Skier Killed By Avalanche on South Teton

Update: Landon Teton Valley Memorial Gathering-A memorial gathering will be held at the Teton Teepee Lodge, in Alta, Wyoming, at 3pm on Sunday, February 28th. Friends are encouraged to ski a run, or take a walk or run, that day in honor of Wray, who is famous for getting into the mountains at least once a day. The memorial gathering is a potluck and an opportunity to hear stories about Wray’s life and how he touched those around him. ALSO Wray’s parents extend an invitation to the Idaho Falls Memorial Service at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church. Time TBD. LASTLY, Thursday at 6pm @ Snow King Uphill race in honor of the Big Man. No better way to cel…ebrate his life and legacy than to run uphill as fast as you can.

Become a FAN and FRIEND OF BIG WRAY on Facebook.

wray-landon-happy-to-be-in-the-tetonsIt is very hard for me to type these words right now, as it’s been a long time since someone close to me has passed on. Yeah, I’ve lost a lot of friends and acquaintances over the past few years, but none that I have really been that close to recently.  Unfortunately, this changed today with the news of the passing of Wray Landon.

Wray Landon died while skiing the Southeast Face of the South Teton today.  He was swept over a 1500′ cliff by an avalanche and was unable to survive.  His body was recovered this afternoon by park rangers.  My ski partner and I skied the Southeast Face on the way to the Amora Vida Couloir on Friday, and I was told that our ski tracks were part of the slab that avalanched.  Kind of makes things a bit more creepy if you ask me.

southesat-face-of-south-teton
The South Teton.
The Southeast Face is the triangular shaped snowfield coming off the summit
in the center of the picture. As you can see, huge cliffs line it’s bottom edge.
Click photo for larger image.

wray-landon-on-his-way-to-mount-moran-in-the-early-morning-hoursWray was a good friend, who was always up for an adventure to test the nerves and stamina. He could crush most people at any sport, be it mountain running or backcountry skiing. I climbed Gannett Peak in a day trip with Wray last summer, as well as skied the Sickle Couloir on Mount Moran with him last spring. Both required uber-early alpine starts and were long days with lots of suffering. Wray loved it! He was a very strong athlete, but also very soft spoken as a person. He went through life at his own pace and recently moved to Jackson from over the hill in Idaho. He lived pretty close to me now and I was really looking forward to being able to spend more time together in the mountains.

wray-landon-skis-the-sickle-couloir
Wray Landon skis the Sickle Couloir on Mount Moran.

We had been trying and trying to get out and ski together this year, but we were only able to hook-up once so far, to ski the Sliver on Nez Perce. After bailing on a large group who’s start wray-landon-skis-the-slivertime was getting pushed back to later and later in the day, Wray sent me a text that morning wondering if I was still up for skiing. I was just leaving the trailhead with my partner when I received it, but I told him we would go slow and he could catch up if he wanted to. About an hour later I got anther text from Wray saying he was leaving the parking lot, and another hour later, Wray met up with us at the Platforms in Garnet Canyon. An approach that would take most people at least 2 hours…Wray did it in one hour.

It’s easy to drop everything I have planned right now and cancel my trip to Canada, to be here for the memorial services, but I don’t think Wray would want me to do that. I think he would want me to continue to get out and take him along into the mountains in my memories…which I will do from now on. You will be missed Wray…in fact, you already are.  Peace be with you brother!

The Comfort and Sweetness of Peace
By Helen Rice

After the clouds, the sunshine,
after the winter, the spring,
after the shower, the rainbow,
for life is a changeable thing.
After the night, the morning,
bidding all darkness cease,
after life’s cares and sorrows,
the comfort and sweetness of peace.

Become a FAN and FRIEND OF BIG WRAY on Facebook.

56 Comments

56 Responses to “Skier Killed By Avalanche on South Teton”


  1. 1 Colin in CA Feb 21st, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Wow Steve. Really sorry to read this.

    My deepest condolences to you and the rest of the Jackson community.

  2. 2 randosteve Feb 21st, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    thanks colin. i’m sitting here working on a new video…and tears just explode out of my eyes every so often. it’s just so hard to believe. life can be so fragile and it’s important to make the most of it.

  3. 3 TK Feb 21st, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Sorry for your loss Steve. It was a beautiful day in the Tetons today – but a sad one. You will find the right place in Fairy Meadows to spend some time and remember Wray. As all of us who love the mountains and have lost friends do every day.

