A young native son at the top of his game | AspenTimes.com

A young native son at the top of his game

Last week Aspen lost a young, energetic native son, and the Westfeldt family lost their very own Wallace. The 22-year-old snowboarder fell to his death while skiing Tonar Bowl near Aspen Highlands during a film shoot.

Ever since, Westfeldt’s death has been on seemingly everyone’s lips around town and at the ski mountains, and everyone seems to feel the same sense of stunned disbelief. Oddly, though the incident weighs on virtually every Aspenite’s mind, hardly anybody can find anything intelligent to say; most of us are left simply shaking our heads and struggling to imagine how the family must feel.

No doubt, the family is feeling a kind of pain that only those who have lost a child can understand. The rest of us can consider ourselves lucky not to know how it feels.

It’s one of the ironies of life in Aspen that we seem to lose a fair number of people, both young and old, to sporting-related accidents. We’re all blessed to live here and enjoy these mountains, but death lurks behind every tree on the ski slope, under the surface of every rushing river and, as it did with Wallace, beneath every cornice in the backcountry.

We understand these risks and we take them anyway, because that’s life in the mountains.

Of course that’s no consolation for the loss of a young man in his 20s, born and raised in the Rocky Mountains, who was performing at the top of his game and living life to the fullest.

We reserve this space to comment on the events and issues of the day, and today the topic was, without question, Wallace Westfeldt. Problem is, there’s just not that much to say, and there’s no way out of the hurt.

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the Westfeldt family and all of Wallace’s friends. We hope time and the love of family, friends and community will help heal the scars.

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