SKIING Scene: Alex Lowe, 1958-1999

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In this writer's opinion, one man in the sporting world stood above all others as an embodiment of everything that is right and good in the world. That man was climbing legend, ski mountaineer, and extraordinary human being Alex Lowe.

Alex died in an avalanche on October 5 while on a ski expedition to Tibet's 26,291-foot peak Shishapangma. Dave Bridges, an Aspen mountain guide, high-altitude cameraman, and two-time national paragliding champion, was also killed. The massive slide came from 6,000 feet above, and there was simply nowhere to run.

Unanimously called the greatest climber in the world and, often enough, the fittest man in the world, Alex was fearless and had a supernatural mountain sense that made him the de facto leader of any expedition. On skis, he was similarly impressive; as I once wrote in an article, "If Alex Lowe ever becomes serious about extreme skiing, God help us all."

Alex's vision taught us to expand our imaginations, to suspect that quantum leaps in ski mountaineering are possible. But it was his positive, always-psyched personality that continually inspired us.Donations for Alex's three young sons can be made to Fund for the Children of Alex Lowe, US Bank, P.O. Box 730, Bozeman, Montana 59771-0730.