Community remembers Sam Jackenthal |

Community remembers Sam Jackenthal

The ski community and the Park City community at large are mourning the death of 16-year-old freeskier Sam Jackenthal, who died on Oct. 1 after suffering severe injuries while skiing at Perisher Resort in Australia.

Jackenthal was injured on Sept. 8 and spent a few weeks in a coma before succumbing to his injuries. Jackenthal’s father, Ron, shared the news on his Facebook page:

"We are heartbroken to share that Sam passed away late last night in Australia with his immediate family at his side. We believe that while his physical body is no longer with us, his light and spirit will continue to shine bright and bring happiness to us all, just as he always has. It is our hope, that his incredible drive, compassion and passion for life can inspire others to live life to the very fullest."

Jackenthal was the freeskiing combined (slopestyle, halfpipe and big air) champion at the USSA Nationals in 2015 and a member of Team Park City United.

Team Park City United Coach Chris "Hatch" Haslock shared a story about the young champion on his Facebook page shortly after Jackenthal’s death:

"Sam was a treasured member of the Team Park City United family, as one who always brought the highest level of competition, character, humor and camaraderie with him to the hill.

"As his longtime coach I remember Sam was one of the most persistent and tenacious human beings I knew and I mean that in the best possible way. Conquering the next level, or next big challenge, was always Sam’s goal. At six years old Sam would beg, ‘Can I ski the big hill? When can I ski the big hill?’ and I would respond, ‘Not yet, Sam.’ Sam would work harder and then try again, ‘Now, now can I ski the big hill?’ and still, two years later, I would tell him ‘Not yet, Sam.’ Finally, the persistence and hard work paid off and the response became, ‘Yes, Sam, it’s a perfect night for you to ski the big hill.’ Sam replied, ‘Really?’ Without a second thought or any hesitation he moved with purpose over to hit the big hill.

"Sam was meant to fly."

USSA President and CEO Tiger Shaw issued a statement in a press release on Saturday, capturing the sentiment expressed by the entire USSA organization.

"As our community and his family have kept vigil these past few weeks, we’ve all learned so much about Sam as a remarkable person who brought joy to those around him and an athlete who was achieving his dream," he said in the release. "Our hearts go out to the Jackenthals, as well as their extended family with Team Park City United."

According to Jennifer Guetschow, a liaison for Jackenthal family members, who have asked for privacy during this time, a memorial service is being planned for Saturday, Oct. 10, at 6 p.m. at the Utah Olympic Park. More details will be posted on The Park Record’s Facebook page as they become available.


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