  4. 4 randosteve Feb 21st, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Thank you TK! I’m sure Wray’s spirit will be with us at Fairy Meadows. :cry:

    Of course my head is so messed up now I’ll probably just sit around in the cabin all day and drink hot chocolate. After tragedies like this, it’s always hard to get back into the steeps. Especially with an unfamiliar snowpack.

  5. 5 john walker Feb 21st, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Steve,
    sorry to hear about your friend, RIP Ray.

  6. 6 justin nielsen Feb 21st, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    What a humble soul. RIP Wray.

  7. 7 Luke Nelson Feb 21st, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    We have all suffered a great loss with the passing of Wray. He was a great man and incredible athlete. RIP Wray!

  8. 8 RC Rope Feb 21st, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Steve: I don’t know you and I only knew Wray a little through interactions at Teton Regional Land Trust. I do know about the challenge, excitement and love of the outdoors and understand Wray’s desire to be an intregral part of it. This love of the landscape is what also made him a valuable person to have with our organization. He, his smile and passion will be missed at the Land Trust. My heart goes out to family, friends and TRLT staff.

    Ron Rope, TRLT Board President

  9. 9 Lee Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    From his friends at Intermountain Aquatics. Wray will be dearly missed.

    Lee Reynaud

  10. 10 Matt and Brooke Coleman Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Matt and I were just with Wray, we went to Jackson for a ski trip, we hung out for awhile, He was loving life, like always. It is hard to believe he is gone. He is a wonderful man, a great person all around. I am so sorry. So blessed to have known him.

  11. 11 Skian Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Steve, sorry for your loss. Rise early and salute him on your trip north. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.

  12. 12 randosteve Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for all the kind words. These sure are tough times.

  13. 13 Jen Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss Steve. My heart goes out to you and all of Wray’s loved ones. I hope you find peace on our trip to Fairy Meadows.

  14. 14 Grizzly Adam Feb 21st, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Tragic news. Thanks for sharing a little of Wray with us.

  15. 15 z Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:26 am

    i will miss you my friend

  16. 16 AJ Feb 22nd, 2010 at 4:21 am

    very sad news, my condolences to family and friends

  17. 17 randosteve Feb 22nd, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Thanks Jen. I look forward to getting away and letting all this settle in.

  18. 18 Ty Feb 22nd, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Heard the sad news on WPR this morning. Condolences from all of us who got to know Wray from the Vaquero Loco Races. Happy trails friend, happy trails.

  19. 19 actionjackson Feb 22nd, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Holy shit–Wray was a good friend, definitely never expected to hear this kind of news about him. We kept trying to ski the Park together this winter but couldn’t get it to work out. I will miss his smile and energy.

    AJ

  20. 20 Michelle Jean Mahoney Feb 22nd, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Steve – what beautiful words you write here about your dear friend. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Michelle

  21. 21 Jim Feb 22nd, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Very sad. While coaching at TVSEF Wray was so great to work with. No complaints, just got it done (with a smile). And such a strong athlete – it always amazed me to hear how fast he could move in the mountains.
    RIP Wray. We’ll miss you.

  22. 22 randosteve Feb 22nd, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Thanks Michelle. Nice to hear from you. I hope things are well.

  23. 23 Derek Feb 22nd, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Damn it. SO sorry to hear the news Steve. Your and Wray day trip to the top of Gannett inspired me to make the trek this coming summer. I have lived in the shadow of it all my life and have been all over the Winds but it was your guys trip that inspired me to finally make a plan and get it put together. I didn’t know Wray personally but he was still able to be source of inspiration and motivation to me, it take a special person to do something like that and I am sure he will be dearly missed by those that were close. Best wish to all and may he Rest In Peace.

  24. 24 Jim Feb 22nd, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Wray and I are first cousins, even though we were not close, I am going to miss him. We called him Wray Wray in the family, for his dad was just Wray. I still stay in touch with Lani his mother. Wray Wray was a great person and he will be missed. God bless.

  25. 25 J-Rock Feb 22nd, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Wray was a regular ski partner of mine for the two years I lived in Teton Valley and this is terribly sad news. Wray was a beast of an athlete, his ability to hike and ski all day and then do it all again the next day was always impressive and he’s a part of several of my best ski memories. We’ll miss you Wray. Here’s to you!

  26. 26 Smokey Feb 22nd, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I met Wray a couple times in Missoula during college. Horrible news this morning…my condolences to his family and the rest of the JH community.

