The North American ski community is reeling today with the news that backcountry blogger Steve Romeo and skiing partner Chris Onufer have died in an avalanche on Ranger Peak near Jackson Hole. Inspirational as a big mountain skier, as a pioneer of online ski media, and especially as one of the most positive people you could ever hope to meet, Romeo was an endless source of snow stoke.
His motto was “Live to Ski,” and he lived his motto every day of his life, hiking and skiing lines even some of the best skiers only dream of, then posting his gear and terrain observations at TetonAT.com, his popular website. I had the pleasure to meet Steve in 2007 at the Alta PowderKeg in Utah. I remember he had ostrich for dinner, “To get crazy ostrich legs for the race.” The day after the competition, I was on a randonee relay team with Steve and Lou and Lisa Dawson. Steve made us all look like we were standing still when he literally ran up the slope (check out the video halfway down in this Lou Dawson Wild Snow post).
Most importantly to us here at the Gear Institute, when we first decided to build this site, Steve was our first contact. Much of the direction of where we want to go, and the personal and professional quality of people we want to work with, was discussed with Steve and his father, drinking beer on a warm September afternoon in 2010 in Teton Village at the Mangy Moose. A few weeks later, Steve sent us our first Faculty bio and photograph.
While we all got too busy to ever actually partner on a test, Steve will always be a source of inspiration for all of us. Below is the Faculty bio he sent. RIP, my friend. You did it all so fast.
Steve Romeo Bio
“In 1993, after receiving my college diploma, I packed up my car and moved west from Connecticut to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to get a feel for the real mountains. For the next six years I worked at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, honing my skiing style and technique and in the mid-nineties, finally got my first taste of skiing off a real Teton peak…Buck Mountain in Grand Teton National Park. I left the lift-served skiing world completely in 1999 and ever since, have been earning my turns and searching out untracked powder slopes and steep couloirs.
There have been a lot of summits and descents since then, and skiing has taken me to New Zealand, Antarctica, South America, Mexico, Europe and many amazing places right here in the great US of A. My “hit-list” gets longer by the day and I hope I can even ski a quarter of the things on it. In the mid 2000’s, I was a halfway decent ski mountaineering racer and was a member of the US Ski Mountaineering Team in 2006 and 2008. I also competed in the World Ski Mountaineering Championships in the same years. In 2006, I started documenting my adventures and thoughts on the website TetonAT.com, which takes up a lot of my time when I’m not skiing or working my day job. It’s fun to communicate with others from around the world through the website, as many of us are very similar and live a life dedicated to skiing. Since then, I have acquired sponsorships from some of the big guns in the backcountry skiing and outdoor industry, like Black Diamond, Dynafit, Arc’teryx, Ortovox to name a few. “Live to Ski” is my mantra, and I try to live by it as much as possible.”