From the feature opener of the latest issue of Coast Mountain Culture magazine, editor Mike Berard describes the impact pro skier Dave Treadway had on his life and his faith.
Those who lead us into the future do so in mysterious ways. I first met Dave Treadway in the late 90s in Fernie, British Columbia. He had the kind of suspect exuberant energy that caught people off guard. Like he had something to hide. Over two decades of knowing him, I would learn that, more than any other human I have met, Dave hid nothing.
Once we embarked on a 2,700-kilometre (1,675-mile) road trip for a ski magazine assignment, a first for both of us. While a third skier and I told dirty stories about girls and boozing in the front seats, Dave suddenly popped forward and said something earnest about God and his grand road map for a pious life. Being atheists or agnostics or whatever we were at the time, the two of us laughed uproariously. It was dismissive and rude. It felt ridiculous for us to think about what comes next. We were in a van, getting paid to ski powder, living the dream. Who gave a shit about the future? Or God for that matter?
Dave was an admired leader, a prophet of the good life, and a light that guided to a brighter future.
But what is heaven if not the brightest of prospects? For some, it may hold a Christian utopia, a Buddhist nirvana, or the courage to live a shared life with a loving same-sex partner. Our hopeful futures may all look different, but what we share is an honest wish for something greater. Dave sincerely hoped all of us would find it. That sentiment defined him. He cared for you, without ever having known you.
Before he fell into a crevasse and out of our lives, Dave had T-shirts printed up for his sons that said, “Brave, Wild, Loved, and Free.” And when his celebration of life was held in Whistler, British Columbia, a vast community of mountain people came out in huge numbers to remember a man who embraced every moment. He had loved deeply. His courage was unquestioned. He was a wild spirit, capable of achieving what seemed impossible. And he was free.
As we both grew older, got married, and had children, Dave and I never came to any agreement on what the afterlife holds. But with his actions, he taught me what could be expected if I loved brave, wild, and free. In that way, he was an admired leader, a prophet of the good life, and a light that guided to a brighter future.
Brave, wild, loved, and free. Always. Rest in peace, Dave.