Share a special moment from Leif Eric's life.


Shared by Estrella Flores on December 18, 2012



Shared by Andi Bell on February 8, 2012


One year later and the Winter Song still tugs at me when I hear it.  I thought I'd honor your memory today with a run at Waterville on the skis you borrowed last time you were here with Ian.  The ride up seemed longer today, still listening to every sheave and looking at every merge for problems as we always did.  I thought I'd be by myself but as I headed down with the sun at my back, there you were over every rise, as always, in front, seeing if we couldn't get just a little more out of each turn!  It was good to "see" you old friend and know your memory will never fade.


Coffee too hot?

Shared by Mark Campion on January 1, 2012

I remember one cold and nasty day up there at the Snow Plume Refuge back in February during Leif's rookie year. I was dispatching because I had the brown bottle flu from the night before. Leif was with us the whole night, but was able to operate the following day without any trouble at all. The coffee machine we had at the time wouldn't have passed FDA inspection for many reasons, but mostly it was a fire hazard. It boiled the coffee, it didn't brew it at all. You would drink it regardless, as it was a long cold trip to the bottom for coffee. Well, Leif asked me how the coffee was this morning, and I said that it is way too hot to even think about drinking, and that I wish somebody would fix the machine. He told me he didn't know much about the machine, and that he will find a new one. As far as the coffee being too hot, he told me to quit the whining, then he stuck his frozen leather glove fingers into it.

"you should be ready to go now." he told me, then he went back out into the cold with his leather fingers in his mouth as he ski'd into the fog.

He is a classic. Always was, always will be.



Link to the memorial Video

Shared by Rex Lint on February 19, 2011

Here is a link to the video we showed at the memorial service for those of you who missed it.

Lots of good people, lots of love.

fixie freak

Shared by colleen Ihnken on February 18, 2011

So there we were - a slow night in the ER chatting about the most recent summit mountain challenge.  I had assumed Leif was single speeding and he quickly began a rather lengthy explanation of fixies.  Including but not limited to how I could build one myself (how easy it would be) the pros of fixies compared to single speeds  complete with drawing, diagrams and mathematical equations.  I didn't have the heart to tell him I was lost at the first page and still don't understand the braking thing.  I will miss his smile, unbridled enthusiasm and pumping legs.  

This is not bad hair!

Shared by Marshall Denkinger on February 17, 2011

I had the pleasure of working with Leif in variety of venues. I once, and only once, commented on his unruly hair. His response was vintage Leif; "This is not bad hair!... it's my hair and I like it".  Whenever I was around Leif I felt like being better and stronger.  If you needed an opinion, Leif would give you one.  If you needed to learn something, Leif would teach you.  If you needed encouragement, Leif would provide inspiration.   .....And, if you needed help, Leif would always lend his formidable energy and strength.  He was an iconic figure, and unforgettable from the moment you met him.

For Denise, Ian and Aidan;  A measure of what Leif has given to this community and region is apparent in the outpouring of love and support for you, ... that I hope will continue for weeks, months and years.

Leif's glasses

Shared by TR Resignolo on February 15, 2011

Leif was nominated to the county EMS Board a number of years ago as the county ski patrol representative.  We sat next to each other for his first meeting and I noticed he was wearing some really weird looking glasses.  They looked like they were put together with a mini erector set.  I couldn't resist a little comment and said " nice glasses...did you get a bowl of soup with them?"  Leif gave me a funny look and said "my brother made them for me".   TR: "My bad....  they look good on YOU.......can I try them on?"  That was Leif's official start to many good years on the EMS Board.

Swimming and learnin'

Shared by Andy McMahon on February 15, 2011

He would roll into overheated classroom of the old bank in Breckenridge clad in wool pants and a tight Hawaiian shirt with a variety of ridiculous configurations of facial hair.  He was animated and passionate about what he was teaching and got so involved in sharing his life experiences from the days of smoke jumping, ski patrolling or EMS that his neck  veins would distend and he would have sweaty pit stains by break time.  Everyone paid attention, partly because
his experiences were worthy of a movie and partly because we were uncertain of the consequences for day dreaming.

I first met Leif in 1995 when I took an OEC course at CMC in 
Breckenridge.  Along with TR, Tony C, and Kevin Keble, Leif's enthusiasm for medicine and for educating other healthcare professionals was inspirational to me.  Despite the experiences of many sleepless nights in the ICU, I can still say that some of the most influential experiences in my career came 
in a tree well on Pali or a pile of rocks on the Wall with Leif.  The 
more tumultuous, bloody, or exposed the locale, the more focused, 
methodical, and composed Leif became.  I was in awe and jealous of the ease, knowledge, and confidence with which he managed these situations.

