I woke up yesterday morning to the devasting news that my friend, and one of our local heroes, Kyle Smaine, was killed in an avalanche in Japan.
Kyle was a professional skier, world-class mountain biker, and born and raised here in South Lake Tahoe. More importantly, he was an exceptional human being, always kind and humble to everyone. He was a guy I would always run into at the airport as he was on his way to on international adventure or another. Or I’d see him locally on morning ski tours and bike rides before work, which actually inspired this video we created together for a project for Nikon.
I associate Kyle with Morning, not only because of this video, but because of what mornings represented: siezing the day, making the most of every moment, and loving where you live. To sit with the news of his loss on this Monday morning, with a coat of recent powder here in the mountains, is especially painful.
According to the report of his death in the Mountain Gazette, Kyle had skied a line in Japan twice, safely, but another team of skiers above them triggered an avalanche that ended up burying Kyle and nearly killing his partner, fellow pro skier Adam Ü. The fact that this was a rather unlucky death makes it all the much harder to accept.
My thoughts are with Kyle’s wife Jenna Dramise, his family, friends, and the entire South Lake Tahoe adventure community who loved Kyle. I’m sharing our video as a testament to Kyle’s enduring spirit, and a call to make the most of however much time we’re lucky enough to have on this planet.
The trails and mountains of South Lake will feel a lot emptier without you, my friend.