Snowboard memorializes lost Vail kayaker |

Snowboard memorializes lost Vail kayaker

Chris Outcalt
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyDrew Hunter's friends and family built this memorial and put it near the Vail-area creek where Hunter died while kayaking in the Class IV Fish Ladders section of Black Gore Creek.

VAIL, Colo. – Forty or fifty family members and friends of Drew Hunter gathered near Black Gore Creek Sunday afternoon to celebrate the Vail resident’s life.

They sang songs, read poems and carved messages and memories into a snowboard shaped piece of wood.

“It was really nice,” said Hunter’s uncle Andrew Hunter.

Hunter was kayaking with two friends Thursday afternoon when his boat got stuck in a hole – a spot where water pours over an object and then hits a pool of water, creating a suction effect than can hold a boat underwater.

He eventually fell out of his boat. His friends chased after him along the bank of the river and tried to throw him a rope, they said. They lost sight of him a few hundred yards later when the brush on the side of the creek got thicker, they said.

Search and rescue crews started searching for Hunter Thursday afternoon. They stopped searching when it got dark and started again early Friday morning. His body was found Friday around 10 a.m.

The memorial – a horizontal piece of wood shaped like a snowboard mounted on a stake carved to look like a mountain peak – was placed a few feet from the site of Hunter’s accident.

Hunter and his friends were kayaking a section of the Black Gore Creek known as the Fish Ladders.

It snowed a few times during the gathering, Andrew Hunter said.

“It was a very organic and informal service that his friends wanted to do for him,” Andrew Hunter said.

Hunter commuted to his job on the Front Range just so he could live in Vail – he loved the mountain lifestyle, his uncle said.

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