One of my first GTNP tours in the Spring of 2006 did not play out exactly as I had planned. While I waited for my partner above the Taggert Lake trailhead, a group of three seasoned ski mountaineers quickly approached. I recognized Steve and Dustin from around Jackson and also from the Grand Teton segment in Falling Forward. They stopped to chat for a few minutes before skinning upward. Shortly after, I discovered that my partner had encountered mechanical issues for which he needed to turn back.
Because Steve and Dustin were headed toward the same destination, I decided to try and catch the three of them en route to the Sliver Couloir on Nez Perce. I was lucky that they had decided to take a leisurely pace, and I was able to see them before they disappeared into the trees surrounding Garnet Canyon. I re-introduced myself and asked if they would allow me to join them. I was sure the answer would be “no.” Why would these veterans want to add an unknown Teton novice to their plan? However, they agreed and, needless to say, I was nervous, excited, and grateful to share an amazing day with new friends.
Steve subsequently became my friend, my Teton mentor, and a regular ski partner. I shared some of the best days of my life with Steve in the mountains. I know there are many others who can claim that same sentiment. His passion for skiing and enthusiasm in life was unrivaled. His positive energy was contagious. Whether after a powder descent of the Skillet Glacier (playing hooky from a rando-race) or a 5,000-foot recon tour in heinous weather, Steve always smiled and remained motivated for the next adventure. For me, Randosteve will always be synonymous with the Tetons, and his memory skis on with many loving friends of the Jackson community and beyond. We remember and miss you Steve. Live to ski!