Saying Goodbye to A Friend

Dec 31, 2011
by Lacy Kemp  

It's been a tough day for people in the B.C and Pacific Northwest bike community. Yesterday afternoon we lost one of our amazing riders to an avalanche outside of Pemberton. Duncan Mackenzie was 30 years old and an avid skier. He worked as a senior ski patrol at Whistler and was with other very experienced outdoorsmen when the accident occurred while ski touring. To most people Duncan was more than a skier and rider. He was a coach, mentor, competitor, and an amazing trail builder. But, most of all, he was a great friend. I dubbed Duncan the Prom King of Whistler. Every local knew him, and everyone liked him. He had an infectious smile that would light up the grayest of days. It was hard to walk through the village with Duncan and get anywhere swiftly because he would be stopped every 30 feet by someone who wanted to say hello.


I first met Duncan several years ago in Whistler while taking a camp. He was my coach and we had so much fun riding together that we stayed very good friends long after the lessons were over. Knowing Duncan meant knowing a part of Whistler's soul. During the summer months he worked as a trail builder under the moniker D-Mac Trails. He's built trails all throughout British Columbia, with his precise and skillful hands. If you've ridden Whistler, chances are you've been lucky enough to experience a D-Mac creation. Duncan loved woodwork and tight singletrack. His riding style was technical and calculated. He had the endurance of an Iron Man, exhibited by his strong finish in the B.C. Bike Race.

Duncan's entire life was dedicated to keeping other people safe. From coaching technical safety skills on bikes to his long days as a patroller he made sure people were always in the best hands. Known for his great sense of humor, he often brought comedy to a stressful situation. I know from first-hand experience when he scooped me up after I piled it off the GLC drop a few years ago. Never had I laughed so much while in so much pain. That's a true gift that not many people have. With Duncan, it came as easy as breathing. The fact that Duncan spent so much time and energy helping other people makes this situation even more difficult. He was a hero to many. He was a hero to me.

Rest in peace, Duncan. Your absence is excruciating to everyone who knew you. We know you're in a better place with endless pow fields and perfect berms, but we wish we could have had a little more time with you. No matter where you are keep lighting up the world with that smile. We'll see you on the flip side.




