Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

― Marie Curie
  • Born in Sydney, Australia.
  • Passed away in Boulder, Colorado, United States.

The Drewster, of many nicknames, facts, friends, skis and de facto family memberships. He leaves a big hole in a community of friends, co-workers and adventure partners that loved him, laughed with him and made many memories with him. His big, brilliant laugh (and mind and spirit) touched most anyone he came across. This site is for all who want to pay tribute to the amazing, hilarious, talented, and sun-averse Aussie.

Science Tribute in AGU journal EOS

"Drew was a force within the land modeling community.  He transformed our capabilities to simulate terrestrial processes and change in cold regions. He was best known ..." (full article)

Boulder memorial

Saturday, October 15 at the National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesa Lab in Boulder.

A video recording of the ceremony is available here:

Part 1

Dave Lawrence - "His laughter filled the building"  (0:00)
Julie Arblaster - "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi"  (18:30)
Martyn Clark and Andy Barret - "A scientist extraordinaire"  (30:30)
Mark Serreze and Matthew Sturm - "Snow, snow, everywhere" (44:00)
James McCreight - "Mentor of Steeze" (53:00)
Jim Arnow - "Drew: a friend and family member to many" (1:07:00)

Part 2

Open Mic  0:00
Reading of "The Man from Snowy River"  19:30

Sydney memorial

November 26, 2016 at Bobbin Head, Sydney, Australia

A recording of the event is available here.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, contributions may be made to the Andrew Slater "Save our Snow" memorial fund. Proceeds will support the production and installation of a Drew Slater memorial ski bench and will be donated to the “Protect our Winters” organization.

Posted by Nan Rosenbloom on October 17, 2016
I don’t know it this is happening to you, but Drew is with me everywhere. I saw him on Monday in the eyes of a guy on the airplane as we boarded our flight; two weeks ago he was standing next to me at Christy Sports as I tried on a pair of goggles (I could hear him say, “but they don’t match your jacket, Nan”), and he was with me at the gym this morning, when the workout required an unstable tele-ski stance. I wobbled for a few tries until I focused on channeling Drew’s rock solid tele-ski strength and poise. (Instant success, thank you Drew). Ahhh, teleskiing. Although many of us slowly converted from tele to alpine skis, Drew was a tele diehard. Because of that, he was one of my favorite ski buddies. But sharing the tele-bug was only part of what made Drew such a great ski buddy. Drew had a rare sense of companionship and a kindness that put people of all ability levels at ease. About 10 years ago, I had to take meds that messed with my blood pressure and made me dizzy. As a tele-skier, it was normal for me to be at the back of the pack - especially on bump runs, but with the meds, I was even further behind. Sometimes I had to stop and rest so many times that the group had already loaded the chair and headed up the lift by the time I got down. I didn’t know Drew very well at the time, but often as not, he would be standing at the bottom, waiting for me, expressing no great sense of urgency about being the last ones on the chair. The same was true slogging up the hill on back country skis, or bringing up the rear on long road rides. Drew was equally comfortable attacking at the front, or entertaining riders at the tail of the 'suffer-fest' with his stories and infectious laughter. Behind the boisterous personality, and with all the good-natured teasing that Drew dealt and received, he was fundamentally patient and kind, and I loved him for it. I think it was these small acts of kindness that connected him so quickly, and so deeply to everyone who met him.  We've lost a brilliant star to the night sky; our constellation of friends will never look quite the same. Drew, we miss you.
Posted by Jocelyn Turnbull on October 17, 2016
As I look through all the photos and stories on this site, grinning through the tears, I've been jealous. Jealous of the life you lived, Drew, so full of adventure and friends and laughter. In your death, you've reminded me to live life, to not get bogged down in the day-to-day drivel, instead to get out and enjoy the good stuff. You left us too early, Drew, but your memory will be with us as we leave the house in a pigsty and sneak off for another gnarly ski day.
Posted by Sam Levis on October 9, 2016

My early NCAR days: Drew coming in to work with me and Gordon when we still used the LSM.

My late NCAR days: Drew attending CLM meetings every week. Drew on ski trips. Drew at birthday parties. Drew at my send-off to San Francisco...

