Posted on April 5, 2010 with 3 Comments
It has been said many times–and will be said many times again–Jack Hannan was a true, modern-day mountain man. His exploits on foot, on skis, and by sled in the Coast Mountains of BC the last several years are the stuff of legend. Jack and his merry band of super bad-ass companions–often Jon Johnston, John’s wife Susan Medville, and Jack’s wife Laura Ogden, among others–were at the forefront of sled-skiing and remote access backcountry skiing in the mountains near Pemberton since they began spending winters there a few years ago after relocating from Crested Butte, and were responsible for truly showing us what is possible when you set your mind and your legs to it (see, for example, Jack and Jon’s valiant attempts at a first descent of Mount Queen Bess, in 2008, and any of Team 13’s movies, circa the mid-2000s). Check out this video to get a glimpse of his serious ability–whoa.
Jack effortlessly embodied so many amazing qualities that the rest of us spend much daily time and effort trying to achieve–he worked harder than most to make his playtime possible, and then when it was time to ski or bike, he charged with consummate style. He never bragged about it, he had a true love and respect for the mountains, and was always quick with a smile (in face, I can’t picture his face without a smile on it!) and a kind word. Jack Hannan had a heart of gold.
I first met Jack at a freeskiing contest at Kirkwood, way back in the day. Showing up fresh on the contest scene, I didn’t know what to expect, and was definitely intimidated. Jack was one of a handful of people (along with Jamie Blair, and everyone at MSI, especially Dak, Lhotse and Sarah from NZ) who were genuinely nice, welcoming, and friendly right off the bat–Jack was nothing but encouraging, was always willing to patiently listen to my silly questions about line choice or judging or whatever. Then, when it was his turn to ski, he did not mess around–slicing his way precisely down the gnarliest billy-goat lines, his technical skills were matched by few–and then he would charge fast and strong through any open fields of chop or powder.
Jack passed away on March 31, 2010. It was an avalanche on Mt. Currie, and he was skiing with friends. I would like to send my most sincere love and condolences to his beautiful and amazing wife, Laura, and all of the family and friends he has who love him so much. Jack’s loss is immeasurable; but the lessons and inspiration that he brought and the light that he shone onto the mountains and onto the rest of us will continue forever.
(thanks to www.powdermag.com, where I borrowed the photos from, and where you can read Matt Hansen’s excellent tribute to Jack)