SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah skiing and snowboarding community reacts to the news of Erik Roner’s death Monday.
Shock and sadness are the words that Matt Crawley used after learning of Roner’s death. Crawley knew Roner, and worked alongside him from time to time.
Roner, an extreme sports athlete, died during a skydiving jump in Squaw Valley after his parachute failed to deploy properly.
A graduate from Brigham Young University, Roner first got into downhill skiing, but those who knew him say it didn’t take long for his passion to push him far beyond the ordinary.
“He wasn’t satisfied without progressing,” Crawley said. “He was always trying some variation.”
Crawley was there as Roner BASE jumped out of a tram at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort in 2007. He said it was a short time later that Roner pushed the envelope by doing winged-suit jumps, suits designed to pattern the effects of a flying squirrel.
Roner didn’t stop there. In a recent stunt, Roner tied 90 helium-inflated balloons to a lawn chair and lifted into the air. Once elevated, Roner slowly began popping the balloons with a shotgun until he was in a free fall, parachuting safely back to earth.
Roner helped pave the way for many in the industry and connected with hundreds of thousands of fans online.
“That may have been his biggest strength,” Crawley said. “Everyone of his photos had 2 or 3,000 likes. Everyone talking to him, living vicariously through him, being inspired by him, just really good stuff.”