Trail builder and former Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA) executive board member Chris McCrum has passed away after being caught up in an avalanche while skiing.
Chris, 42, was skiing with a group on January 3 in a backcountry area when the avalanche hit. The group were well equipped for the trip and were able to locate Chris with an emergency beacon but by the time they dug him out he had already died. The Pemberton Search and Rescue team had been contacted to assist in reaching the victim however, due to weather conditions and flying restrictions, the group had to stay in a nearby cabin until they could be reached on Friday morning.
McCrum was an active member of SORCA and well liked within the Squamish community. He will be remembered for the advocacy work he did to have Squamish’s bike trails officially recognised by the B.C. Ministry of Tourism, and for leading the group’s Trail Pass program that collected funds that went directly into trail building.
A Facebook post by SORCA on Sunday evening
identified Chris as the avalanche victim and said: "When one of our own passed away on January 3rd, our whole community felt the heartbreaking loss. Chris McCrum died doing what he loved, exploring the mountains. Chris was a dedicated volunteer, a passionate past SORCA exec board member, an exceptional trail builder, an incredible athlete, and a friend to many of us. His energy will be felt for years to come on many of the surrounding Squamish trails that he had a hand in building and maintaining. From the breathtaking bridges through Crumpit Woods, to the gruelling switchbacks on Farside and Rock n Roll, the long and winding Tracks from Hell, the tranquil bridges in Coho Park, the many kiosks and the much needed Carpenter Son's Bridge, just to name a few, Chris gave back time and time again to the trails.
"Back in 2006 he helped spearhead the work needed for trails to earn official recognition under the B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts (MOTCA)’s trails management strategy, no small task. Then in 2010, after a few beers at one of our many after parties, Chris and friends came up with the idea for the SORCA Trail Pass program. A way to reach various trail users and collect funds to go directly back into the dirt and the weathered hands of our countless trail builders. In 2011 the SORCA Trail Pass program began and was a turning point for our organization which helped launch us to the next level.
"We are eternally grateful to Chris for his dedication and time spent to making the Squamish trails the world class network that it is. So the next time your tire hits the dirt, or your shovel strikes the ground, tip your helmet in thanks to an incredible pioneer, Chris McCrum. We like to think that on January 3rd, just like he did in every toonie he raced in, Chris simply took another path, he ventured off somewhere to explore the mountains and we lost sight of him for the time being. RIP Chris, we hope to share a cold one with you at the after party."
Our thoughts are with Chris' family and friends in this difficult time. RIP.