Jamie Pierre skiing Big Sky on a visit last winter. In the summer of 2011, Pierre and his family moved to Big Sky as permanent residents.
WHEN I FIRST MET Jamie Pierre a year ago, I was struck by his sincere lack of ego – Pierre was all about skiing, and left all airs at the door despite his chops as professional skier. I wrote about the meeting in a blog entry, and was further impressed when upon meeting Pierre again, he recognized me and thanked me for the article – he said my compliment on his personality meant more to him than any compliment on his skiing, further proof that this guy’s down-to-earth demeanor was the real deal.
From then on, Pierre and I became friends as he visited Big Sky, exchanging hugs instead of handshakes each time he stopped by. Last spring, he let me in on a secret when I caught him looking at the real estate section in Big Sky’s local paper – he and his family liked Big Sky so much, they were looking to become residents.
It was the friendly vibe, he said – besides offering amazing ski terrain, he always felt welcome in Big Sky, and wanted a tighter-knit community for his family to grow in. It was that vibe that fit Jamie’s personality best, because that’s the kind of guy he was himself. It wasn’t long before I was running into Pierre off the mountain in the local bars and at community gatherings.
Then the surreal news came that Pierre was killed in a snowboarding accident in Utah yesterday. It was just a few days before that he had been up at the resort, printing out his season pass with his family – he was one of Big Sky’s ski ambassadors for the season. He hoisted his son in his arms so the two of them could be in his pass picture together, and chatted with Big Sky videographer Chris Kamman about the great shots they would get this winter.
Now, it is with tremendous sorrow that we say goodbye to our new friend, wishing that we had been able to get to know him better as a local skier and community member. But the best tribute to him we could offer was written well before today – the blog entry chronicling my good first impressions of Pierre. I’m comforted by the fact that Pierre got to read that entry, and know that we appreciated him for not only his skiing, but for who he was as a person. For what I wrote last winter stands true: “despite his hardcore credentials and bad ass abilities, it’s clear that come après, Pierre is just like any Big Sky local, whether housekeeper, bar tender, or resort General Manager: a skier trying to live his passion, finding inspiration in others doing the same. Ego not included.”
Funeral services for Jamie Pierre will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 19th at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Salt Lake City. Family and friends have set up a memorial fund to help care for his wife and children - donations can be made through the Jamie Pierre Memorial Fund at any US Bank or by calling 1-800-USBANKS.
Check out the original The Way I Ski It entry on Jamie Pierre from last winter, and some of the great work he did with the Big Sky Powder Network.
You can also read more about Pierre's death as reported yesterday by the Salt Lake Tribune.
Jamie Pierre last December at Big Sky's season kick-off party with Scot Schmidt, me, and Chad Jones.