Back in OEC class,  Leif learned that I was going to join the ski 
patrol at Copper that season and my classroom experiences morphed into a  full contact learning environment. Leif took a deeper interest in my education and sought to challenge me, hourly. He called on me in class 
to make sure I did my reading and threw me constant (often obnoxious) 
curve balls in the mock scenarios we re-enacted in the tight hallways 
of the second floor of CMC.  I wasn't so sure I liked being called 
out, but I was always over prepared for class.  During our years 
together at A-basin, he paid similar attention to my development 
initially, but then slowly released the reigns and continued to mentor 
me in the manner Leif was best at, leading by example.

I only had one opportunity to teach something to Leif and that was on 
a river trip 10 years ago this May.  Bumpy had acquired a Middle Fork 
permit for late May, a period when snow typically barricades the road 
through Boundary Pass necessitating a launch at Marsh Creek.  It had 
been a thin snow year in the Sawtooths and we were able to shovel the 
pass out with kayak paddles in order to make it down to the launch at 
Boundary Creek.  It was cold and windy; it rained and snowed 
simultaneously and everything I owned was soaked after leaving my tent 
fly off during a brief moment of afternoon sun.  Avalanche paths from 
the peaks above the river were full of debris and extended into the 
river like big frozen white tongues.  Leif was proud of his brand new 14' NRS that he and Tim Finn had bought together the week before; I had my brand 
new kayak and an untested combat roll.  We were both green and, 
underneath our macho facades, we were gripped.

We rigged boats all day in the frozen slop with Bumpy and then drank 
beer under a soggy green tarp that kept some of the rain out and all 
of the smoke from the smoldering fire in.  Having a few seasons of 
commercial guiding under my belt, I was able to offer Leif a few tips 
for survival, subtly disguised as stories of river carnage from 
summers past.  Only in retrospect do I now recognize that this was the 
only time I saw a tiny flaw in Leif's armor.

We set out the next morning from Boundary Creek together, disappearing 
around that first bend where the river splits into a few shallow 
channels, the butterflies in my stomach were more like pterodactyls.  
Leif was stoic and that's how I knew he was nervous, too.  We had 
agreed to run tight so I could offer "pointers" and so that he could 
fish me out, and intubate me, if needed. He took my beer bag and 
camera so that I would be forced to chase down his raft if he became 
separated from it.

5 miles into our snowy morning of terror, we entered Velvet Falls.  
Leif went first. I got stern squirted while sneaking into the eddy 
behind the mossy green guard rock above the falls and threw a panicked 
slapping brace to stay upright in the boiling current. As I recovered, 
I turned downstream to observe a monstrous 14' slab of black hypalon 
pirouetting in the air and landing upside down in the backwash of the 
falls.  I tensed with fear as I entered the chute, again got stern 
squirted, and had my skirt off before my boat had landed upside down 
in the river.  We were both swimming.  Leif got his raft, and Toy, out 
of the river quicker than I got my kayak out.  My beer was gone, my 
pelican case was full of water and it took five of us an hour to right 
his fully loaded boat in a tiny surging eddy just downstream of the 
falls. At least it was snowing. 

We found my beer in an eddy several  miles downstream and proceeded to spend the remaining evenings of the 
week around the fire sharing stories and my battered Natural Ice cans.  I quickly learned that Leif liked to wrestle, and that you really 
didn't want to wrestle with Leif, or his dog.  Yes, they both bite

I was shocked and deeply saddened to here about Leif's passing.  To my 
eyes, Leif was like a superhero; the Tasmanian devil meets Superman, 
if you will. He was a constant source of entertainment and 
inspiration.  He seemed invincible.  I don't know why we loose such 
great people, so young, and without warning.  It is simply, not fair.  I 
suppose it serves as a reminder that we should never take any day, or 
relationship, for granted.  I am going to miss that crazy leather boot 
wearing, basque separatist supporting, coffee slurping, fixed gear-
single speed riding, chain saw swinging bastard.

My deepest condolences to Ian, Aidan, and Denise and to all the A-
Basin family.  I wish I could be there to celebrate Leif's life in 
person with you all and hope to see you soon.

Eatin' is Cheatin,


Shared by Don Ehlen on February 15, 2011

Five friends planned to hike through in a week but were trapped by a flash flood for four days. We were eventually spotted by plane and hiked out when the water receded, unharmed.


Try and Keep Up

Shared by Andi Bell on February 14, 2011

I first met Leif in spring of 01.  He had just taken a job at NSP as the head of First Aid.  He came East to meet as many of the Eastern Division directors as possible which was best accomplished at the Certified Exam being held at Gore Mountain in NY.  I was asked to "sheperd" him around to meet everyone.  He was immediately excited to see I had telemark boots  even if they were plastic.  We had not gone far on our first run when we came to a closed rope under a lift.  Leif stopped momentarily, "hey that looks pretty good", and was gone.  Now at this point I had been on teles for two years but most of it on groomed terrain.  This lift line was loaded with stumps, rocks and debris all covered with 10" of new snow.  Not wanting to lose Leif I gamely tried to keep him insight.  He liked it so much that he insisted on doing it again!  The rest of the day was spent with most of the  introductions being done in the woods while searching for rock jumps.   Years later he would explain to my wife that I had been trying to "break" him.  I felt lucky just to have survived the day.

