Mark McCarron, R.I.P.: Remembering avalanche victim for more than marijuana
On April 18, as we reported, a group of three snowboarders accessed a backcountry area near the pass called North Ptarmigan Hill. Then, at around 1:30 p.m., an enormous avalanche was triggered; it's said to have been ten feet deep and 300 feet wide. The snowboarder with McCarron was able to escape the devastation, but McCarron was swept into a stand of trees and died as a result of his injuries.
The Eagle County Sheriff's Office subsequently provided an overview of this information, but also added this: "Detectives with the Eagle County Sheriff's Office were informed that the parties involved were under the influence of Dead-Head OG (a strain of marijuana) at the time of the incident."
Brinna says this photo shows her dad "doing what he loved."
In our posts, we questioned whether this information was relevant, but most other media outlets used it to frame their coverage. Does Mike think the resulting articles and report made it seem as if marijuana caused the accident?
"That's the way it came across to a lot of people," he replies. "It didn't even make much sense when you read it. Whoever releases those kinds of statements -- talk about poor judgment and lacking common sense. To say something like that without even getting all the facts straight....
"I know it hurts my folks when they read that kind of slander," he goes on, adding, "I'm mature enough where I know that had nothing to do with it. I've been smoking weed since pretty much 1975, and I'm still here. I did a lot of rock climbing will all of our brothers" -- four total, plus two sisters -- "and lighting up was part of the whole process."
Most frustrating for him is the way the focus on marijuana pulled attention away from the Mark McCarron he knew and adored.
"He was just one of the most compassionate people you'd ever meet in your life," he says. "When he was little, he was never a cry-baby, he never threw his toys. He was just a beautiful person to watch growing up, and he had a true love for life every day. He'd do anything for anybody. I know he did a lot for me over the years.
"He was awesome, a really special kid. And that's what hurts the most about him being portrayed negatively in the news about something that had no bearing on the situation whatsoever."
Mark's funeral takes place at 11 a.m. today at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 12735 W. 58th Avenue in Arvada. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Mark McCarron Memorial Fund c/o First Bank. Click here for more details.
More from our News archive: "Mark McCarron ID'd as victim in Vail avalanche, anger over marijuana mention."