Avalanche victims good pals
PORTAGE, Wis. — Two skiers killed in a large avalanche in Colorado were good friends from a small town in southern Wisconsin, relatives and colleagues said on Monday.
Three other skiers were hospitalized as a result of Saturday’s avalanche near Leadville. Rescue crews found the two skiers’ bodies on Sunday near Independence Pass, 80 miles southwest of Denver, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.
Robert Lentz said his son, Justin Lentz of Portage, was one of those killed in the avalanche. The 32-year-old loved to ski and started when he was 5 or 6 years old, his father said. He said his son was “a good kid” who worked as an electrician and was engaged to be married.
Another Portage man, Jarrard Law, 34, was killed. Law was an information-technology expert at the Necedah Area School District, where Superintendent Larry Gierach remembered him as an “incredible man.”
“Jarrard had great skills with people and was an integral part of our planning when it came to technology,” Gierach said. Many staff members thought of him as a friend first and as a professional second, the superintendent said.
Lentz and Law were close buddies who went skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking together, said Joey Kindred, 28.
Kindred recalled how Lentz enjoyed competing with friends with over-the-top snowboard tricks, even though he had a bad shoulder that popped out of its socket whenever he crashed.
“He’d fall down so often we’d call him Man Down,” Kindred said. “He’d laugh, get up and do it again. And when his shoulder popped out, he’d call over to his fiancee — she’s a nurse — and she’d pop it back in.”
Law was always the life of a party, but he was happiest when he was in the outdoors or spending time with friends, Kindred said.
Kindred had gone skiing and snowboarding with Lentz and Law in the past. He said the two had only skied at resorts in Colorado, so they wouldn’t have been familiar with the back country trails.