GUNNISON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said a skier who was buried in an avalanche Friday was recovered Saturday morning southwest of the Town of Marble.
“Skiing was Joel’s life. That was his life, it was his passion and what he wanted to do with his life,” Aaron Shute, the brother of the 36-year-old avalanche victim Joel Shute, said.
Shute’s mother, brother, girlfriend and friends all were at his home in Glenwood Springs Saturday night and that is when they talked with FOX31 and Channel 2. They told us Shute had just turned 36 this past week.
“He was literally born to ski,” Lisa Gerstner, Shute’s mom said.
According to family and friends, on top of loving to ski, rafting and being a pilot Shute always had his number one adventure buddy with him – his dog Bomba.
“This is Joel’s prized Bomba a Pomeranian Husky mix,” Brittany Beavers, a friend of Shute’s, said “Joel would regularly ski with Bomba.”
Shute’s mom said he earned a degree in environmental sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder while still getting in his 50 days of skiing. She said he also spent lots of time traveling and adventuring all over the country.
“Joel is soul and he is ok wherever he is. Life goes beyond death and its hardest on the people left behind,” Gerstner said. “I know he’s pure soul, he knew how to love and he’s absolutely fine in the higher world.”
Back in 2017, Gerstner said Shute moved back to Glenwood Springs to join his dad, Steve Shute, in managing a group of tiny rural gas distribution utilities. She said he soon earned his pilot’s license and flew Cessnas with his dad and friends to dozens of work and recreation spots.
“We’re only so lucky getting to go out doing something we love and having the best time up until the last second,” John Stokely, a friend of Shute’s, said.
Shute leaves behind a slice of his life with his girlfriend Ela Jaszczak, his brother Aaron, his parents, grandparents and pup Bomba according to Gerstner.
“If he would have made it to 95 years old he would be skiing every day,” Aaron said.
Gerstner also said Shute’s ashes will soon merge with his beloved mountains in the couloir above Thomas Lakes. A celebration of skiing with friends will be organized at sunlight, then a general memorial at a date to be announced.
The family has started a GoFundMe they told us all the proceeds will be donated to a local search and rescue organization and associated emergency services.
Shute’s family said he was a smart adventurer, carried the gear he needed, was trained and they said he was very aware of avalanche dangers.