I stand at the rear of a huge room in the lodge at the Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. It is packed tight with people, sitting, standing, some of them standing on chairs. This is the memorial service for ski patroller Bill Foster who, after nearly 30 years as a patroller at Alpine, died on the job on December 24th.
I am here because my husband and many of my friends are ski patrollers. Even though I’m not a patroller, I feel deeply connected to this community. I feel the loss when I see the grief on the faces of my friends. And I can’t help but stand there, listening to the grief of others, and wonder what it would be like if it were someone from my own inner circle, if it were my husband.
They have come from resorts near and distant to show their support, their respect. I meet patrollers from all over California, from Oregon, Utah, Canada. My husband tells me he just met a patroller from Chamonix.