Drew you left us way too soon.
Posted by Barbara Casati on October 8, 2016
We will miss you dearly, my beloved friend! We will miss your omnipresent good mood, cunning sense of humour and your contagious laugh, which was filling the room . . . and any empty space in our thoughts and our soul (chasing away all the bad spirits and grumpy moods). I can still see your enigmatic and questioning look, with your raised eyebrows, as we were discussing some seemingly-important scientific matter (or maybe it was about a new pair of skis?). You had an unconventional intelligence, and were so strongly dedicated to your research and beliefs: none could overlook this, none could help but take notice, your values made you a complete scientist and human being. We have been enchanted many times by your incredible knowledge and all-embracing culture: we can still neatly remember that starry night in front of the camp fire when you cited "The Man from Snowy River" top-to-bottom all by memory: that was spooky and amazing at the same time! Companion of so many wonderful adventures, skiing, climbing, canoeing … always with a light heart, ready to engage in the challenge, but also sensitive to the needs and limits of others (with just a simple word, or an imperceptible gesture): you had a big heart, Drew (and a rare gentle touch). And you had a pure heart, Drew: I still remember (with inner joy) your almost child-like enthusiasm as the face of Catinaccio rose in your view. I wish we could share many more of these intense times, I wish my kids could laugh with you and learn from you some of the real values of life … I'll never forget you, my wonderful friend.
Posted by Neil Holbrook on October 5, 2016
Thanks Drew for showing me how to ski, or at least showing me how it should be done! Thanks for looking after me in my wonderful visits to Boulder and NCAR. Thank you for your friendship, both in Australia and in Boulder. Thank you for just being a great bloke! You're sorely missed, clearly by everyone who knew you.
Posted by Ben Holdsworth on September 29, 2016
While we never met, Drew made an impact through his work on my life and those of my students who understood his importance. Farewell and comfort to all grieving your loss.
Posted by Nicolas Cullen on September 25, 2016
My time as a PhD student at the University of Colorado would not have been the same without my good friend Andrew "Drew" Slater. It all started in a class that we shared together, one of his favourites - the "History and Theory of Geography". The pain he endured having to take that course, being forced to embrace both the physical and social dimensions of the discipline set the platform for our friendship - always heated, always fun. Without Drew and Martyn Clark, I would never have got back into my rock climbing like I did in Boulder - we spent a lot of time hanging off bolts together between 1999-2004 - it was a great period and I look back at it fondly. I will miss you Drew, you were a great guy, and someone I always enjoyed hanging out with. There are many memories of the times that we spent together that will bring a smile to my face, and be assured that I often think of you when I am sitting in geography department meetings discussing "graduate attributes" or "what it is to be a geographer" - I just wish I had the nerve to say what you did back in our first class together – like it did back then, it would cause an uproar.
Posted by Helen Kirkup on September 23, 2016
Andrew G Slater. Perhaps the G was for Google. He was one of these people who was so aware of how much there was to know that he didn't yet know, so he never felt he knew much.

Thank you to everyone in Boulder, he loved being there. His confidence grew so much over those years, on a recent trip back to Oz, after years of telling me how good everyone else was at skiing he admitted that he finally had become quite a good skier himself, and could actually keep up nowadays.

Thankyou to those that helped him get to Antarctica. It was the one place that had eluded him, that could've been but hadn't, that we'd been to and he'd heard so much about. It kind of made his travels complete. Thank you to the people who mentioned the big snorty laugh, it brought back many memories. Thank you to the person who mentioned the all nighters. It also brings back memories as we had many in our university years, but only someone like Drew would still be doing such things.

To the people who's kids he spent time on the slopes with. He loved being uncle Drew. He loved the opportunity to be a positive influence and to simply help out.

Drew did more in his 45 years than most people do in their whole life. And everything he did he always endeavored to do properly and thoroughly and meticulously. So recently when we needed a photo of our school logo somewhere around the world, we didn't get just a happy snap, we got a perfectly placed logo pinned on the McMurdo Antarctica sign, with the mountains across the background, and you made my 9 year old incredibly happy, just because you could, because you would always take the time to do things the best way they could be done.