  27. 27 Carl Pelletier Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:30 am

    When I hear of news like this it always causes me to take a step back and reflect. I didn’t personally know Wray, but my heartfelt condolences go out to all of his family and friends. As part of a greater community of backcountry skiers I know that we all experience the loss in our own unique ways. We daily take risks, endure suffering, and toil to reach high peaks and remote places. We seemed to be called back in repeatedly – continually redefining ourselves, becoming intimate with the topography and growing friendships. Like I said, I personally didn’t know Wray, but I know that his spirit will continue to be a part of our community. Continue the journey my friend.

  28. 28 Andy Hall Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:41 am

    I feel very fortunate to have been able to spend time in the hills with Wray. It was always fun to be around him. He was an incredible person. Thank you Wray!!

  29. 29 Matt Feb 22nd, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I had only met Wray once a couple of months ago and in that one encounter I could instantly tell what a nice, genuine person he was. His love for the mountains and outdoors shined through him in everything he did. My condolences go out to all of his family, friends, and everyone else he has touched. He certainly will be missed.

  30. 30 cborrenpohl Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I grew up ski racing with Wray where we called him “Big Wray” We would wrestle him with three or four of us going after him at once like lions on a water buffalo. He would throw us aside like rag-dolls but in his ever present Gentle Giant way, ah the good times. It seems his physical abilities only progressed, thank you for your stories., here is one I can offer. This past weekend I was skiing Sun Valley where so many of my memories are from ski racing. Wray was on my mind before this accident as I was excited to tell him about a run I had skied in his honor. As kids one day after racing we all rented Big Foot skis, those precursors to snow-blades, ahh the 90’s.

    One of Wray’s fell off while skiing this run just out of bounds and could not be found. We all took ours off and hiked up and down where it should have been. No one could find that damn thing and Wray knew he would be on the hook to pay for it if we could not find it. He finally offered 20 bucks for the person that found it, still no luck. One kid in the group finally gave up saying this was a waste of his time. He took off down the run then erupted in cheers as he found the lost Big Foot ski 80 to 100 feet below where we had been looking. Wray handed over the 20 and we were all off. I have used that experience every time I, or someone in my group, has lost a ski in the powder. Look below where you think it should be and it often helps locate the lost ski. I skied that run this weekend in honor of Wray and was almost in shock when I learned last night that Wray had passed on. People like Wray never get the accolades they deserve, many people do things to please and impress those around them. It is the noblest of men who are passionate about their desires only to satisfy something deep within themselves. Thank you Wray, may you live on forever young.

  31. 31 randosteve Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you all for sharing your stories and thoughts of wray…and your condolences.

    I tried to go to work today…but just couldn’t hack it.

  32. 32 Michelle Smith Feb 22nd, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I remember meeting Wray at one of the local track workouts in Driggs, and heard through friends in the community about his amazing accomplishments in the mountains. I was inspired by his athletic ability, and thought of him often while pushing myself in the mountains. His spirit and drive will live with me always.

  33. 33 James and Laura St. Clair Feb 22nd, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    James and Wray were great friends since James was on the ski team as a kid in Idaho Falls. Wray was a huge influence on James and a dear friend of ours. They were planning to do a trip and climb Mt. Rainier again this spring. Our thoughts are with Wray’s family and his many friends that have known and loved him. We will miss you Wray!

  34. 34 Nick Feb 22nd, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Steve – condolences to you and other friends of Wray, and his family and all others affected.

  35. 35 justin Feb 22nd, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Damn…sorry to read about this. RIP Wray, and thoughts and prayers to his friends and family.

  36. 36 Paul Feb 22nd, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    We used to call him invincible because of his knack for surviving extremes – Wray’s the only person I had ever heard of who’d escape a “Fire Tornado” on a daily basis. Possibly the sweetest, nicest person of all time. I wouldn’t have seen Wray for years, and then in catching up he would subtly mention something unimaginable that he’d done offhandedly, like it was no big deal. Maddeningly modest, polite, and intelligent. You will be deeply missed.

  37. 37 Lindsay Feb 22nd, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Wray was the the older brother of my best childhood friend growing up. Coincidentally, the first year I joined a wildland fire crew, Wray was my crew boss. He, myself and one other firefighter spent all summer roaming around southeast Idaho in our fire engine looking for fires and for mountains to run up for physical training.

    Working for Wray was the start of a new level of physical fitness in my life. I had always been an athlete and a soccer player, but after working with Wray, mountains start to look like hills and hikes that most people would consider a day hike are just quick morning warm-ups to get the day started.

