Body of Arapahoe Basin ski patroller coming home after fatal crash last March in Switzerland
September 1, 2016
EAGLE COUNTY — Harrison Fast lived up to his name, right to the end.
Harrison Fast, 28 — a local para-sailer, speed flyer as well as an Arapahoe Basin Ski Area ski patroller — went missing March 26 when he and some friends were speed flying off Switzerland's Jungfrau mountain — pronounced "Young Frau" — an 11,333-foot peak. Speed flying involves flying a small fabric wing down a steep slope at speeds up to 75 mph.
When winter storms blew in, not all of his friends were able to land in the designated landing zone. Late that afternoon, Swiss rescue helicopters located some of the crew, but not him. A storm blanketed the areas in new snow, grounding helicopters. Ground crews searched for days.
A few from the group were able to ski/hike out, while two others were rescued by helicopter as the storm worsened.
“I’m thankful. This has been so difficult for our family.”Suzanne FastSister of Harrison Fast
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Fast was not among those rescued.
Last Thursday, however, Swiss search and rescue crews found his remains while conducting another search on the nearby Eiger. His identity was confirmed through DNA testing, the family said.
Looking for a sign
Fast's sister Suzanne Fast, a teacher at June Creek Elementary School, was hiking down Beaver Creek last Thursday with a friend and remembered saying, "If Harrison could just give us a sign …"
When she returned home, she got the call.
"I'm thankful. This has been so difficult for our family," Suzanne said.
The real deal
Harrison Fast earned bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado. He owned several patents and was working on several more.
"If you ever had a problem he would figure out a way to fix it," Suzanne said.
He worked with RealD, a Boulder-based company growing along with the 3D entertainment industry. When they celebrated his fascinating life, RealD renamed their theater after him.
During the search, RealD put everything else on hold and sifted through massive amounts of drone footage looking for clues until the search-and-rescue crew found him, near where two others crashed that day.
"The family of Harrison Fast is relieved, yet deeply saddened, to announce the discovery of his remains on the top of Jungfraujoch," the family said in an announcement.
Fast's father, John Fast, is traveling to Switzerland to collect his son's remains and belongings. While he's there, he'll personally thank the search-and-rescue team for their diligent efforts, the family said.
"We thank them for their unending support of the family's efforts to find him in those early days, as well as their efforts to recover his remains now," the family said.
The family also thanked the U.S. Embassy and all those who volunteered time, expertise and finances to assist the family's own search.
"Remember, as Harrison reminds us, the summit is just the beginning," the family said.
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