Worst News — RIP Steve Romeo


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

I came home today (evening in Europe) and logged on. Found out about prolific blogger Steve Romeo and his friend Chris Onufer dying in an avalanche this past Wednesday in the Tetons. This feels unreal, like it’s not happening…

Randonnee race relay
Our team at 2007 Powder Keg media event, we called ourselves “Media Circus.” That’s my wife Lisa on the left, then me, then Peter Kray, and the ubiquitous Rando Steve Romeo. Steve had just started blogging then, and I remember him being such a mad-dog self promoter I was feeling rather outgunned, or rather pretty much nuked by the guy. On the other hand, I remember that finally having a devoted “brother” blogger was only to the good. As who wants to work in a vacuum? With Steve in the mix, the pressure was on and I think we both did better as a result.

The least I can do as we remember Steve and for those of you who also knew Chris: To honor them, I’ll refrain from any new blog posts till next week. That’s it. I can’t write much more now…

Steve and I have encountered each other in a variety of ways since he started blogging in the same subjects I was dabbling in. He was a bit more zany, with more extreme skiing and a refreshing irreverence for the powers-that-be that I always found cool, if not something to envy on occasion as WildSnow sometimes became a bit too much of a business… Mainly, I remember “Randomeo’s” enthusiasm for all things skiing, like he just ate it up in big giant swallows. The alpinism, the piste, blogging — even some healthy competition amongst us bloggers. It was all something to smile about and break a few laughs with a beer as we chatted at the OR show, or the times we saw each other up in Jackson.

Steve, I simply can not believe I’m writing this.

I’ll write more refelections on Steve as it becomes appropriate. For now, I know many of us are stunned and grieving. I’ll let it rest.

Comment if you like. I’m certain Steve’s loved ones and friends will be comforted by the love.

Goodby Steve,

Lou

News story

Jackson Hole News and Guide story

Comments

44 Responses to “Worst News — RIP Steve Romeo”

  1. Lee Lau March 8th, 2012 2:16 pm

    Feel sick and empty. RIP Steve

  2. Patrick March 8th, 2012 2:20 pm

    Wow, haven’t gotten my breath back, yet. I’ve read Steve’s blog, TetonAT for several years. He explored and wrote about this topic so thoughtfully. RIP, Steve and prayers to his family and friends.

  3. montanaskier March 8th, 2012 2:35 pm

    CRUSHING loss

  4. canwilf March 8th, 2012 2:37 pm

    Steve Romeo was an inspiration and a great guy. Wish I had the pleasure to meet him in person. So sad :( RIP Steve and heartfelt condolences all his friends and family.

  5. Peter Kray March 8th, 2012 2:42 pm

    That really was a great day, Lou. What a pleasure to know such a positive person. Was looking for the link to the video you made of just how fast Rando could rock uphill – http://www.wildsnow.com/649/black-diamond-powderkeg-randonnee-relay/ – he will be missed.

  6. Ryan J March 8th, 2012 2:45 pm

    Met him a couple times at Skinny Skis in Jackson and always admired his enthusiasm. Another crushing loss to our community of outdoor adventurers and yet another reminder to stay safe out there during this highly dangerous year. So sorry to hear:(

  7. BoardNabber March 8th, 2012 2:45 pm

    Prayers out to his family and friends.

  8. Mike Marolt March 8th, 2012 2:49 pm

    Leaves me beyond words, completely speachless. I didn’t know his buddy, but Steve was a really inspirational super kind guy. Condolences to their families and all their friends.

  9. Steve Sullivan March 8th, 2012 2:53 pm

    sad day here in the Tetons Lou…thanks for your post…both Steve and Chris were such a big part of the fabric of the Jackson community…Romeo was just one of a kind…godspeed…LIVE TO SKI!

  10. Lou March 8th, 2012 2:55 pm

    Kray, thanks for remembering that vid! That little deal in Utah was so innocent and sweet, now that I think back on it.

  11. Chris Denny March 8th, 2012 2:58 pm

    LIVE TO SKI.

  12. Mark Donohoe March 8th, 2012 2:59 pm

    I just found out about this as well. I am in shock. I read Steve’s blog every day, even in the summer. Lou, great to see you putting something up on this. I look forward to your memories.

    It’s very hard to find the balance point, I know Steve was trying to find it and stay there, so sad.

  13. Dongshow March 8th, 2012 3:13 pm

    sad sad news

  14. Chris Larson March 8th, 2012 3:21 pm

    I didn’t know Steve well, but when I was starting up my website he was super friendly and helpful about sponsors, contacts, etc. (as were you Lou). Something that I was really thankful for, since I knew nothing!

    There will be a huge hole in the skiing community here as a result of this accident.

  15. Tim Kelley March 8th, 2012 4:15 pm

    We’ll miss you Steve. You earned your spot in a very strong and elite group in a place with no equal. You’ve inspired many including me. And for that I thank you.

