Friends of the three skiers killed in the avalanche at Stevens Pass gathered Monday in Leavenworth, where two of the skiers lived.
“If you see some of the pictures that are floating around, the smiles that these guys, they lit up a room every time they walked in, everywhere they went,” said T.R. Revere.
Revere had known Chris Rudolph, Jim Jack and John Brenan for years. He runs the Uncle Uli Pub, where friends have been gathering.
All three were avid skiers, traveling the world to hit the best slopes.
“Everybody is jealous of how much fun those guys had,” Revere said.
Another friend of the men, Erin Dessert, was skiing with the men shortly before the avalanche struck and she quickly made her way down to try to help.
“We gave it all of our energy and all of our heart to try and make a remedy of the situation, but definitely too much snow, too much time down into the creek,” she said.
Dessert is trying to come to grips with the loss.
“They were snow soldiers who lived their lives with incredible integrity and just had amazing families and incredible support from the community because of who they were,” she said.
The woman who survived that deadly avalanche at Stevens Pass did so by using an avalanche airbag.
Skier Elyse Saugstad was wearing an “ABS Avalanche Airbag” backpack, which inflates an airbag around the upper body and lifts a person above the snow, allowing them to ride on the surface of the avalanche. She credits the device for her survival.
REI sells an airbag like that for nearly $700. A ripcord on the right shoulder strip deploys the airbag.
Avalanche danger remains high in the Cascades after four people were killed over the weekend in two separate incidents. One of those happened in the Alpental ski area at The Summit at Snoqualmie.
Karl Milanoski was killed there when an avalanche swept him over a cliff.
Milanoski, 41, was a father and avid outdoorsman and snowboarder who was with friends Sunday when the avalanche occurred.
Milanoski, like the expert skiers who perished the same day in a different avalanche on Stevens Pass, was an experienced snowboarder who had taken up the sport when he was 8 years old.
"It's one thing to lose someone who is older, maybe up in years or maybe sick or something, but my brother was totally healthy and it's just one of those things you don't expect. He's only 41 years old," said his brother John Milanoski, of Lake Stevens.
Milanoski said his brother had a vibrant, outgoing personality and he was someone who loved the outdoors, whether it was on the water or in the snow.
"He started to go out across the snow and nobody had been out there yet that day, so it was pretty fresh,” John said. “As he got out there, it gave way and he happened to be on a cliff and the word was he fell 500, 1,000 feet and it killed him on impact."
Milanoski said his brother’s death comes on the heels of two other deaths in their family.
"We lost our grandfather back in March, then a month after that we lost our father, so now my brother. My grandmother is 93; she commented she didn't expect to outlive everybody like that."
Along with two brothers, his mother and grandmother, Karl Milanoski leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter who was the love of his life.
His family has started a memorial fund for him here.