Celebration of life concert, speeches honor avalanche victims Adam Palmer, Andy Jessen and Seth Bossung

John LaConte
Vail Daily
Local musicians play songs in honor of Seth Bossung, Andy Jessen and Adam Palmer at a celebration of life in Beaver Creek on Sunday. The event celebrated the lives of the Eagle residents, who were killed in an avalanche near Silverton on Feb. 1.
JohnRyan Lockman photo.

Hundreds tuned in for a concert to celebrate the lives of Adam Palmer, Andy Jessen and Seth Bossung on Sunday.

And for those who didn’t know the men who were killed in an avalanche near Silverton on Feb. 1, a group of speakers told viewers who they were through tribute speeches and stories.

The concert held special significance for those who knew Adam Palmer the musician, as several original songs by Palmer were enjoyed. Palmer’s former bandmates in Hustle, Hardscrabble and the Olora Bros chose songs they used to play with him, as well.

Before the show, Sean Healey from Hustle described Palmer as a rare talent, musically.

“He was better than everybody at everything,” Healey said. “He could pick up any of the instruments on the stage and play them better than everybody else who was playing. But he was the most humble dude on the planet.”

Healey said one of his fondest memories of playing with Palmer was in Edwards in 2013 at the very first WinterWonderGrass show. Drummer Jake Wolf played in the set, as well.

“He was never showboating, but he could, he had that ability,” Wolf said. “He respectfully filled in gaps, because he was very knowledgeable about how the song went. He played gentle, but it was tasty, what he did. He listened to what everybody was doing.”

Listening live from the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Sunday, John Gitchell said Palmer’s original songs, played by Jena Skinner, Rob Eaton Jr. and Elli Varas, was “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.”

Jena Skinner, Rob Eaton Jr. and Elli Varas play songs written by Adam Palmer at a celebration of life for Eagle residents Seth Bossung, Andy Jessen and Adam Palmer on Sunday.
JohnRyan Lockman photo.

Gitchell spoke about Bossung, who he said was a kind, caring and giving person who loved his wife and children above all else.

“The last time I spoke with Seth was on the Friday before he took the hut trip … his biggest concern was that he was going to be away from his family for just three days,” Gitchell said.

Kim Langmaid said she used to ski the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park with Bossung, when he would make the 11-hour journey from Telluride to visit his wife Cindy, with whom Langmaid attended graduate school at Teton Science School.

“He was one of the most graceful, energetic and inspiring tele skiers I’ve ever known,” Langmaid said.

Andy Jessen’s father, Phil Jessen, said Palmer, Jessen and Bossung were cut from the same tapestry of life.

“A tapestry interwoven with elements of exuberance, excitement, love for family and friends, anticipation, adventure, but most of all, service,” he said. “That was the broadest swath of material in the tapestry of their three lives.”

Andy Jessen’s father Phil Jessen speaks at a celebration of life for Andy, Seth Bossung and Adam Palmer on Sunday at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek. John-Ryan Lockman photo.

The closing speech helped in achieving some closure, as Andy’s wife Amanda Jessen took on the difficult task of relaying some of the details from that day.

Event emcee Ken Hoeve was in Silverton with Amanda when the team began looking for the men and stopped one of the search and rescue trucks en route.

“I had no words at the time and he said, ‘This is Amanda and today you’re heading out looking for her husband and his friends,'” Amanda said. “Our eyes met and I saw deeply that they knew exactly what job they were about to do … there were no words that could be said in that moment.”

Hoeve concluded Sunday’s event by paying respect to the men and women of mountain search and rescue operations.

“We are so appreciative to the heroic efforts of the San Juan Search and Rescue Team in risking their lives to recover Adam, Seth and Andy,” he said. “Locally, we have a team of equally selfless and passionate mountain men and women that perform these same heroic acts here. Our community is so fortunate to have the care and resources of Vail Mountain Rescue, who for years now have come to the aid of so many in our surrounding mountains.”