    My heart goes out to his family. Lani, "Little Wray" and Dana, he will be very missed.

  38. 38 Connie Mohr Feb 22nd, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    My connection with Wray is through the Teton Regional Land Trust. Many of you knew him as a fantastic athlete. I thought so too. He was also a conscientious employee who’d get up at some horrific hour to make a run on the pass, get to work by 9, and put in a full day with no complaint. He’d frequently answer the phone, though it was no more his job than anyone else’s, and we’d chat about where he’d skiied lately. I’ll miss running into him at trailheads, trying to keep up with him in races (not really), keeping an eye out for him when I’m going over the pass. The land trust will miss his dedication, integrity, and work ethic. His are indeed big boots to fill.

    Connie Mohr
    TRLT Board Secretary

  39. 39 wyck and Dot Coddington Feb 22nd, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Wray Wray, our nephew & godson, will be sorely missed!! He obviuosly was doing what he loved best,and certainly lived life fully and passionately.
    (I remember,only yesterday, getting him on a surfboard.)
    He was good at everything-our family’s mountaineer.In our hearts forever!!

  40. 40 Dan Owen Feb 22nd, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Just got the news halfway around the world in Kazakhstan. Such a sad day. Wray was a stud. I went to high school with Wray but didn’t really know him in school. I got to know Wray over 4 seasons of fighting fire for the BLM. Wray and I were on the same crew in 2000-2001 and had the best damn fire seasons ever. The most fun I ever had on a fire assignment was with Wray when we were sent to New Mexico. We both got our own engines after a few years and were on different crews but always hung out whenever we could. Wray was an incredibly funny person and could take shit just as well as he could dish it out. OK, maybe he could take it a little better than he could dish it out.

    Physically, Wray was a monster. He was an aerobic beast. I can remember him kicking my butt during our daily PT sessions. I always took comfort in yelling profanities at him as he effortlessly ran away from me during long runs. He convinced me to buy a road bike and then proceeded to kick my butt on the road bike too. Thanks for that Wray. He forgot about the road bike and I went on to race mine. I always looked forward to returning the butt kickings he used to dish out. Sadly, I won’t be able to. I probably couldn’t have anyways. My peak form would have been close to his untrained form.

    I am greatly saddened by the fact that I missed my last opportunity to hang out with Wray. I was back in the states for a few weeks over the summer and had planned to visit Wray. Our plans didn’t quite mesh and I never made it over to Driggs. I thought nothing of it and figured I’d see him another time. I’m just so sad that I won’t be able to. It really reminds me that we all need to make every effort to stay connected to those people that we really respect, admire and enjoy the company of.

    I hope his family can find comfort during this very hard time.

  41. 41 Josh Feb 23rd, 2010 at 7:34 am

    My condolences go out to you all.. Ray sounds like an incredible individual, full of light, friendship and energy.. He will be missed…

  42. 42 Donna Kitchel Feb 23rd, 2010 at 8:14 am

    I just heard the news of Wray’a skiing accident. The world has lost a wonderful person, a great athelete and a good family friend. My heart goes out to Wray, Lani and Dana. We have known Wray since he was very young living in North Stonington. He was truly an amazing person who will be missed by many, many people. Our prayers are with his family and friends.

  43. 43 Jamie Lohr Feb 23rd, 2010 at 11:34 am

    We knew Wray as a boy in CT, before the family’s move to Idaho. He was a smart, quiet kid whom everyone liked. Reading testimonials from all who knew him as a man brings us comfort today. Knowing that he loved his mountains, loved his friends, loved what he did every day, shows the boy we knew grew to be a man we would like to have known.

    Wray, Lani, Dana: our hearts are heavy for you. We wish we could be there.
    Friends of Wray: we know your hearts are heavy too. Please keep remembering him with wonderful stories and photos, so we can know him better, and keep Wray with us.

    Thank you,
    Jamie & Randy Lohr

  44. 44 Debbie Leake Feb 23rd, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Wray was the nicest young man. He raced with my son, Mike, on the Kelly Canyon Ski Team. He was always so polite and always spoke to us whenever our paths crossed. He used to live in our neighborhood here and Driggs before he moved to Jackson. We will really miss him. Rest in peace Wray.

    Debbie Leake

  45. 45 randosteve Feb 23rd, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    today, me and some friends of wrays went to the accident site…to pay our respects and to get some closure. it was tough at times, but i think we are all doing better because of it.

    so you know…wray passed in one of the most beautiful places in the entire teton range…without exaggeration. peaks, lakes, ridges and big snow covered bowls and couloirs are in every direction. such an amazing place.

