(Update: On Thursday, Aug. 2, the Summit County coroner’s office provided details on what happened to Hannah Taylor on July 21. Those details can be found here.)
A Summit Nordic Ski Club coach for the last 14 years, Hannah Taylor, 39, passed away on Saturday after a trail running accident in the Gore Range near Frisco, Colorado. Originally from Hopkinton, N.H., Taylor, who lived in the Frisco area for the better part of the last two decades, was running on Willow Peak ridge with Summit Nordic’s head coach Olof Hedberg when she grabbed a rock that came loose. According to the Union Leader, she fell some 250 feet into a rock garden below and was pronounced dead at the scene by medical team that arrived by helicopter. The accident occurred around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
On Monday, Summit Nordic posted the following on its Facebook page:
“On Saturday July 21st SNSC coaches, Hannah Taylor and Olof Hedberg, were out on a mountain run in the Gore range. On the Willow Peak ridge Hannah grabbed a rock that came loose and lost her life.
Hannah has been with Summit Nordic Ski club for 14 years and there are no words that can describe the impact she has had on our club. We all know that this club wouldn’t exist without her. She wasn’t just a coach with SNSC, she was the heart and soul of SNSC. Her impact on our athletes reached far beyond their ability to ski. She didn’t just help children become successful athletes, but successful and great people.
Her dedication to our athletes was undeniable. She kept a record of every wax used for every race over the last 10 years and cried every time we missed a wax on a race. She always wanted every athlete to have the best possible situation to perform and spent hours and hours making sure everyone had the perfect conditions no matter if you finish first or 30th.
She instilled values like hard work, integrity, truthfulness and a sense of adventure into our club. To say that Hannah was an SNSC coach is not enough. SNSC as a whole is a reflection of Hannah Taylor and her values. Without ever asking for the spotlight, she shaped SNSC to a reflection of herself, and every day going forward we will try to honor that reflection and be the best we can. We will miss you every day.”
Summit Nordic board president Peter Haynes told the Summit Daily how invaluable Taylor had been to their club.
“She was here through several head coaches; she was our rock,” Haynes said. “This club would not be what it is without Hannah. She was such a strong person and personality, and hard on people. But she loved them so much — the kids especially. She did not give them a lot of breaks, but it was truly because she cared about them so much. She truly made this club better for everybody — coaches, parents and athletes.
“I’m at a loss at what we will do without her, truly,” he continued. “Her ability to hold it all together when it kind of felt like it was too difficult at times, she just got through it all and did everything we ever asked of her.”
Taylor skied for Middlebury College in Vermont and worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club before moving to Colorado. There, she began coaching at Summit Nordic and was hired as office manager at the Summit Huts Association, a Breckenridge-based nonprofit that owns and operates four backcountry ski cabins in Summit County. She worked for both entities for more than a decade and became managing director of Summit Huts.
She was also an ultra runner who won the High Lonesome 100 ultra marathon last summer, finishing nearly two hours ahead of the second woman. Taylor is survived by her family and friends, including her longtime boyfriend and “her trusted dog and adventure buddy,” Saco, according to the Summit Daily.
A memorial and life celebration is scheduled for Thursday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Frisco Nordic Center Day Lodge. Summit Nordic encouraged attendance and is seeking photos of Taylor: “If you have any photos of Hannah you are willing to share, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to Facebook and tag Hannah.”