166 Comments

  • 112 0
 The kind of news, you read over and over in disbelief and refuse to process. I only met him briefly through my friends and on the mountain a few times and as you said it he had an infectious smile. Rest in peace Duncan, you will be missed.
  • 23 0
 omg. i heard alot about this in the news but they would not say who it was Frown RIP
  • 41 0
 Such a bummer man. At least he died doing the thing he loved and was so good at. RIP man
  • 9 0
 I never knew the man but It's such a shame to see a man who's so well loved and respected to pass away in an accident that was so unpredictable. RIP.
  • 9 0
 Never met Duncan, but it he seems like an awesome guy and it's always sad to hear about a fellow shredder passing. Rest in Peace man, my condolences to his family and friends.
  • 7 1
 Duncan was a great friend and the very best kind of people. Losing a guy like him is hard on everyone that had the pleasure to know him or ever meet him. Love and best wishes to all his family and loved ones he left behind. You will be missed bro...Rest in Peace Thank you for writing such a thoughtful tribute.
  • 4 1
 R.I.P. Another Whistler area local, taken too soon by the Mountains.Best wishes to all who knew him.
  • 4 0
 That tribute sure makes me wish we had more people like him around. A great loss, RIP.
  • 5 0
 Never had the pleasure of meeting Duncan, but he was obviously a champion. His kindness, humour, smile and passion for life will never be forgotten. RIP Duncan, you made the people and landscape around you better - a feat most will never achieve.
  • 2 0
 man this sucks. I hate reading about stuff like this, because even though i didnt even know the guy, its enough to put a stab in my evening. someone doing what they love and are killed doing it. RIP man.
  • 2 0
 R.I.P. great guy, more knowledgeable about snow than you could ever imagine, huge loss for booth the skiing and biking community, shred in peace Duncan!
  • 2 0
 i only met duncan one time, as he gave me a lesson at whistler on summer, so a great guy, can't believe it. R.I.P
  • 3 0
 built the bike park in quesnel with duncan. such a funny dude RIP
  • 40 0
 Although I never meet this man it's sad to see a fellow rider pass away. RIP.
  • 25 0
 cant say I knew the guy but from reading about him above he sounded like an amazing person and unfortunately he lived a short life.but life should not be measured in years but by how you lived them good one and he was greatly loved. my heart goes out to all his friends and family. R.I.P.
  • 23 0
 Duncan was a great human being. RIP brother.
  • 19 0
 Never meet him, but always sad is the lost of somebody so much appreciated by everyone... For me, mountain biking is not only about riding, it's also about friendship between us, a big family driven by passion and caring for each others...
maybe one day i'll have the chance to go to Wisthler and i'll have a big smile on my face riding shores thanks to you.
RIP "brother" biker.
  • 7 0
 Good words! I feel the same.
  • 8 0
 i totally wanna echo those words! could not have said it better. RIP Duncan
  • 3 0
 i want to send a "hand writted" letter to his family and peoples who know him... where can i send this letter to?
help me pinkbike...
sincerely.
Emeric.
  • 17 0
 Thanks Lacy. Choking up here. D-mac knew snow like not many other people. If it could happen to him.. then well it could happen to anyone. Stay safe out there people
  • 13 0
 Didn't know much about him. Sad loss none the less. At least he went doing what he loved.
  • 9 0
 I was shredding the trees a couple mountains east of there that day. I need a hug. Going to the village to get some. And to give, there's 3 that really need one. It's all OK for Duncan now. But what a bitch for the others. You know when the patrol scoops your injured ass off the mountain that you are being handled by pros with some very serious experience(s) under their belts.
  • 3 0
 tragedy for sure, lever. very sorry to hear of his passing. words don't do justice. prayers go out to his family and loved ones.
  • 10 0
 Duncan was one to always crack a joke. he was my favourite patroler by far. RIP Duncan. Shred some pow and dirt in heaven for us all!
  • 11 0
 SORRY FOR THE FAMILY!
R.I.P
IN HEBREW -
יהי זכרו ברוך!
and that mean -
May his memory be blessed!
  • 8 0
 Duncan was a great guy. I met him my first time to Whistler in 2003, when he was on trail crew working. There was a power tool ban due to forest fires and Duncan was hand building Smoke and Mirrors. He had such a zest for trail building and life in general. It's hard to hear news like this, but it's comforting to know that he died doing something he loved. Is that not the best way to die?
  • 2 0
 Absolutely.
  • 2 0
 agreed
  • 2 0
 I met him the same year robertbbr, He was a great guy I skied and biked with him over the years and this is really hard for all his buddies. He did have a great zest and will be missed on every future ski trip/ bike rip.
  • 9 0
 Just more truth that only the good die young. RIP. I didn't know you but you sounded like a great guy.
  • 9 0
 Another one gone too soon.
  • 4 0
 I was so choked to read this. I never knew Duncan personally, but heard the stories through friends and I know he'll be missed. The good really do die young, RIP. And please remember, if it can happen to Duncan it can happen to anybody. Be careful out there.
  • 6 0
 condolences to his friends and family. The mountain bike and ski community lost last thursday.
  • 3 0
 Thank you, Lace. Duncan came down to help our crew route two trails a couple years ago - Unemployment Line and a trail that is yet to be built. Well, really, it was just an excuse to drink beer and bushwhack through the woods. Wink D-Mac, I'm gonna miss shredding and B.S.'ing about trails with you. Rest in Peace my friend.
