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Family and friends heartbroken after Orem skier killed in avalanche

Posted at 6:05 PM, Feb 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-20 08:41:54-05

OREM, Utah - Alex Marra, 30, grew up in Ohio but moved out to Utah to attend college at Utah Valley University. He's the youngest of five and his family is all located in Ohio, but a close friend, Shaaron Saunders lived near him in Orem.

“I’ve been a part of his life since he was born,” said Saunders.

Saunders became close friends with Stephanie Marra while she was pregnant with Alex.

"His mother has just lost her brightest and most beautiful star because I know their relationship. She said today what will I do without him," said Saunders.

"He was my rock you know," said Marra's mother Stephanie Marra via Facetime.

This past weekend, the family learned that Alex Marra died after being trapped in an avalanche while skiing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

"It’s heartbreaking.  I mean there's not going to be a day that goes by that we`re not going to all wake up missing Alex," said Stephanie Marra.

Saunders says skiing was one of Marra’s many passions.

"I felt so happy that he was doing something he adored. That gave me a lot of comfort," said Saunders.

Another was taking care of the people he loved, something he always did for Saunders.

"He knows I love him and appreciated him," said Saunders.

In fact, the last time Saunders saw Marra was Tuesday night when he took her out for Valentine’s Day dinner, something he did every year.  She wrote him a thank you card, but never got the chance to send it. In tears, Saunders read the letter out loud to Fox13’s Dora Scheidell.

"I look so forward to our 'date' and it didn't disappoint. I always value your good spirit upon my life. Thank you for being such a treasured friend. Thank you for the yum dinner, the kind reaching out to me. Love Shaaron,” said Saunders.

These are the sweet gestures that Marra was known for. A thought that brings comfort to his mom.

"I know this might sound corny but I feel like it was a privilege be with him whenever I was with him," said Stephanie Marra.

Along with his Utah family and all the people who loved him.

"I knew he had done everything, placed all his ducks in a row to be in a good place. He has no worries. It`s us who are suffering," said Saunders.

Marra was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of the many things he did was send a group text to his family and friends every day with a little scripture or an inspiring quote. He had 13 nieces and nephews and his mom says his oldest nephew will be taking on that role now.