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Community event planned to honor Millcreek Canyon avalanche victims

Posted at 5:46 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 14:44:29-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The friends and families of Saturday's avalanche victims are planning a community event to commemorate their lives and legacies.

WATCH: Friends remember local skiers killed in Millcreek backcountry slide

"All four of them lived life to the fullest," said Anthony Nocella, a friend and coworker of 26-year-old Louis Holian who died in the avalanche. "I think we can just strive to do how they lived their lives."

Nocella said Holian, like the other victims, was passionate about the outdoors and felt at home when hiking, biking or skiing in Utah's wilderness.

"He was a friend to everybody he knew," Nocella said. "He wanted to be in the outdoors. He didn't want to be behind a TV... eating Cheetos or whatever. He probably would, but he would probably be eating Cheetos while, like, climbing down a mountain."

READ: Avalanche victims' bodies recovered from Millcreek Canyon

Holian was very close to 23-year-old Thomas Steinbrecher, who also died in the avalanche. To celebrate their friendship, and the lives of all the victims, Nocella and others are planning a community remembrance filled with biking and skiing.

"I think if they were here, they would probably be on a Sunday out in the woods loving the wild," Nocella said. "Biking or running or skiing, just being out there and protecting it."

"It's supposed to be a day of just remembering all of the positive things that they brought," said Veronika Wallker, Steinbrecher's girlfriend. "I would encourage people to blast 'Mambo No. 5' when they're there. That was Tom and Louis's favorite song."

The event will start at 7 a.m. Sunday morning at The Gear Room, located at 3422 Fort Union Blvd., near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

"With a bike ride from The Gear Room up to Tom's Hill, which is where Tom and Louis loved to ski," Walker added.

It will then move to Hangar 15, a bicycle shop in Millcreek where Holian worked, located at 3969 Wasatch Blvd.

"It's an open event where people can, from The Gear Room, bike all the way down the Wasatch and then come to the Hangar 15," Nocella said. "And just talk about some moments with Sarah and Tom and Louis and Stephanie."

Both Nocella and Walker want to celebrate Holian and Steinbrecher's close friendship, and the positive influence they had on everyone they met.

"They were goofy, wild-loving, nature-loving, highly-skilled outdoors people," Nocella added. "That's who they were. They lived life."

The organizers encourage anyone who knew the victims of Saturday's avalanche to come share stories of their life and have an opportunity to connect with each other.

Link to event details