Early yesterday morning, Jonathan Belle posted an item on his Facebook page. "Bout to get shreddy," he wrote -- adding after a smiling emoticon, "feeling stoked at Copper Mountain."
Mere hours later, Belle died on the Copper Mountain slopes.
Belle's loved ones are understandably distraught by this terrible tragedy, but heartened that he was doing something he loved at the end. Photos, video and details below.
This winter has been a deadly one in Colorado's backcountry, with avalanches taking the lives of far too many of those venturing beyond traditional resorts -- including a skier who died near Conejos Peak earlier this month.
In contrast, there have been fewer casualties on ski area property this year than last. Our last post on the topic, published February 10, noted that a fatality at Keystone was the fourth in-bounds death of the season.
Still, skiing brings with it risks even on so-called beginner's courses such as Copper Mountain's Vein Glory, where, according to the Summit Daily, Belle suffered his fatal accident.
Here's a video of the run circa 2010.
Skiing was clearly important to Belle, whose Facebook photo gallery includes several pics of him ready to hit the slopes, including this one....
...in addition to more traditional shots: Also featured is the image of a new tattoo.... ...accompanied by this description: "First ink. Many more to come."
Unfortunately, Belle's plans were interrupted at about 9:30 a.m. yesterday, when he reportedly struck a tree. Emergency responders rushed to the scene, but they couldn't save Belle, who was pronounced dead at the ski area clinic a short time later.
He had struck a tree and wasn't wearing a helmet at the time of the collision.
Here's a Facebook post that captures the feelings of those Belle left behind:
Even though you're gone, I'm glad that you were excited, happy and doing something you love right before you left. Rest in peace brother, miss you a ton!!! Sucks not being able to say goodbye, sucks knowing my future kids won't get to grow up knowing Uncle Johnny.
Our condolences to Belle's friends and loved ones.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our News archive circa February 10: "Videos: Keystone death marks fourth official ski-resort casualty of season."
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