Farewell Drew. It still seems surreal from over here, so far away. You were quirky, you were fun, you were a rare breed, you are irreplaceable, you were a best friend, and you will be missed.
Posted by Dave Kindig on September 23, 2016
Farewell Drew! I hope you find the perfect set of clothing wherever you are!
Posted by Richard Cullather on September 23, 2016
Having Drew as an officemate in graduate school was a great experience. I would always look forward to hearing about his latest travel and hiking adventures- a personal favorite was of the acrobatic ski jumping course that he took one summer. One day he began hanging these life-sized posters around his desk of himself climbing in the Colorado backcountry. Drew was passionate about hiking and climbing and about his science, and he wanted you personally to love it as much as he did. He was able to relate and encourage you if you were down about a project or about your work. In the last few years he seemed to excel at coming up with approaches to difficult modeling problems like sea ice prediction. I will miss him as a colleague and as a friend.
Posted by Marie Ka on September 22, 2016
Drew was one of the most cheerful, motivated and happy people I ever met. It was a great pleasure to meet him, even though it was just for a short time. Thanks for cheering up so many lives and inspiring so many people (whether in science or elsewhere).
Posted by Nicole Gordon on September 22, 2016
Full Scientist Interviews: Andrew Slater (YouTube)
Posted by Cathy Wilson on September 21, 2016
I had too few chances to interact with Drew, but each time was filled with laughter, joy and a big nugget of new knowledge. His big, beautiful spirit filled the room and my heart.
Posted by Matthew Sturm on September 21, 2016
Infectious laugh during good and bad Arctic weather.....lousy snow pit notes, but lots of enthusiasm for snow and science and skiing terrible Arctic snow (some saying about gnarly).  Drew started coming up on our expeditions in I think 2001, and continued since through 2015. He was one of the joys of Alaska field work, willing to magnaprobe all day, and still have plenty of banter at breaks and in the evening. I can't imagine he is really gone......
Posted by Walt Meier on September 19, 2016
When I left NSIDC three years ago, Drew took over my office. When I would come back and visit, I would joke with him a bit - "what are you doing in my office?!" But the truth is, there wasn't any more worthy successor to take over that office in the "science wing" of NSIDC. Really, it is me who is honored to have preceded such a brilliant, nice, fun guy in that space. I'll miss not to seeing him in that office on my next visit.
Posted by Courtney Wheeler on September 19, 2016
If I ever get close to schralpin' the gnar, it is because of Drew. Even though the last time I skied with him was last century, he has made an indelible mark on my skiing. A few years ago, he saw a video of me tele skiing in Australia, and gave me advice that I remind myself every time I feel myself getting sloppy. Then he scoffed at my skis and convinced me that I should get a new pair. He spent three weeks, and countless emails, answering in great detail every question I asked of him on the topic, always optimistic that I would become a better skier because of it. Fortunately this is one of the topics he knows well and he was right. I think of him every time I ski.
Posted by Stacey Quesada on September 19, 2016
Although it's been years since I've been lucky enough to spend time with Drew, I can still hear his laugh like it was yesterday. Drew had such a charismatic, joyful, and magnetic spirit. The first time I met him, I learned a lot about cricket and a little about wine. Always quick to smile and the first to let out a roaring laugh, Drew was the life of any party. Thank you for the laughs, Drew!
Posted by Paquita Zuidema on September 18, 2016
I first met Drew when he visited CU on an American university scouting trip. I knew right away he was not the usual graduate school applicant, as he described his high-latitude adventures en route to Boulder while I dropped him off at the International Hostel on the hill. I found myself wishing then already he would choose CU - and he did. Another strong memory I have of him is of a climbing trip we did in Rocky Mtn Ntnl Park, one of the few times I did something with just him. It was a remarkably beautiful and wonderful day and I felt lucky to just have the time with him outside of a group. He enriched my life beyond measure and I have trouble understanding why he is no longer with us.
Posted by Dave Lawrence on September 18, 2016
I had been meaning to show this video (An American Explains Cricket by Stuart Davis to Drew for months and am sad that I never remembered. I probably never remembered because when Drew was around, there was just never a time when the banter died down enough to remember. Drew was famous for his obsessive love of cricket. For those who watch the video, be warned - you will learn absolutely nothing about cricket, but it should deliver a good chuckle and hopefully even a hearty Drewster-like laugh! :)
Posted by Kristen Besanceney on September 18, 2016
Drew was one of the most self-less guys I have met. When we went on a hut trip, he easily could have blasted up there (and back) in a fraction of the time but he chose to hang at the back with those of us with struggling kids. He shared his snacks and his knowledge and made the journey so much better. I was so impressed with him. Then he kept us adults safe as we back-country skied with him. He never once made me feel like I was slowing him down. He was eager to share his time and knowledge. Thank you, Drew. I will never visit a hut nor back-country ski without thinking of you. You will be missed!
Posted by Karen Munro on September 17, 2016
Drew was a High School mate of my husband, Rob and I have known him for 25 years. It has been hard to think about what to say about such an amazing person who is gone to soon.

