” I want to go skidding accross the finsh line of life, leaking oil, missing parts, screaming …Geronimo!”
Bill McCollum- Ski Racing Magazine.
The picture you see here is of my friend Chip Kamin. I am the one behind him with the red shirt and wool hat. We were on one of our trips skiing and camping at Tuckerman Ravine in New Hampshire. Chip not only skied and camped with us on those trips but he also hiked to the ravine next door called Huntington Ravine and went ice climbing. You see, Chip was a real adventurer. I first met Chip when he was an examiner for the Central Division of PSIA- the ski instructors organization. He and Larry Cohen and Bob Irish formed a ski school based out of Laurel Mountain in Pa., and an area that Chip owned at the time in Warren, Pa called The Buckaloons. All three of these guys introduced me to ski instruction when I was in college. Chip was a fantastic skier and very knowledgeable and a great influence on me when I began the process of certification for ski instruction through PSIA.
Chip was an amazing guy. He invited me to his screening of his climb of Ama Dablam in the Himalaya. Not only did he climb the challenging peak, but he arranged a documentary which he screened at Chatham College to a packed house. It was the first ascent of Himalayan Peak by anyone from the Explorers Club of Pittsburgh. Chip won 2 silver medals at the 2005 Senior Olympics in road cycling and was responsible for founding The Selkirk Powder Company in Schweitzer,Idaho which specializes in backcountry ski outings. Chip developed real estate very successfully in Telluride and Schweitzer and had the foresight to work with these developments long before the areas became popular among the ski and outdoor set. His background in real estate development served him well as he made a life for himself out west.
I met Chip’s wife Robin when they were dating. She was his soulmate, skiing and outdoor partner, and mother to their two very successful sons. We go back a long time. Chip used to tell me little gems that were helpful. Things like, “Pat- downtube shifters on the road bike are now dangerous. The shifting in a pace line is so fast now with the new index brake lever shifters that if you reach down to shift your downtube shifters, you may cause an accident.” I immediately went out after that and bought a bike with the new Campagnolo shifters and immediately saw the advantage and the wisdom of the tip from Chip. We constantly talked about ski equipment and the evolution of the shaped ski. Our adventures with my friend Eric Durfee and Chip’s friend Stuart up at Tuckerman Ravine were times that I will never forget. 90 MPH winds, visqueen shelter covers, freeze dried food, bottled gas cooking stoves, sunshine and sudden snow storms, are memories that are etched im my brain forever. Chip was a part of my life. I will forever be in his debt for all of the comraderie and all of the information from a true explorer.
In recent years with family obligations, I didn’t get to ski and ride with Chip as much but every time I saw him on the hill or at the North Park lot, we had a lot of laughs and I enjoyed riding with him whenever I could. The guy was a true Renaissance man in every sense of the word. Strong, athletic, bright- he was the first guy I ever saw use a Garmin device to plot a ride and download the results on his computer. Chip was in the prime of his athletic and entrepreneurial life when he was suddenly taken out with a cardiac arrest last Friday. He passed quietly on Monday of this week and we all are shocked. How could a guy with this much verve and fitness be taken out by a heart attack? Chip was 62 and looked and acted like a guy half that age. I will miss him and so will all of the active community in Pittsburgh, Telluride, and Sandpoint, Idaho.
We all wonder why? God’s ways are not our ways and we do not know the hour of the timing of His plans. The Bible says that ” He knew you in your mother’s womb.” I believe the good Lord knew exactly what he was doing when He created Chip. I also believe that He knew full well what He was doing when He took him. Adventurers sometimes do not age gracefully. Chip lived a life that most people never get to experience. It was full, loving with Robin and the boys, and caring with all of his friends. We will never forget him. I believe that the moment that Chip was taken, he sailed to the Great Beyond- in a winged parachute suit…………with a smile on his face………..screaming……..Geronomo!!! Thanks for reading and please remember the Kamins in your thoughts and prayers.
I first met chip when he was in his early 20`s ,just rec`d his PSIA lev 3 and he had acquired a rug covered ramp that was in the vacant showroom of Constantin Motors in East Liberty…I had to see this….That was where I met Chip teaching on the soaped covered ramp —–that worked….That was the beginning of a 40 year friendship that has lasted thru so many escapades and events….every thing we did was calculated and for the most part –thought out….there is just too much to relate at this time…and I keep thinking of everything—some day PATMC we will talk—-thanks for your blog—–Larry Cohen
A great guy- just like you Larry. Thanks for your comments.
Pat, I was at Tuckermans with you and stuart and some Dupre`es—I think there was about 12 of us –the winds were high and it was cold..we spent 2 days in sleeping bags —except for a trip down the Mtn for a case of beer…then up to the lunch rock and started the climb the next day….it was fun…we skied the “hour glass” etc….and as usual Tuckerman`swas a metter of survival…..
Great memories Larry. That place is special to me and especially with all of the people who went there.
I’m really sorry to hear about Chip. Even though I didn’t know him sounds like an amazing guy. Life is fragile and short. It’s the life to come that’s gonna be the long run. Praying for his family. You’ll get to see him again.
Amen to that Art. See you soon
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Thanks for writing this post Pat. Chip did an amazing job of motivating people to do extraordinary things. I look forward to hearing the many stories of Chip that will be shared between the friends I have been introduced to as a result of knowing Chip. Thanks – J.R.
Thanks JR He was an amazing and accomplished individual
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Sorry for the loss of your friend. From reading your blog he sounded like a great guy.
You would have liked him. Thanks for reading Todd.
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Paddy Mac, A wonderful tribute to your friend Chip. Praying for the Kamin family. Slainte, Cuz-I-L.
Thank Lynne. I always like to hear from you- my cuz and fellow writer. Chip was a good man. He will be missed.
chip was a true mans man ,my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family
So true Bill. Thx
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Just caught up with your Blog and the passing of your friend Chip. Felt like I knew him after reading your blog, if he was a friend of yours i’m sure he was a great guy. Out prayers will be with the Kamin family. Only makes me want to push life that much harder!
Thanks Bill. He was a great guy. I did a lot with him. He was strong as an ox and did everything. Thanks for reading Bill
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A great man, will be missed by many.
So true Barry. This is all so shocking. Thanks for following. On a happy note- mt bike posts begin this week.
Pat, great writing and a great tribute to Chip. I didn’t know you knew him that well. I didn’t know him very well but had done a few road and mountain rides with him over the past few years. What a guy…
Thanks John. Yes- Chip and I go way back. Great adventurer, great guy. He will be missed.