditions. He was trained by the State Fire Warden to conduct lot assessments for fire safety, and would volunteer his time to help neighbors assess their property’s wildfire safety. He also helped Tollgate’s HOA by overseeing the approval of new fire pit’s throughout the community.
Alan’s neighbors were able to pay him back with a beautiful present while he was in the hospital. They showed up at his and Lisa’s home on August 22nd and 23rd with several log splitters and chainsaws and and many helping hands. They spent two days splitting and stacking all the large logs Alan had gathered for the coming winter. Now that its all split and stacked it will be enough firewood for Lisa for several winters. One of the attendees of the “Firewood Party” was an individual whom Alan had helped rescue in the backcountry the previous winter, others were long time close friends, and a few were new neighbors that hadn’t met Alan yet.
Alan loved his Tollgate Community and met many people through serving for seven years as a volunteer on the HOA board. He also was part of Leadership Park City, Class 13, from 2006 to 2007.
While he was dedicated to his local community, Alan loved to travel. The only state he hadn’t visited was Alaska. Lisa, when she is ready, plans to take him there.
Alan’s family and friends are currently working on funeral and open house plans that will adhere to safe social distancing guidelines set by Summit County Health Department and the CDC. The funeral service, which will be by invitation only, will be held on Sept. 19, and will be available virtually. The day will begin at 11 a.m. with a firetruck memorial procession up Tollgate
Canyon. The funeral will be held at the Pine and Forest Meadows firehouse, which Alan helped build.
Set-up apart to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, a public open house will follow from 1-4 p.m., and will feature memorial displays, that will represent Alan’s childhood, family, his years at Crystal Lake Camps, the Appalachian Trail, his travels, Utah Olympic Park, his love of trains, firefighting, the Tollgate neighborhood, and his marriage and life with Lisa.
Friends, family and members of the community will be able to attend the open house on a staggered schedule, and those who live in other parts of the country who can’t make the trip, will be able to see these tables virtually and share their memories of these aspects of Alan’s life in the comments and can watch the recorded service. To learn more about the funeral and watch for updates visit www.facebook.com/groups/alanpowell/
Alan’s last public words were posted on Facebook on Aug. 29, a day after Lisa showed him a GoFundMe crowdsourcing account his cousin had created to raise money for his hospital bills. She had read him the names and messages of the people from his past who donated and he was very moved. Lisa was also able to show Alan pictures and videos of the Tollgate community log splitting service and Alan’s heartfelt gratitude rings through the words of the post:
“Good morning world. First thing I have to say is, Wow just wow. I am amazed and humbled by the response from you all. I have always felt loved by my family, friends and community but never imagined what it would feel like to experience it directly and so deeply. I’m so blessed to have Lisa in my life. She has been a rockstar and to feel her love and to feel our love continue to grow and deepen is priceless. (…) Thanks again from the bottom of my heart and the depth of my soul. Love To You All.”