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April 6 barbeque marks seven years since Mammoth tragedy
It has been seven years, but for those who were in Mammoth on that day, April 6 will always be indelibly—and tragically—marked.
On that day, Mammoth was rocked off its heels when three ski patrollers who had been adjusting the barrier around a fumarole near Christmas Bowl lost their lives when the snow caved in; two immediately fell into the carbon dioxide-rich geothermal vent, while a third died attempting a rescue.
To mark the anniversary this year, Lloyd Cearley, a Mammoth local and friend of one of the late patrollers, James Juarez, said he hopes to continue to transform that tragedy into appreciation and celebration.
Cearley said he will be putting on the third annual Ski Patrol Appreciation Day and Barbeque at the Chair 2 parking lot in honor of his friend, and the others who died on April 6—Charles Walter Rosenthal and John “Scott” McAndrews.
“James has always meant a lot to me, and to many other people,” Cearley said. “These were three outstanding men. By doing the Ski Patrol Appreciation Day, I want to keep their legacy alive.”
Previous years were successful, he said, with attendance doubling from the first to second barbeque.
Now, with a Facebook page dedicated to the event, and growing word of mouth, Cearley said he hopes for an even larger turnout.
“The barbeque is a way of saying thank you,” he said, “doing something nice for patrollers for risking their lives.”
Ski Patrol Appreciation Day has received past donations from local businesses, including the Clocktower, which has donated its famous corndogs; Kerry Mechler, Chef at Rafters, who in the past brought barbeque chicken; Giovanni’s, which has contributed four large, gourmet pizzas; and Chris from the Mill, who provided sides and cutlery.
“We’d love for other restaurants to donate,” Cearley said. He also suggested individual donations of anything from baked goods to hot dogs, beer to doggie treats for the avalanche dogs.
“Bring a bottle of whiskey,” he said. “I don’t think it’ll go to waste.”
Cash donations collected last year will be put toward even better quality food this year, Cearley said.
“I can’t emphasize enough how much it’s important to have the community behind the event,” he said. “There’s not one person doing this; we want everyone to participate.”
Cearley said his hope is that the Ski Patrol Appreciation Day and Barbeque will provide a communal celebration of present ski patrollers, while honoring patrollers in the past.
“I wanted to make something good out of April 6,” he said. “Really, we should appreciate our patrollers every day.”
The barbeque begins at 11 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. Donations are welcome on-site at the Chair 2 parking lot. Location may change pending weather.
For more information about volunteering, donating, or attending, contact Lloyd Cearley at email@example.com, or visit the official Ski Patrol Appreciation Day website at thankyouskipatrol.org.