Steve “Randosteve” “Randomeo” “Randobewan Skinobee” “X-Steve” Romeo, 40, of Jackson was caught in avalanche March 7 on the north side of Waterfalls Canyon near Ranger Peak in Grand Teton National Park.Â He was accompanied by fellow backcountry skier, Chris Onufer.Â Neither survived.
Steve was born in Manchester, Conn., and graduated from East Catholic High School in 1989.Â He graduated from Marist College in 1993 and, to follow his dream of skiing and upon his father’s suggestion, he packed his car and moved to Jackson Hole later that year.Â For the next six years he worked at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.Â He started as a lift operator and moved up through the ranks until he was a lead operator.Â During those seasons, Steve spent his time honing his ski style and technique.Â In 1998, he began working at Moosely Seconds in Moose, which soon evolved into year-round employment at Skinny Skis, where he worked for the next 14 years.
In addition to his pioneering backcountry ski descents, he was selected to be a member of the US Ski Mountaineering Team in 2006 and 2008.Â He competed in the world championships, which took him to Italy and Switzerland.Â To chase away the summertime blues, Steve would train for the ski season by competing in ultramarathons.Â His success in that area secured him additional industry sponsorships from Nike and La Sportiva.
In 2006, Steve launched TetonAT.com a “website dedicated to backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park.” On TetonAT, Steve documented his adventures, provided cutting-edge gear reviews, followed trends and news in the backcountry ski industry and hosted a forum for passionate discussion about backcountry skiing ethics and exploits.Â TetonAT was visited by a national and international audience, often logging upwards of 10,000 hits per day.Â The inspiration the site provided to thousands is undeniable.
Due to the success of TetonAT and his ski exploits, Steve was sponsored by numerous outdoor industry companies, including Black Diamond, Dynafit, Arcteryx, Ortovox, GU, Suunto, Nuun, Mountain Khakis and even the sandwich shop across from Skinny Skis, Backcountry Provisions.
While Steve logged impressive ski descents in New Zealand, Antarctica, South America, Mexico and Europe, the Tetons were sacred to him, with the northern part of the range his sanctuary.Â It seems fitting that this was where he spent his final moments.
Steve is survived by his parents, Stephen and Elaine Romeo, of Tolland, Conn.; his sisters, Lisa Romeo, of Boston, and Jennifer Romeo Higgins of Lighthouse Point, Fla; along with his brother-in-law Michael Higgins and adoring nephew Michael Ryan and niece Brooke.
Steve was a skier.Â His well-known and oft-quoted mantra was “Live to ski”.Â For him, there were two seasons: winter and waiting for winter.
“My inspiration comes from the mountains themselves” he once said.Â “I love the silence, the wind, the sun, the ruggedness and contrast between the soft snow and the jagged rocks.”