Although we didn't get to see each other as much as in the past, know that you'll be missed terribly.

I will forever be greatfull to you Drew, for making being smart and sporty a "cool" thing to be. My eldest son, 12 yrs old, described you as a "super smart and cool friend of my dad" to someone last weekend when we learned of your passing.

Thankyou for your friendship, fabulous laugh and sharing your knowledge and thirst to make to world a better place with us all.

Posted by Larry Hinzman on September 16, 2016
I have found this incredibly sad news very hard to accept. Drew was so full of life, energy and ideas. He made such a big impact on the people around him, he'll live on for a very long time. He stomped on the snow.
Posted by Diane Fritz on September 15, 2016
Drew, you felt like my brother. While this means there were times I wanted to yell, “Mom! Make him stop it!”, it also means you were one of my best and dear friends. I knew you well enough (if that makes sense) to be annoyed at times by your jacket-quiver-quandaries, etc.. But all the countries, ski runs, meals, trails and stouts we explored together were more entertaining for your presence. Your wit and laughter enriched my life. Thanks for being part of my family.
Posted by Deann Miller on September 14, 2016
Drew will be missed around the halls at NSIDC. He was a great colleague and he had a friendly outgoing spirit. I will miss the NSIDC Ski Days Drew always put together for us at Loveland. Thanks Drew for getting us together once a year for a great time full of laughs!
Posted by Kevin Schaefer on September 14, 2016
I shall miss Drew's loud laugh and strong, unfiltered opinions. With his passing comes a regret and missed opportunity that I did not know him better.
Posted by Kathleen MacDonald on September 14, 2016
I was Drew's neighbor. I always welcomed the chance to visit with him. We usually chatted as he worked on his bike...either headed out or coming back from a ride. He was so 'present' when we shared conversations and I always walked away feeling a little better than I did before we spoke. It is so sad seeing the light go out in the windows next door.
Posted by Peter Pulsifer on September 14, 2016
As a remote employee I only say Drew occasionally when I visited NSIDC. Drew had a rare combination of intellect and humour that always helped to guide us through discussions. A great loss for those who were close to him and to the research world. You will be sorely missed, Drew.
Posted by Adam Schlosser on September 13, 2016
Drew: A "shotgun" friendship that started when you arrived at our doorstep (was it really ~20 years ago?!?) needing a place to stay (and cash!) ;-) We started some great work during that time and had many, many more laughs. We will never look at a Bob's Big Boy quite the same - especially the buffet - ever again. How you recovered to ski the next day will live in intestinal infamy!! This world is less interesting and intelligent without you - and I know that wherever you have landed it will be far the better for it having you around and doing what you do. Thanks mate - you are truly one of a kind!
Posted by Richard Neale on September 13, 2016
Happy travels Drew. I will always remember you as the fun loving, honest, self deprecating and adventurous human being. As good at communicating complex science as making little kids laugh. I especially have treasured memories of when we shared a condo together. For the best part of a year you were finishing up grad. school and we used to cross paths at around 7am everyday for a chat. You were coming home from all-nighters, I was having breakfast and you were having dinner. So sad to lose you so soon, but the memory of you will burn bright in everyone's heart for the rest of their lives. So long, and I hope you're scoring centuries and avoiding ducks wherever you are!
Posted by Vladimir Alexeev on September 13, 2016
хай земля тобі буде пухом. пам'ятаємо. сумуємо. (Ukrainian). We will remember you. Rest in peace.
Posted by Elizabeth Burakowski on September 13, 2016
This past winter we joined a number of folks from CGD on a hut trip to Janet's Cabin. As we sat around enjoying the warm fire and wines/whiskeys/beers, I couldn't help but notice something was missing - a hearty laugh, a sarcastic comment about my split board, an adventurous tale of Antarctica. I finally asked Dave, "Wait, where's Drew?" It turned out a gaper had smacked into Drew's knee earlier in the month and he was still recovering. Drew's knee fortunately healed in time for the 10th Annual CGD Ski Day at A Basin. It was indeed "one of those days" that just felt so complete, in part because Drew was there. Here's to you, Drew! You will be missed immensely.
