'Ski for DeSo' day in memory of resident

Justin DeSorrento was killed in car accident 5 years ago

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— Flowers are a rare sight on the February snow of DeSo's Descent.

Otherwise known as Chute 1, the run was named after Justin DeSorrento, a lover of everything outdoors in Steamboat Springs, two years ago.

Today marks the fifth anniversary of DeSorrento's death, and on this date, his older sister, Suraya DeSorrento, brings a bouquet of flowers to the top of DeSo's Descent and drops some on her way down in honor of her brother and to celebrate his life.

"This was his favorite place on Earth," said Karen DeSorrento, Justin's mother. "Every time I come over Rabbit Ears Pass and look into the valley, I think about how much he loved this place."

DeSorrento first skied in Steamboat at the age of 2. He grew to love the area's backcountry, skiing during the winter and mountain biking during the summer.

On July 17, 1997, DeSorrento was killed in an automobile accident near Buena Vista. He and some friends were on a rafting trip. He was 20 years old.

DeSorrento's parents, Jim and Karen DeSorrento, residents of Steamboat for 25 years, knew of their son's passion for the area. After his death, they discovered how truly in love he was with the place when they found his poetry.

"The Boat" now greets tourists landing, or residents returning, at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. The poem is displayed in the terminal, and in it DeSorrento shares his vision of Steamboat.

"Groves of spaced aspens and powerful pines, the tree skiing is the best in the world and seemingly all mine ..." the poem reads. "I can't get enough of carvin' at this place, I'd take a day here over a walk in space."

After DeSorrento's death, his parents and sister formed The DeSo Foundation in an attempt to "seek and select people and projects that best represent the personal characteristics and interests readily associated with Justin ..." the mission statement reads.

In Steamboat alone, The DeSo Foundation helped build the Justin Andrew DeSorrento Sports Medicine Center at Yampa Valley Medical Center, which services all of Northwest Colorado.

In the past, the foundation has also sponsored a helicopter-training seminar through Routt County Search and Rescue.

And for the fifth year, in conjunction with today's "Ski for DeSo" day, The DeSo Foundation will be making a contribution to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. As one of its community services, the YVCF provides local high school students with college scholarships.

A tent will be up all day in Gondola Square where people can stop by and speak with the family and even pick up a ticket for the Kip Attaway Show at 4 p.m. at the Bear River Bar and Grill.

Attaway is a longtime Steamboat entertainer and musician. Admission is $10 and participants must be 21 to attend.

For more information on The DeSo Foundation, call Suraya DeSorrento at (303) 417-1010 or write The DeSo Foundation at 2265 Bluebell Ave., Boulder, Colo., 80302.

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