  • 3 0
 Now obviously I've never met the guy, but from reading this article, it sounds like he is one of the people who knows how to live life to the full and have a good time. I can tell that being in his company made others feel happy and relaxed, and that is why Duncan will be truly missed by all who have met him, and other people like myself who have never met him but can tell that he was a straight up awesome dude. Rest in peace.
  • 4 0
 well i have never been to canada, but he sounded like the guy to chill with. rip duncan. it gave me goose bumps reading the story and the comments. glad every one can come together and share story's.
  • 3 0
 I lost a very good friend a couple of years ago and know that it does get easier with time, not much but it does get easier. I'm not a believer in God or reincarnation or anything like that but I know my mate is with me every time I ride my bike or board because he is always in my thoughts and my heart and always will be.
  • 2 0
 that sucks for everyone who is affiliated with him but at the same time he passed doing what he loved by the sounds of it. not for this to sound offensive but that is a truly hardcore way to go living on the edge! and beats cakin out in an old age home or jumping off a balcony into a swimming pool. this guy sounds super hardcore!
  • 1 0
 Sad news Frown Duncan and his patrol buddies rescued me last spring when i broke my ankle snowboarding,he pulled me to safety in a toboggan down the garbanzo lift line run.The man had some serious skill's on his skiis.Like many others have said,he had a smile that would make you smile or laugh even at his bad jokes even when i was in such pain. r.i.p brother. you wont be forgotten.
  • 2 0
 From High School to lettin me crash on your couch when I was stranded in whis to riding skiis and bikes hard! . I'll never forget your drive for life...you were an inspiration to me and I'll miss you buddy! RIP D-Mac
  • 1 0
 When a legend in the mountains pass away this early in season what does it tell you? That shit is real out there and it can happen to you any time. Proceed with caution and hope for the best but the mountains could care less if you have the best gear and most experience.
  • 5 0
 R.I.P
  • 3 0
 amazing guy, I only talked to him once but he really did have that infectious smile as lacy says, R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 I also add how much it sucks he'll never be able to see all these comments with each and every one dedicated to him
  • 3 0
 The bike park is not gonna be the same without Duncan around Frown very sad day indeed.
  • 3 0
 Sad news indeed, sadder when its obviously one of the good guys in life.... RIP.
  • 3 0
 R.I.P Sounds like he was a top guy and my thoughts are with his family and friends.
  • 5 0
 Ride in peace
  • 3 0
 R.I.P Life sometimes is short, live it like the last day! we'll miss You Buddy
  • 1 0
 Gonna Miss you on the next big ski trip man. Thanks Lacy for such a great tribute to a great guy. So much energy, so much fun so much zest for living. I'll be thinking of you on many a ski trip and bike trip Duncan.
  • 1 0
 fuck. why does it have to be good honest people who die like duncan and dane searls why can it be gangsters and people who do great crimes. lifes a bitch. RIP man youll be missed.
  • 1 0
 may he rest in peace, good man from what I can see. At least he died while doing what he loved best, not many get that chance.
  • 3 0
 Rip.. thoughts go out to family and friends
  • 3 0
 Whoa, heavy hearted today. May you rest in peace Duncan.
  • 1 0
 Rest in peace! I'll be keeping you and the others that have had their candles put out this year in my thought, my last run down whistler will be for you guys!!
  • 2 0
 I've seen that face around.Tragic end. RIP,at least he went out doing what he loved most,hope i am that lucky.
  • 1 0
 what a loss, RIP, never forgotten i hope, I'll think of him when im in Whistler next year, I'll certainly raise a glass to Duncan tonight
  • 2 0
 such a shame...he seems like a cool guy and his fire snuffed out way early......R.I.P
  • 1 0
 So tragic, thank you for all the good things you have done for the mountain bike community. Rest in Peace, and by the sounds of it, you won't be forgotten
  • 2 0
 R.I.P. What a great guy!! Helped me more than once getting my sorry broken butt off the mountain.
  • 2 0
 for once I actually liked the comments on a pinkbike article. Duncan was much loved and will be missed more.
  • 2 0
 Please come celebrate Duncan Mackenzie's life - Friday, January 6th at 6:30 pm at the Whistler Conference Center.
  • 3 0
 Awful news... RIP.
  • 2 0
 At least he past away doing what he loved. R.I.P
  • 2 0
 That's very sad, especialy at this time of year.
  • 2 0
 It sucks to lost anyone, let a lone a rider. But rip.
  • 2 0
 R.I.P Duncan, a tragic loss, my thoughts go out to friends and family.
  • 1 0
 sad news. didnt know him but its always sad to here the loss of a good one. rest in peace dunc.
  • 2 0
 R.I.P. the death always takes the worng people away...
  • 1 0
 He died doing what he loved, pushing his skills to the max. Sincere condolences to all that knew D-Mac.
  • 2 0
 R.I.P Rider down but not forgotten !
  • 2 0
 sounds like a true legend R.I.P i am sure your legend shall live on
  • 2 0
 R.I.P,I don't know you personnately but you looked to be a nice guy.
  • 1 0
 I feel for his family and friend's.. R.I.P. Duncan you will always live in our hart's.
  • 1 0
 2011 has been a bad year, many biker deaths. Rickey Bates, Dane Searls and now Duncan. Frown

