Ski season is upon us!
Update: there will be a memorial for Kelsey Hewitt Saturday, and her ashes will be spread on the mountain Sunday. See below for details from the family. Sad news from Jackson Hole this week, as the young woman who died in a tree-well skiing accident on Tuesday has been identified as Mount Hood-raised skier Kelsey Hewitt, the 25-year-old daughter of long-time Grant/Cleveland racing coach Randy Hewitt and his wife Elise.
Kelsey Hewitt (pictured with her mom Elise) grew up in Portland, raced for Grant and Cleveland High Schools, and went on to study and ski at the University of Colorado in Boulder. After several years spent exploring South Africa, New Zealand and Utah's Wasatch Mountains, she moved to Wyoming in early December with her friend Neil Anderson to work at Jackson Hole Sports. She died tragically Tuesday morning after falling into a tree well in deep powder snow on Sundance Run under the Bridger Gondola at Jackson. She was wearing a helmet at the time of her accident.
According to a press release from the Jackson Hole resort, ski patrol performed life support on Hewitt on the mountain and transported her to St. John’s Clinic in Teton Village. She was pronounced dead at 11:38 am, 36 minutes after the first call came into patrol. It was the second death at Jackson Hole this season.
Kelsey Hewitt had just turned 25 years old. Friends remember her as an awesome skier, an adventurous explorer and a super-positive person who was always quick to help others.
“Kelsey was always up for an adventure,” says her friend Garret Shields, a racing coach for Grant/Cleveland and President of the Mt. Hood Alpine Racing League. “She was always up for rock climbing or heading up to the mountain, any time. And when we needed help with baby sitting she was always there to help us out. She was bright and cheery to be around, and she had this goofy laugh that I am really going to miss.”
Kelsey Hewitt’s father Randy started the Grant/Cleveland ski racing team so that his daughter could race in high school, and he and his staff have built a fine program over the years. He was heading to Jackson Wednesday to gather Kelsey’s possessions.
In addition to her parents Randy and Elise Hewitt, Kelsey is also survived by her brother Braden.
Friends and family are encouraged to write their remembrances into the comments section below. There are also plans for a memorial for Kelsey Hewitt saturday in Portland. The following message is from the Hewitt family:
Kelsey's family would like to announce that a memorial and celebration of Kelsey's life will be held on Saturday January 2nd at 2 PM at the Irvington Tennis Club (2131 NE Thompson St). Anyone who was touched by Kelsey's life is welcome and encouraged to attend, and will be able to share a brief memory or story about Kelsey if they wish. For those that will not be in Portland, we hope to livestream the event; check Kelsey's Facebook page in the coming days for details.
We will also have a simple gathering for those close to Kelsey on Sunday morning near Timberline Lodge to spread Kelsey's ashes on the mountain she loved.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made in Kelsey's honor to American Rivers, an organization focused on river protection and reclamation.
Please help us spread the word by forwarding this invitation to anyone who may not see it directly.