  46. 46 Kelly Hoffer Feb 23rd, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    To the family of Wray Landon: I am so, so sorry for your loss. The last time I got to see your son was at the 2009 Sawtooth Relay. And, Wray is always Wray.

    Like Dan Owen above I also worked with “Big Wray” during the 2000-2001 fire seasons, I known him longer though. I was talking to a fire buddy (Justin Kidd) tonight about how to describe Wray. I paused for a moment, and the first thing that came to my mind was: “A Real Human Being”! We need more Wrays in the world!!!

    I don’t think I ever told people how he inspired me in life, he did though. It wasn’t just inspiration to catch him running for PT in the morning at work. It was the conversations that happened while running (before he left me in the dust). If any of us on the crew had a bad day, 9 times out of 10 he would say something to make us laugh. He taught me and others that there was more to life than sweating the small stuff. Instead, “lets just go for a run, and do some push ups”. “That is better for us anyway”! Wow, how true that is!

    I don’t want to take up a buch of space, so I will end with a couple of things. Thanks to everyone in his life who inspired “Big Wray”, as he retured the favor to many others. Last, there will never ever be another running hill “Big Wray” that will beat me mentally!

  47. 47 Evan H. Feb 23rd, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I’m going skiing this Sunday. My wife thinks I’m being selfish. Perhaps similar to Wray I tend to prefer to deal with life in small groups. So I’ve thought about this a lot this week and I feel like continuing the journey is the only true way to honor Wray. For the first time this season I finalized plans for a weekend ski away from the Tetons barely 10 min before learning about Wray on Sunday. Monday morning I was 105 miles from the Tetons. I saw them perfectly silhouetted on the horizon just prior to the sun rising. It was -13 and I don’t think I’ve stood so long and stared at the South Teton. Monday during my evening run I felt more connected to Earth in a long time. The sky was big, clear, and beautiful. It the first run I’ve done in many years that I cried. Wray was 50% of my trail running partners. It’s going to be a hard void to fill. I’m going to be thinking of him on trails this summer and especially as the leaves start turning and the first snow comes. And this weekend while I’m skiing; it’s going to be steep and deep, and I’m going to be thinking about him every turn. I’ll miss you Wray.

  48. 48 Dot Coddington Feb 24th, 2010 at 6:00 am

    I hope we will meet many of you who contributed comments about Wray, over this coming weekend. I had dated Wyck for a year before Wray was born. Wyck was so happy to be his godfather. We skied in Vermont at Killington most weekends, and when Lani & Wray (Sr.) skied there, Wyck & I took turns watching Little Wray (then aka Wray Wray)in a baby basket at the base lodge, looking out a window to the chair lift and slopes. At age 4, Wray was at our wedding, smiling into the camera as he sat on Lani’s lap. My favorite photo is Wray riding atop Wyck’s shoulders (not attempted after age 10!). When we visited the family in North Stonington CT, we all bicycled together (young Wray and Dana were each seated in a "bugger" pulled by Lani & Wray). After they moved to Idaho, visits were infrequent (we live in New York City), but there were uncle/godson special phone calls. Even on our 1-week active vacations out west, young Wray noticed that "Wyck and Dot seem to need a lot of sleep and rest" (particularly on a camping trip to Flaming Gorge, where the kids would be off cycling before we even emerged from our private 6-man tent, a luxury provided by Lani & Wray). Later on, young Wray did visit us in NYC, sleeping on a pull-out sofa (a few feet too short), going with us to restaurants, museums, and other city things. (Of course, we wouldn’t let him out of our sight!) Clearly, he preferred wider-open spaces! We were always proud of him, having varied interests over the years (studying Chinese, reading, playing chess, climbing in Thailand, fire fighting, hiking, skiing) and also happy at home. We concur with the character traits many of you mentioned — quiet, gentle, sensitive, athletic — and we are pleased to learn how he inspired others. We will always love him, and be able to smile as we remember him, even as we cry and miss him dearly.

  49. 49 z Feb 24th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Evan,
    You were the only guy I knew that could crush Wray running. And he loved it! He was always so blown away by your ability to pull away at a moments notice. But it was your humility that kept him close. he had a lot of respect for you, and was proud to count you as a friend. he never failed to describe in detail every run you guys took together the year my knee was out. If you can come out to rally Snow King tomorrow at 5.30–I know he would be enormously honored.

