Aspen ski instructor, artist Angus Graham remembered for passion, energy
Sister said he went to Oregon for eclipse, died in car crash
August 29, 2017
Angus Graham is being remembered as a talented, passionate artist and ski instructor who could connect with anyone he met.
The 35-year-old Carbondale resident died Friday in car crash in southwest Oregon. His car rolled off a steep embankment near Glendale, Oregon, according to the Douglas County (Ore.) Sheriff’s Office.
Graham’s sister, Kate, said he drove to Oregon from Colorado to watch the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.
She described her younger brother, whom she last spoke with Thursday, as “a man of deep, deep faith, love, light and kindness.”
Graham moved to Carbondale to become a full-time potter in the summer of 2008 upon earning his post-baccalaureate certificate from The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
He started working at Aspen Skiing Co.’s ski and snowboard schools in December 2008 and became “one of the school's highly regarded trainers and mentors,” ski and snowboard school manager Andy Docken said.
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“He worked pretty diligently to do both the skiing and the ceramics,” his sister said in a phone interview Monday. “Both were a big part of his life.”
According to Douglas County officials, a passerby called at 1 p.m. Saturday saying he found a car off the road. When authorities arrived at the scene, they were able to get down to the 2017 Subaru Outback and found Graham, who was wearing his seatbelt.
Because of the “complexity of the recovery and out of concern for responder safety” officials delayed the recovery until Sunday morning, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Officials said the Douglas County Search and Rescue’s Mountain Rescue safely removed Graham’s body Sunday.
Originally from Bethel, Maine, Graham worked at the Studio for Arts and Works in Carbondale.
Along with teaching at all four Skico mountains, he was involved with the Rocky Mountain Division of the Professional Ski Instructors of America.
“He was always willing to engage in conversations that took us further in our learning, and Angus was never shy about sharing his thoughts on growth and love,” Docken said in a statement. “He pushed his limits, both spiritually and physically in the world of ski instruction, and challenged us all to be our better selves every day.”
Friends and colleagues drew parallels between Graham’s skiing and his art, describing both as beautiful, authentic and effortless.
Studio for Arts and Works founder Alleghany Meadows said Graham “had an unending amount of excitement and energy.”
“He also had an incredible focus to try to make his work better and better,” Meadows said. “I think he approached many parts of his life with that same set of values.”
Meadows first met Graham about 12 years ago at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine.
Graham worked as Meadows’ assistant at the school, which he said is similar to Anderson Ranch Arts Center.
Kate said Meadows played “a huge part” in her brother’s decision to move out west.
“He had really strong mentors in Colorado who meant a great deal to him,” Kate said. “They were his family.”
Meadows said Graham could “relate to my 2-month-old child and to my mother, who’s 70.”
Skico photographer Jeremy Swanson, who described Graham as “the kindest, most compassionate man” he ever met, echoed that sentiment.
“He could ride on the lift with strangers, a family from Iowa, and by the time you’d get to the top, he’d be talking to them about philosophy or metaphysics,” Swanson said. “I don’t think he ever talked about the weather or the news.
“He was always wanting to get into peoples’ passions and interests, because he had those things in his life and he wanted to share his and understand other peoples’ in such a selfless way.”
Kate said the family is still working out plans for memorial services.