Posted by Dan Besanceney on September 13, 2016
My sincere regards to all those who are mourning the loss of a very humble athlete and scientist. Drew’s infectious laughter, uplifting attitude and adventures spirit will be remember for a long time to come.
Posted by Matthew Wheeler on September 13, 2016
Thanks Drew for showing me that some Aussies can ski really well (early 1997). Thanks Drew for the games of cricket in the CU quadrangle (~1999). Thanks for being a team-mate on the Third Inward Bound (2000). Thanks for leading me up the 1st Flatiron (late 2000).Thanks for researching and selecting the skis that Courtney and I now enjoy (2012). What a laugh!
Posted by Jennifer Neale on September 13, 2016
I will miss Drew and his endless knowledge about everything. I could have asked Drew for his opinion on anything from buying women's powder skis to the best knife for slicing vegetables. He was always there with a laugh and a smile and always so thoughtful in conversation. I don't have as many pictures of Drew as I thought I did, but I realize it's because I have such vivid memories of our times spent together and I don't need photos to remember his smile or his laugh.
Posted by David Bailey on September 13, 2016
Drew was an officemate and friend during my graduate school days from 1996-2000. Those were fun days in the office and lunch time visits to the Hill. My wife, Laurilyn, and I remember many animated "discussions" over small trivialities. When we returned to Boulder in 2006 for me to work at NCAR, Drew was often a visitor up the hill and heavily involved in the land model development. We also served together on a data advisory committee and I would see him regularly at workshops and conferences. I will miss his insights and perspective as a scientist and friend. Most of all, as many others have pointed out, I will miss his infectious laughter.
Posted by Tiffany Pezzulo on September 12, 2016
Drewster: Pouring out a little vino even you would drink, eating some bacon, getting the knives sharpened to your standards, the gear organized, and snuggling up with the stuffed kangaroo you got for Dman as I alternate between laughing and crying remembering the comedy, the adventures, the suffer fests and what a huge part of our life you were. So lucky to know you. Thanks for adding your Aussie style to our lives.
Posted by Amanda Lynch on September 12, 2016
Farewell snow man. Yes, you were infuriating when you were right, even more when you weren't. But it was always more entertaining when you were around, and nice to have a fellow Aussie around to trick those Yanks about the drop bears.
Posted by Randy Pants on September 12, 2016
I can't get over my sadness. Drew was one of the greatest guys I've ever met. He was present at the most significant moments of my life. He made everyone he met think. He was my soul brother. I miss you Drew!
Posted by Marijke Unger on September 12, 2016
I look at pictures and hear you in my head as clearly as if you were standing next to me, or sitting in my office as you so often did, discussing the meaning of life, the latest greatest ski gear, or which wines were worthy of a refined palate. I can't picture what the world looks like without your brilliance, quirk, and spirit, so I'll keep you alive and funny and infuriating and kind in my memory, and expect your hearty laugh to greet me at any moment. You're one of the good guys, Drew, and you are loved.
Posted by Natasha Vizcarra on September 12, 2016
I'm going to miss that loud, hearty laugh at work. Rest in peace, Drew.
Posted by Sally Pezzulo on September 12, 2016
Drew was one of the best listeners I ever met. He remembered EVERYTHING that one shared with him, and asked about it even if years had passed since conversation happened. Truly a lovely man.
Posted by Todd Arbetter on September 12, 2016
Never saw someone so meticulous about his Vegemite. Or watching the cricket text feed when the internet was little more than Star Trek. (Often accompanied by Vegemite.) Farewell, old friend.

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