  16. Colin O'Farrell March 8th, 2012 4:29 pm

    Some of my best days on skis were had with Steve. I can’t believe he’s gone. I’ll miss him immensely.

  17. MVA March 8th, 2012 4:29 pm

    Met him at the shop in Jackson. Soooooo stoked on life. Only two ski blogs I follow, his and yours. This hurts a lot.

  18. Matt Kinney March 8th, 2012 4:57 pm

    The best backcountry ski partner I never met, if that make any sense in this world of the web.

    Peace Steve.

  19. Andy March 8th, 2012 5:20 pm

    This is turning into a seriously rough winter. RIP Steve and Chris. Like MVA above, Wildsnow and TetonAT are my goto ski blog reads. This on the heels of the recent fatalities we’ve had out here in the PNW… sort of thing that gets into one’s head. Best way to celebrate their memory is to go ski.

  20. john doyle March 8th, 2012 5:54 pm

    Damn – say it isn’t so. This winter is really a wake up call – Shock and sadness

  21. Justin March 8th, 2012 6:21 pm

    Looked up to him, yourself and a few others when I first got into touring. A crushing loss.

  22. Carl Pelletier March 8th, 2012 7:35 pm

    Fare thee well.

  23. Nick March 8th, 2012 8:05 pm

    Steve was an amazing resource of information, humor and positive stoke. I logged in every day to TetonAT to see awesome photos from the Tetons, with Steve skiing stuff I can’t even imagine climbing. He was on another level, and truly Lived to Ski. Very sad to read about this and true condolences to his family and friends.

    I didn’t know Chris (or even Steve personally), but any ski partner of Steve must have been a great guy too.

    Vibes fellas. RIP.

  24. Lisa March 8th, 2012 8:56 pm

    Very, very sad news.

  25. stephen March 8th, 2012 10:17 pm

    I never met Steve, but read his blog. It’s been a seriously tough twelve months. Best wishes and hopes to all.

  26. Lou March 8th, 2012 11:02 pm

    If you guys have any stories about encounters or adventures with Steve, please let ‘em rip. I’ve got a few I’ll work on while flying back home today from over here in EU… still truly upset….

  27. Lou March 8th, 2012 11:04 pm

    Also, if anyone hears memorial schedules, please chime in. That would be a nice gesture, to keep everyone informed…

  28. Plinko March 9th, 2012 12:09 am

    No Words Can Describe…

    Steve lived it. He was and is my hero. Like MVA said, Soooooo stoked on life! Thank you for the endless stoke.

  29. Chris J March 9th, 2012 12:24 am

    RandoSteve you will be missed!

    I first stumbled upon Romeo’s site in the winter of 06-07. Good pics, good stories, maybe a little into himself, but hey, aren’t we all, and this guy got after it! I liked it enough that I bookmarked it alongside my Wildsnow bookmark that I had had for years. Whenever I was lazy or tired and not feeling like a 4:30am alarm to start a big ski day, I would just check out TetonAT. Instant Inspiration! Steve would do more gnarly vertical in a week than I would in a season!

    A couple months later I actually ran into this character, RandoSteve, on my home mountain of Mt. Shasta. ( You can read Steve’s trip report here: http://www.tetonat.com/2007/04/27/shastaat-2007-day-1/ )
    My buddy and I were on our first big ski of the year after spending all winter skiing down low. We thought we were in good shape and making good time, we even passed a few parties. Then somewhere around Red Banks (~13k’), I noticed a couple guys in the bootpack below us just FLYING up the slope. In a couple minutes they were on us so we stepped aside to let them pass. A nod of the head, a quick howzitgoing, and that’s when I recognized one of them. It took me a couple seconds to place the face, then it clicked. It was like a celebrity sighting… RandoSteve! By the time I put it together and thought of something cool to say, he was already gone. I was too tired and out of breath to explain to my friend, so I just put my head down and kept chugging uphill.

    We eventually made it to the summit, had a quick snack and then skied down the West Face. A very memorable ski descent off Shasta – perfect corn for almost 4000′. (RandoSteve in his trip report called it “one of the best spring corn runs of my life.”) At the bottom of the West Face there is a short, steep climb over a little ridge before you get another 2000′ of skiing back to the car. My buddy started up first and I followed, my jello legs quivering with each post-holing step. Nearing the top I heard some quick footsteps and efficient sounding breathing behind me. I looked over my shoulder and WTF?… RandoSteve… again?! At the top of the ridge he and his bro slowed down enough to chit chat and explain that after he passed us near Red Banks they traversed over to the top of the Trinity Chutes, skied 2000′ vert down into Avalanche Gulch, then climbed back up and skied the West Face. He and Reed were just rando-racing their asses all over that mountain. I was stunned. Both really nice, friendly guys and incredibly inspiring.

    I made it a point to keep up with Romeo’s site over the next 5 years. I was always feeling a combination of envy and awe when reading about his numerous adventures. That guy got after it.

