The photos Collin Backowski shared on his Facebook page depict a young Colorado man (he was 25) in love with life -- someone who took advantage of every second he was given to experience the thrills and chills out there for anyone bold enough to embrace them.
Unfortunately, Backowski's own personal adventure came to an end on Saturday afternoon, when a snow cave in Oregon collapsed on him.
Continue for details and photos of a person gone far too soon.
Backowski, who lived in Pine, was a snowboarder and surfer, as is clear from his Facebook page, which features a slew of photos depicting him in action. Here's one example involving water....
...and another featuring snow:
Given his proclivities, it's no surprise that he was spending his summer working at High Cascade Snowboard Camp, a children-oriented facility in Oregon.
Then, on Saturday afternoon, tragedy struck. During off-hours from the camp, Backowski and five friends headed to the hills. At one point, Backowski got ahead of the others and boarded into a snow cave. Here's a photo courtesy of the Hood River County Sheriff's Office:
Once Backowski entered, the cave collapsed. A rescue operation commenced shortly thereafter, but nothing could be done, as is clear from this Hood River County Sheriff's Office tweet:
The Hood River County Sheriff Office was coordinating recovery efforts of the body of Collin Backowski, 25. His body was located at app.
— Hood River Sheriff (@HRSO) August 4, 2013
Backowski's body was recovered yesterday morning.
John Backowski, Collin's father, was understandably shattered by this tragedy. As reported by NBC News, he said of his son, "He chose to live out there on the edge with the snowboarding and I obviously wanted more from him," Backowski said, but added, "I would never try to take it away from him. He loved it."
The camp also offered the following statement on its Facebook page:
Yesterday an off-duty staff member was killed from a snow cave collapse in an out of bounds area at Mt. Hood. We are deeply saddened by this loss but wish to immediately inform the public that all campers are safe and none were on the mountain when this incident occurred. We would like to reiterate that the area of this incident is out of bounds far from HCSC's private facilities and is an area that is off-limits to campers.
We are still learning more details about the incident with cooperation from the Hood River County Sheriff's Office and will be providing crisis-counseling onsite for staff and campers.
Our condolences to Backowski's friends, family and loved ones.
Look below for a pair of videos about the incident -- the first a relatively straight-forward news account, the second featuring animation of the accident. That's followed by photos of Backowski from his Facebook page.
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