Aspen (Colo.) High School’s teams are called the Skiers. It’s at least a touch crushing then that one of the school’s most beloved coaches was killed Saturday when he prepared for a backcountry skiing race.
As reported by the Aspen Times, Michael Goerne, the 37-year-old founder and head coach of the Aspen High boys lacrosse team, was killed when he was trapped under an avalanche on Saturday as he trained for the Grand Traverse backcountry ski race. He died alongside another lacrosse coach, 27-year-old Owen Green.
Goerne founded the Aspen lacrosse program as a club team, transitioned it to a varsity sport and even led the team to a state title in 2015.
The pair were killed while on a training ski trek at an area near Crested Butte. Both bodies were recovered within hours of the avalanche, and tributes to bth flooded in after they were found.
“It is a huge loss for our school, for our lacrosse team, for really the community, and not just Aspen, but the whole Roaring Fork Valley,” Aspen High School athletic director Martha Richards told the Times. “Mike and Owen both touched so many kids.”
It’s unknown who will take on Goerne’s leadership role with Aspen lacrosse in his stead. What is certain is that his shoes won’t be easy to fill.