Last week, at the annual Snowboard Test in Kaunertel, Austria, British snowboarder Keith McIntosh was tragically killed in an avalanche. Three other snowboarders – James Stentiford, Will Hughes and Tammy Esten – were riding with Keith at the time and did everything they could to rescue him, but the size and magnitude of the slide made it impossible.
Speaking from personal experience, Keith was one of the finest people on the planet. He was never without a beaming smile, and lived for snowboarding and his amazing family. As a respected instructor/coach for McNab Snowsports in Chamonix, he gave joy to many people over the years.
Our thoughts here at Whitelines are with his family, his amazing wife Melanie and his son Arren. We are all stunned, and our thoughts and wishes go out to them.
Neil McNab wrote this incredible tribute, which sums up how well loved and respected Keith was. He will be sorely sorely missed.
——————————————————————————————————————-By Neil McNab.
It is with a heavy heart and much regret that I write about the loss of one of the greatest guys I have ever known. A doting husband to Mel, a loving father to Arren and a loyal friend to all who knew him.
Tragically , Keith was caught in an Avalanche whilst riding with friends at the UK Board test in Kaunertal, Austria on the 5th May 2009.
Keith was an experienced and responsible backcountry freerider; an inspirational rider who has influenced all that he has met, coached and shared the mountain with through his natural enthusiasm, enormous talent and incredible technical knowledge.
Keith was a loyal friend, a fellow ŒMcNab Coach¹, my right hand man, who¹s determination and desire to live the life of his dreams took him and his family from the 9 to 5 routine in Scotland to the mountains and high peaks that he loved.
Keith¹s determination to live the life of his dreams was inspirational.
Starting out with Mel on a Kommunity Camp as a relative novice only a decade Ago, he fell in love with snowboarding and made it his life.
Since I first Met Keith and Mel some 10 years ago they have both inspired and motivated me to live my dreams and follow the pathway that I have chosen.
As a rider he was someone I looked up to, sometimes envied; his natural enthusiasm was infectious and his energy limitless.
And as a friend he was always there to talk to, always ready to help and always encouraging and positive.
Keith would be the person that I¹d chat to about this Norway trip when I got back to Chamonix.
Keith would be waiting to hear my news, excited about the prospect of riding new areas. Keith, I hoped, would one day join me on these voyages of discovery that we planned and talked about in the run up to the coming winter.
Keith lived to snowboard, lived to mountain bike and lived to love his family, Mel and Arren.
We have lost a great friend but we will over time learn to celebrate the life he lived. We shall find inspiration in his achievements and the determination with which he lived his life.
The loss of our great friend shows us how fragile life really is and shows us that we should not waste a minute of this precious thing that we often take for granted.
Keith will be in our hearts forever. His spirit will join me on every turn I make. He made his home in the mountains that he loved and his spirit shall soar amongst these high peaks forever.
We will all miss him terribly and our strength, thoughts and hearts will now be with Mel and Arren for eternity.
This has to be the hardest thing I have ever written. Today, at Mel¹s request, I remained in Norway and climbed and rode as Keith would have wanted me to. Dan and Jez, another two of Keith¹s closest friends, are at the moment mountain biking in Majorca – a trip which Keith would normally have joined them on. Today they rode as Keith would have wanted them to, and I know that like me they could feel him with them at every moment.
Keith will ride with us all forever.