I wrote the following for my editor’s note in the October 2012 issue of Skiing Magazine, the first issue of Skiing’s 65th anniversary year. At the time, I was still reeling from losing Steve, and trying to make sense of what seemed to be constant news of so many other experienced skiers dying.
For me, Steve’s passion for skiing exemplified exactly what I try to do with Skiing Magazine: provide stoke for skiers inspired to ski as much as possible, to live on their skis, or “live to ski,” as Steve would have said.
Shortly after the last time I saw “Rando” Steve Romeo, my wife had to peel me off the floor of a shower in a Jackson Hole condo and drive me back home to Colorado. Earlier that morning, I had tagged along with Steve and our friend Zahan Billimoria on one of their Teton Pass dawn patrols. We had climbed a total of 5,000 feet and skied the same amount, all before breakfast. It had been a typical morning for them, but I was so crushed I could barely eat, and then into the shower I fell. Was it worth it? Hell, yes. You should have seen that powder.
Rando, who ran the popular adventure-skiing blog TetonAT.com, was easy to like. I first met him when we roomed together on a ship full of skiers bound for the Antarctic Peninsula in 2009. He was humble and welcoming. He loved heading out on skis to remote, seldom-visited places. And he blogged about his adventures because skiing got him so fired up he simply had to share his love.
The morning I got so trashed by Rando and Z was in early March of 2011. Just over a year later, in March of 2012, Steve and ski partner Chris Onufer died in an avalanche near Grand Teton National Park. They were, unfortunately, two of many losses during an extraordinarily tough season.
Nonskiers often ask why we keep skiing when tragedy cuts so close. The answers are varied and personal, but the meat of it is that skiers are who we are—and who we want to be. Part of why Steve was among the best is that he was never too cool. Losing brothers like Steve—and like Kip Garre, Sarah Burke, Jim Jack, Rob Liberman, and so many others—sucks. Their unpretentious passion is an enduring gift that both inspires the already committed and welcomes new initiates to the tribe.
Sixty-five years ago, in Denver, Colorado, skier Merrill Hastings Jr. founded this magazine with the same embracing spirit. Now, in this major anniversary year, it’s still what inspires the staff of Skiing. —Sam Bass, editor, Skiing Magazine
Steve’s love of skiing shone brightly from his face and his every movement while he was on snow. To ski with him was to be reminded of what I’ve loved about skiing since the beginning: the rush of sliding on snow, the fresh air, the friends, and the fun of it all.
I’m sure sad he’s gone, but every time I think of him I smile—and I look around the room to see where I left my ski boots.