Former Snowmass freeskier Billy Poole dies in Utah cliff jump |

Former Snowmass freeskier Billy Poole dies in Utah cliff jump

Billy Poole soars above newly opened extreme terrain at Snowmass in December 2003. (Aspen Times file)

SALT LAKE CITY Billy Poole, a rising star in the freeskiing world who lived out of his truck in Snowmass Village for years, died Tuesday in a skiing accident in Utah. Poole, 28, who is featured in this months Powder Magazine, was being filmed for the next Warren Miller movie when he cartwheeled through a pile of rocks, according to Associated Press reports. He was the classic ski bum, said Vince Lahey, who coaches the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club freeride team and knew Poole well. He lived out of the back of his truck. He occasionally slept on floors. He was pretty adamant about sleeping in his truck, especially on powder days. I think he slept mostly in parking lots at Snowmass. Poole was first noticed in the Aspen area at the first Colorado Freeride Series Championships at Snowmass Ski Area. He was 22. I was at the bottom of the venue. Billy ended up coming down this technical line during a warm-up, said John Brennan, avalanche technician with the Snowmass Ski Patrol. He didnt stick his landing, and the head judge at the time just reamed him for messing up a [landing zone] on this technical line. But we were like, Holy shit. That was a radical line. Since then we always called that the Montana meat line because the judge bitched him out for hucking his meat off of there. Poole grew up in Massachusetts and learned to ski in Montana, according to the Black Diamond website, which sponsored Poole. Brennan said that Poole spent four or five years living in the Snowmass area. Locals mostly remembered Poole for his passion and devotion to skiing. They also remembered his sheer craziness in skiing steep lines and hitting big cliffs. We went to the competition in Crested Butte one year, and he did very well, Lahey said. They ran the final day in an area they had opened only once or twice before. Billy skied a line no one else skied that day and set loose a boulder of snow he didnt know he had let loose. When he stopped to jump a cliff the boulder just took him off the cliff in a wild explosion of snow and arms and legs. Right there we were like, thats the end of Billy. But he just popped out. It was an amazing run, never to be repeated. Brennan and Lahey said they were both impressed with Pooles tenacity in following his dream to be a professional skier. He just followed his dream day in and day out, Lahey said. It was to be in ski movies and jump the biggest cliffs. Thats what he died doing. I dont think he would have asked to write his script any other way.

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