Leif always had a way of bringing my ability up whenever we skied together.  I will never be able to look at an old pair of Merrel Super Comps without seeing him with a grin on his face and a kind word to help my confidence.  He was one of the best.

Heaviest belt

Shared by QX Bobo Persons on February 14, 2011

Used to joke that Leif carried a chain saw in his belt pack.  Wasn't too far from truth.  Most times when the belt came off he would pull out some incredibly large and awkward tool that was the only one that would work for the job at hand.  He did this when he was fixing doos.  He did this when running a saw.  He did this all of the time.  Need a socket wrench?  Need a framing hammer?  Need a belt for a 440?

Dear friends I share your joy at having known him.  I share your sadness with his departure.


Dog Pits, Ortovox F2, & Summit HS Soccer

Shared by Bob Brooks on February 14, 2011

A few years ago I happened to be patrolling mid-week and was asked by Leif to dig a dog pit over in the Solarium area in order to conduct dog drills. Not questioning my assignment, I grabbed my avy shovel and headed over to dig the pit. Being a volunteer and not wanting to be ridiculed for digging an inadequate pit, I proceeded to dig for at least an hour and built a snow cave deep into the cornice that most likely could have been lived in by several people for weeks. Leif complemented me on my actions saying the cave was a palace and it didn't need to be completed to that extent. Oh well. We joked about it for weeks after that, and I'm pretty sure that cave was still there in the weeks that followed. Most likely he passed it numerous times as he was on his way to scope out and figure out our soon to be Zuma Bowl expansion :)

I remember another time about 5 years ago we were doing beacon drills in the Stylehung area underneath the Humbug chutes. I skied up to start my search and whipped out my old purple cased Ortovox F2 beacon. Leif happened to be on-site and when he saw my old beacon, he proceeded to chew my butt (professionally of course) about my beacon being unreliable, saying it gave false readings, powered on and off by itself, and on and on. He said I'd better get a new one that's worth a s&%t. Needless to say I heeded Leif's advice, respected his snow safety expertise, and to this day will always remember that beacon drill.

More recently, I had the pleasure of getting to know Leif off piste and onto the bleachers at Summit High School's Soccer Field. At the time Ian was a sophmore at Summit and was playing assistant goalie on the varsity team. My son Erik was a senior at the time and also played varsity soccer, so both Leif and I were usually at the games watching our sons play. It was a very successful soccer season for Summit that year and they made it to the playoffs with much credit given to Ian, who was great in his goal keeper position. Leif and I would chat about soccer at the games and at the Basin throughout that season and then regularily again as we patrolled over the next few years while Ian continued to play. It was another common bond that we had, which gives me great memories.

Leif, thank you for your contributions to all of us over the years. Thank you for making me be a better patroller, and a better father. My deepest sympathies to your family, and you are sorely missed.

Copper Mountain Rookies

Shared by Emy Parmley Keeling on February 14, 2011

I just happened to come across this picture last night and wanted to share it.  This is the rookie class for 2003/2004 at Copper Mountain.  Although we were new to Copper Mountain, Leif was a well seasoned professional who shared so much of his knowledge with us.

Spare change & dog crap

Shared by Rick Pratt on February 11, 2011

One day in late spring my first year as a volunteer patroller, I was given a job most patrollers hate.  I am not sure if my regular screw-ups was the reason or because someone on the patrol thought it might be a good idea to test this “old rookie” patroller and see how he puts up with the crap work.

At the end of the morning patrol meeting Leif assigned me my “opening.”  It would be to clean up the garbage and dog crap all around the F.A.R. (first aid room.)  Everyone in the room chuckled so I knew this was going to be fun.  Wondering just how nasty this was going to be I feigned a smile and grabbed a bucket and gloves and got started.

After about ten minutes of stooping over to pick up an assortment of garbage and actual dog crap, Leif came bounding toward me and said “Here, it will be more fun with these” and handed me a tool that allowed me to pick things up without touching them while still standing upright.  My back was very grateful.

I started back to my chore realizing that this was going to take awhile to complete and doing my best to smile and look like I was having fun.  A short while later I heard a voice chuckling on the radio that sounded like Leif.  "Just found a quarter, I'm getting rich."  I turned around and over on the other side of the building was Leif, doing exactly what I was doing.  Picking up other peoples garbage and crap and spare change and smiling all the while. 

