Paul Melby Found


Paul Melby

Paul Melby, a skier missing at Crystal since March 1st, was found yesterday by an employee working on the gondola. His body was spotted in an steep, tightly treed area known as “Mine Shaft”, near the left side of Middle Ferk’s. Here’s a photo of the exact location. 


Ski Patrol Director, Paul Baugher stated that the position in which Paul’s body was found “confirms he’d fallen upside down into a tree well and suffocated. This is known as NARSID.”

A well known local expert skier, Paul Melby was last seen skiing at 2:30 p.m. on March 1st, during a major snow storm, and was reported missing later that evening. The ski patrol began searching that night and continued for the next seven days, utilizing over 130 volunteers and covering over 2000 acres of steep terrain. The snow storms continued for the next several weeks, and soon the snow depth made further searching impossible. The search was set to resume on June 25th.

While we on the ski patrol are grateful that this ordeal is over, and Paul’s family can finally have some rest, we are deeply saddened by the loss. Paul Melby was a fixture at Crystal. Not a powder day went by that Paul wasn’t there, quietly seeking out stashes of fresh snow, smiling his toothy grin and always stopping to say hello. Paul was kind, he loved to ski and he found a community who loved him at Crystal.

Since Paul went missing, his impact on our mountain has been obvious in the number of volunteers who searched for him as well as the outpouring of love and sadness for our  friend. I’m not going to say, “at least he died doing what he loved.” But he was skiing a great run. His skis were still on when he was found yesterday, which tells me that he must not have struggled much. He was still wearing his goggles.

My hope is that he just drifted away, unaware of the just how deeply he would be missed. Rest in peace, my friend.

7 responses »

  1. So sorry to hear this Kim. I’ve learned more than I ever want to know about the dangers of tree wells following your posts and the search for Paul. I didn’t even know him and I’m saddened by such a senseless loss of a great guy.
    May the powder in heaven be 1000 times better than the best day he ever skied, and the tree wells be filled with angels ready to boost him back on the right side of his skis.

  2. Kim,
    Thank you so much for all the efforts put forth by you and the rest of ski patrol (and volunteers). I am a close friend of Melby’s from his Hawaii days. Your blog has been so helpful in filling in some of my unanswered questions as well as teaching/reminding all of us how to ski safely in bounds.
    Cheers to a future of amazing winters…and may we all smile on powder days; knowing that Melby is right next to us!

  3. We are sadden by his death and reminded to live life as if each day is your last. Paul had a wonderful zest and enthusiasm for adventure. Fearless as well as kind and funny, he will be missed.

  4. Nicely put Kim! been off the grid for two weeks and just heard the news….glad we can put a check next to this one not only for us, but more importantly for his family. See you soon.

  5. I hope that Paul’s family finds some solace in knowing that Paul has been found. I know that his spirit is still on our mountain . My prayers go to all his family and friends. Judy Burkhart

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