R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 Yes lets hope for a better 2012! RIP Duncan
  • 1 0
 Peaceful vibes to all your loved ones and friends, Duncan. Seems you have many that will miss you.
  • 1 0
 rest in peace duncan all we can do is just praying for his family and friends
  • 2 0
 R.I.P shred hard in Heaven buddy Smile
  • 2 0
 i dont know you man but as a mountain biker we are all one.. rest in peace
  • 2 0
 Very very sorry to hear this. Sad. Rest in peace my friend.
  • 1 0
 Duncan taught me how to rip berms. He was a fantastic teacher and will be greatly missed. Thinking of friends and family.
  • 2 0
 R.I.P. ride for your self and we will ride for you
  • 2 0
 R. I. P. i lost a friend in an avalanche last week... i know...
  • 1 0
 it is/was big news here in Whistler - even Van City. That says a lot about the guy.. he will be missed, RIP
  • 1 0
 Thank you for capturing so much about how amazing he was and how much he'll be missed. R.I.P. Duncan.
  • 1 0
 RIP dude. I'm sure he is looking down on all his family and friends. My thoughts to his family and friends.
  • 1 0
 i never met him but he built our local dirt jumps and i heard he was a really nice guy RIP
  • 2 0
 R.I.P
  • 2 0
 RIP.
  • 2 0
 R.I.P. Frown
  • 2 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P dude - my condolences to his family
  • 1 0
 nothing but respect. Sad to hear something like this. RIP.
  • 1 0
 Ive never met but sounds like a great guy gone too soon
  • 1 0
 Peace to friends and family, to everyone else, stay safe this snow season.
  • 1 0
 Dont know him, but from a fellow rider R.I.P Duncan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 R.I.P. Duncan, my thoughts go out to friends and family. Respect !
  • 1 0
 R.I.P . from Belgium lost a good rider and friend
  • 1 0
 Never met him but i wish i had. We are all truly sad R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 Very weel written article, as it flowed from the heart. RIP Duncan.
  • 1 0
 RIP Duncan Frown
We will remember you.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P D-Mac. Thoughts going out to your family and friends.
  • 1 0
 he was a whistler legend Frown Rip
  • 1 0
 sounded like a proper character, he'll be missed.
  • 1 0
 r.i.p bug man! will be loved and missed by all!3
  • 1 0
 R.I.P. and may you shred in paradise!
  • 1 0
 RIP dude, we will all miss you!
  • 1 0
 My condolences to his family and friends.
  • 1 0
 RipInPeace fellow trailblazer
  • 5 4
 namaste
  • 3 1
 I met him after I broke my wrist at whistler, hell of a guy .... RIP in peace, it was good knowing you in the short time I did.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 2 1
 very sad r.i.p
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 1 0
 be at peace
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 1 0
 R.I.P. buddy!
  • 1 0
 R.I.P Frown :/
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 1 0
 Rest In Peace D-Mac
  • 1 0
 Rest in Peace mate.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
Frown
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 1 0
 R.I.P., man! Frown
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 2 1
 Rest In Peace
  • 1 0
 R.I.P. bro
  • 1 0
 praying for you family
  • 1 0
 R.I.P, Respect.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 1 0
 Rip
  • 1 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 thats so sad R.I.P
  • 1 0
 RIP, Legend to all
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 1 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 Rip.In.Peace. Duncan
  • 1 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 Rest in peace D-Mac
  • 1 0
 R.I.P, terrible news.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P dude.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P
  • 1 0
 R.I.P Frown
  • 1 0
 R.I.P dude.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P dude
  • 1 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P.
  • 1 0
 Rest in peace bro...
  • 1 0
 what a legened R.I.P
  • 1 0
 S.I.P.
(shred in piece)
  • 1 0
 RIP Duncan.

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