And every time he found some change, be it a penny or a dime or quarter he would get on the radio and announce his “find.”  He wasn’t “trying” to have fun.  He WAS having fun!  And on top of that he was making “my chore” much easier by both demonstrating how to have fun doing it and by sharing in the actual effort.

I was just beginning to get to know him and that day I grew to really like and respect him.  He would never ask anyone to do a job he was not willing and ready to do himself.  And from what I knew of him, he would enjoy every minute of it in genuine appreciation for the simple fact that: Life was Fun – no matter whose crap you were dealing with.

Thanks Leif for this lesson and others I learned from you in the short time I knew you!

Shared by teresa wyatt on February 11, 2011

Shock and sadness...we never know when..but as my friends and I have had our kids racing down the mountain through gates and air, we always knew there was a chance that the day would end with a call. If you LIVE life and your last moments are where you LOVE! even if it is too helps a bit...if just a little bit.

He was my direct connect with snow conditions and alway so kind and willing to do even better for the good of the mountain I know he loved. I love.

Are prayers enough? I guess he might feel as I each day as none of knows the last day...A Basin is more family than most are lucky enough to one can be replaced..just missed with our hearts always there.


re: It started with a simple question

Shared by John Bottomley on February 11, 2011

I just had to comment on this story...

Leif and I really enjoyed breaking eachother's chops.  Similar senses of humor and whatnot...  Eventually it got to the point where it got around with patrol that we were really pissed off with one another.  So of course, we just had to step it up another notch and we'd be yelling at eachother on the lift anytime we got within earshot of a red jacket.

But for all the goofing around we did, there were lots of other times I'd go to him with questions, since he was pretty much the most resourceful person I'd ever met.  I'm sure a lot of those questions sounded pretty stupid, and he certainly could have busted my chops about it, but he never did.  Not once.  He always stopped to listen and offered knowledge and advice.  That sort of friendship is real hard to come by, and I am going to miss him.

My deepest condolences to Leif's family and extended family of friends...  I can't even begin to imagine...



It started with a simple question

Shared by Steve Delaney on February 10, 2011

I only knew Leif on a professional level over the past five years, but I feel compelled to share my experience.

My condolences to his family and friends. He was a wonderful person.


Upon being bit by the backcountry bug, I looked to Leif for some guidance: “Leif, this is probably a stupid question.......” He responded, “The only stupid question is the one not asked.” After so many questions over the years, he probably came to regret making that statement- but he never let on.


Leif always took the time to give advice and provide guidance. Never once did he act condescending or arrogant. After each conversation, he always left me feeling more knowledgeable and confident. It seems he genuinely enjoyed being a mentor to myself and so many others.


Time has passed, and there is still so much to learn, but the knowledge Leif shared is immeasurable. There is an old Japanese Proverb that goes: “Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher."


Thank you Leif. It was an honor and a pleasure.






Grace under Fire

Shared by gary vaillancourt on February 10, 2011

 I only had the pleasure of knowing Leif for approximately 5 years through the abasin ski patrol family, during which i learned to respect his advice and vast knowledge about everything, Over the last few years Lief had asked me to help him modify the older avalauncher to make it more accurate and user friendly.This involved welding a few parts to retrofit the gun. We made plans to complete this during the summer. This involved carrying up a 400LB welding generator up 200 yards to the gun. Which if you ever had the oppurtunity to work with Leif you would understand how hard it was to keep up with him, and how hard it was to carry this generator with 2 people at 12,000ft, I barely survied , but for Leif this grueling type of hard work was a daily occurance and was done with a smile.   As they say he could make Chuck Norris cry.

 As that day progressed , Leif was welding and  I tapped him on the shoulder while calling his name "LEIF!" , With the noisey generator running in the background it was hard to hear, and he responded in Leif fashion with a look that said "what the F@#$% im trying to weld here, this better be good" . And i responded with "WE GOT FIRE!" , WHAT! he shouted , then i repeated my "WE GOT FIRE!"  again while pointing and gesturing 20 feet down under the avalauncher. Leif responded with a confident and relaxed "lets go!". We climbed down the tower into 2 foot high flames, I immediatly ran for the fire extinguisher we had so smartly brought up with us for just such a scenerio. As i grabbed the extinguisher and turned around the image i saw will forever represent my memory of Leif Eric Borgeson, he was on all fours surrounded by flames 2-4ft high and was putting out the fire with his forearms and legs, as he knew the little extiguisher was a waste of time. I immediately dropped the extinguisher and followed his lead and jumped in next to him and began stomping the fire with my hands, this method worked and we didnt get burned at all . We eventually managed to put out the grassfire, and then had a few laughs about the disaster averted. i will forever be mesmorized by that image of Leif on all fours surrounded by flames , and this will forever be my memory of Leif in all circumstances, always with grace under fire.  


He is missed and will be forever

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