  50. 50 Nici Holt Cline Feb 24th, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I went to college with Wray and am so sad he has passed. The last time I saw him we went on a run together in the north hills of Missoula. I was huffing and puffing the whole ascent and he was casually telling stories as if we were out on a slow stroll. The great thing though? I never felt lame for being so slow. He was such a gentle and kind man. Just up for the journey and experience.

  51. 51 Evan H. Feb 24th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks for the kind words Z. I do think Wray could have beaten me if it wasn’t for his love for the mountains and powder. After a number of races we would talk about what we did the week prior. I would say I had done easy 10′s to not overdo things. Wray would eventually fess that he had hiked 6 miles to skin 3000 vert to get laps on the first snow of October and then hiked out – twice that week. Or maybe he had gone for a long run in Alaska Basin and next thing he was swimming in sunset lake. When he got home he remembered a group run at Targhee so he hopped in to round out a 40 mile day! I was always in awe of the ridiculous skis and runs he did. I think the run you did with him from Teton Canyon, up the Grand, and over to Jackson was probably the one that has always impressed me the most. I’m fat and slow right now, but I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at Snow King tomorrow.

  52. 52 Cara L. Feb 24th, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    I had the honor of meeting Wray this winter and instantly connected with him – I feel so VERY fortunate that our paths crossed. Wray, you are already missed by many, myself included…

    I had been skiing with a couple girl friends that day in Mail Cabin. After a few hours, their energies waned and my energies ignited as the snow continued to fall. So, with their blessing, they skied out and I spent the rest of the daylight hours skiing up, over, and down a handful of ridges. As I raced towards Coal Creek parking lot, I crossed my fingers that I’d encounter a "like minded soul" lingering out in the dusk hours with whom I could catch a ride up and over the pass back home to Wilson. I spotted ONE car left at the trailhead – with a tall silhouette loading his skis. Wray offered a ride, and I was immediately taken by his huge smile, gentle spirit, and passion for life and the mountains.

    Our car ride was filled with laughter, conversation, and sharing as both of us "defrosted" – noses dripping with melting snow in the glow of our day in the mountains. I learned about: his recent relocation and motivations to move to Jackson from Driggs; his daily ritual of pre-dawn and/or post-dusk "counter commute" Taylor skis – impressive!; his cherished friendships and adventures with Z, Evan, Steve and Andy – he had just been out with Z on Taylor that day and was DELIGHTED!; his dedication to our landscape via his work at the Land Trust; his fire fighting and university days; his formative ID upbringing; love and respect for his family; contemplative thoughts about balancing and satisfying his passions for the mountains and working to protect these treasured grounds…

    When he dropped me off at home, I gave him a heartfelt hug and giggled outloud that I wished we had several more hours – or days! – of driving to chat and laugh. His passion for life was SO vivid – almost tangible. His presence was so inspiration and alive – genuinely grounded, compassionate and gentle. His enthusiasm was so vibrant, yet modest. He simply glowed from the inside out – truly a unique outstanding individual.

    I realize my crossing with Wray was brief – but he made a lasting impact in my spirit. My exchange with him inspired me and helped me reconnect with myself – thank you, Wray. When I shared with you my thrill of skiing with an ermin that afternoon, you seemed to embody the magic I felt – thank you. I wish that I could’ve gotten to know you better – I was looking forward to some life adventures!

    I am confident that Wray effortlessly and naturally gifted countless people in similar ways. My heartfelt sympathies and positive healing energies to Wray’s family and friends. He will remain alive within many hearts and in the mountains…

    Cheers to life and the mountains-

  53. 53 Helen Horton Mar 3rd, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Hello to Lani and "Dad Wray",
    We all know life is unfair. Why does the bad happen to the good? The expression "He died doing what he loved!" is often said for many, no doubt, for Wray, too – but 50 years too soon! I remember Wray and Dana as a child and a toddler staying at my parent’s Quogue house while you were at your brother’s wedding. Such good kids. My prayers for both of you, Dana, her husband, and every member of your extended family.

  1. 1 Flying Into Fairy Meadows and Getting Our Feet Wet | TetonAT.com Pingback on Mar 9th, 2010 at 6:32 am
  2. 2 Wrun for Wray on July 3rd at Grand Targhee | TetonAT.com Pingback on Jul 1st, 2010 at 6:10 am
  3. 3 Remembering Wray Landon Today | TetonAT.com Pingback on Feb 21st, 2011 at 4:03 am
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