    LIVE TO SKI! RIP Rando Steve.

  30. Glen March 9th, 2012 1:14 am

    Wow………..so sad. Your spirits are strong.

  31. Mark W March 9th, 2012 1:29 am

    Steve appeared to do it all with boundless energy and enthusiasm. His blog was one of the best. Sorry to say I never got to meet him or thank him for all the great information on his TetonAT blog. Prayers go out to those who mourn this great loss.

  32. Mark W March 9th, 2012 2:03 am

    Just watched that BD Powderkeg relay race video of Steve in action. Never seen such efficient, effortless, lightning fast skinning! It was as if he was not actually touching the ground. Amazing to say the least. My impression of his level of fitness could easily be summed up with a comparison to Alex Lowe, who has been dubbed “the lung with legs.” Quite inspiring to those of us like myself who like to think we’ve got good cardio endurance. Steve took this to a wholly different realm.

  33. Samo March 9th, 2012 2:41 am

    Hi
    Have not write in a long time but this is so bed news I had to write something and I regulary visit tetonAT same as wildsnow.
    Rest in peace Steve also from Slovenia (EU)

  34. HumbleGrizz March 9th, 2012 11:03 am

    A priceless gentleman

  35. Boulder Dave March 9th, 2012 12:36 pm

    This is shocking and so so sad. Two weeks ago, I wrote Steve and we had a nice dialogue, one outcome was a few “Live to Ski” decals finding there way to me in the mail. What an ambassador RandoSteve was for this great pursuit of skiing the back country, and how great a loss for us all. Steve was a voice for our community and I feel empty knowing that it will go quiet.

    Don’t rest in peace, RandoSteve, ski the damn heavens, and let us know how the turns are.

  36. Eric March 9th, 2012 4:17 pm

    I never met Steve but never missed a blog post. Skiers everywhere no doubt felt an instant kinship with his experiences and philosophy through is blog. Steve was an inspiration to skiers and I will sadly miss not reading his words in the future.

  37. Brian March 9th, 2012 10:31 pm

    Headed over across the lake to the burial site this morning with a crew of Romeo “regulars”. Frigid ski over the lake and then it warmed to a perfect, windless Teton day. Zahan and I climbed to a few hundred feet of the starting zone before the warming snow inspired us back down. HUGE event.

    Hung out after at the base, telling stories and just somehow “being” with our fallen partners. Pretty somber around here right now. Reading all the blog comments has been emotional for everyone who knew these guys but never fail to bring a smile or a tear.

  38. Lou March 10th, 2012 4:03 am

    Thanks Brian.

  39. Andy March 11th, 2012 10:42 am

    I never met Steve face to face but I bought 2 pairs of skis from him through his blog; stigmas & kilowatts. Im going to take the kilowatts out for the day tomorrow and make some turns on them in his memory. I’m fairly new to skiing, only 5 seasons now, but I did find Steve’s blog pretty early on and it provided me with so much inspiration and stoke. For not actually knowing some one he sure did manage to make all his readers feel like friends. You will be missed by many. RIP Steve.

  40. Matus March 11th, 2012 2:25 pm

    Steve’s enthusiasm was so strong it is hard to believe that this is real.

  41. Chris March 11th, 2012 10:05 pm

    Per Jim Stanford’s JH Underground:

    “A public memorial service for ski mountaineers Steve Romeo and Chris Onufer will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the outdoor plaza at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. A reception will follow afterward at the Mangy Moose.”

    http://www.jhunderground.com/2012/03/11/in-memoriam-steve-romeo-and-chris-onufer/comment-page-1/#comment-79697

    The forecast calls for teary beers and warm memories. Arrive early and stay late.

  42. Lou March 12th, 2012 8:27 am

    Thanks Chris, I hope to head up there, but tricky to make it happen. If not we’ll do something informal here…

  43. Kipp Webb March 12th, 2012 7:40 pm

    I wandered into Skinny Skis one day. A close friend had just died from cancer. This friend was one in a million, he had been dying of malignant melanoma for several years, but refused to give in. He was a bad ass skier and never slowed down, never told anyone about his fatal illness, just lived the moment. He planned a BC trip to Canada to keep hope alive, but moved on to the big Pow in the sky. I took over the trip so those depending on the income would be OK. Steve was a stranger to me, but he heard the story and busted his butt to fill that trip. He had a lot going on, but made this a priority. That’s how I met Steve. I was a stranger, mourning a friend and he didn’t flinch, he went all out and did something anonymous, selfless, and most of all represented what the community of the mountains should be about.

  44. S.T. Pendrick January 28th, 2013 10:40 am

    Well, seems like to me their deaths were not exactly accidental or unexpected. They got what was coming to them, in spades. As the ranger who spoke to the local news station there put it, they didn’t use their brains in going into what was known to be unstable avalanche territory or in not telling anyone what their exact plans were to be, and it got them killed. Feel bad they’re dead, but this was their fault fully and totally.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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