The personal family, West Coast ski community and loving friends mourn the loss of one of their most colorful and beloved young men. Toby Lee died in an avalanche near Mt. Baker in Washington State on Tuesday, April 18, at 8 a.m.
Tobias, friend to all, skied out of this world in powder and with panache. He is survived by his parents, Melinda Lee and Chris Hafferty and Richard and Chava Lee. Tobias was born Jan. 13, 1981 in Juneau, Alaska. He grew up with siblings Nelson, Annabelle, Elijah, Adam, Aurora, Malani and Antonio. He was pre-deceased by grandfather Alvin Rix, he leaves behind grandparents Pat Rix and Jerry and Stanley Lee, all of Oklahoma City, as well as many loving aunts, uncles and cousins in the Botkin, Lee, Merrick and Oliphant families.
His passion for skiing and love of adventure left him not rootless, but with many roots in western communities, including Park City, San Francisco, Crested Butte, Colo., Truckee, Calif. and Bellingham, Wash.
At 25 years of age, Tobias was at the height of his game. He and his brother Elijah recently participated in the final 2006 World Tour Freeskiing Competition, held at Kirkwood, Calif. Tobias was thrilled to not only place 12th, but to also be awarded the much coveted "Sickbird" title. The Sickbird award goes to the competitor that skis with the most aggression and style. Although Toby was never a very aggressive individual off skis, he was known for his bold and outrageous style, as well as his compassionate and fun-loving nature. He was a unique individual who danced to his own beat. His creative approach to life delighted everyone who knew him, if only for a fleeting moment. All will forever remember his infectious smile and kindness. He was a student of life, skier, bartender, brother, friend, lover, son, artist, carpenter, surfer, traveler, writer and an amazing person who lived his life in a whirlwind of genuine love.
His family would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support in these tough and emotional times. Memorials in Tobias’ name may be sent to the Juneau Community Foundation at P.O. Box 34621, Juneau, Alaska 99803. Private services will be held today, April 22, in Glacier, Wash., near his brother Elijah’s house and the mountains he loved so much. There will be a memorial service in Juneau in May. You may view photos of Toby’s life and share memories in the online guestbook at http://www.westfordfuneralhome.com .
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The Park City Police Department last week was summoned to Snows Lane to respond to a complaint about three skiers or snowboarders who were reported to be “ducking ropes and avoiding patrollers.”