Steamboat Springs Jeff Young, a popular ski coach with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, died Monday while windsurfing on the Columbia River near Arlington, Ore.
Friends reported last seeing Young at about 3:30 p.m. Monday, just west of the Three Mile Canyon recreation area in western Morrow County. They didn’t realize there was a problem until Young’s board later washed ashore, prompting a call to 911 at about 6:30 p.m., according to a release from the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office.
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew found the 48-year-old’s body at about midnight after an extensive search that included the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, Columbia Intertribal Fisheries, Oregon State Police, Morrow County Health District and the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office in Washington. A U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter from Astoria, Ore., arrived at about 10 p.m. and continued the search from the air, aided with night-vision devices.
The helicopter found Young’s body about three miles downriver. The Gilliam County Medical Examiner will determine the cause and manner of death.
Young lived in Hood River for most of the year, but SSWSC Athletics Director Sarah Floyd said the Oregon man came to Steamboat Springs in the winter. He worked as a coach for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and coached several age levels in the Alpine Program in the past few years. Last winter, he coached 11- to 13-year-old racers in the club’s recreational development program.
“He was totally focused on his daughter,” said Blair Seymour, who worked with Young.
She described him as a compassionate person, a dedicated father and passionate coach.
“He was kind, quirky and intense,” Seymour said. “Jeff would never answer his phone when coaching. He drove me crazy because he was always late. But he got so wrapped up with skiing that he would simply lose track of time.”
Young’s 16-year-old daughter, Hannah, is a member of the Winter Sports Club and splits her time between Steamboat Springs High School in the winter months and Hood River Valley High School the rest of the time. Young’s wife died in 2003.
Roger Perricone, manager of competitive services at Steamboat Ski Area, said he got to know Young last winter as a volunteer with his department and through skiing.
“He was a good guy,” Perricone said. “He knew what he was doing when it came to setting up a race course, and he will certainly be missed by our crew.”
Perricone said Young’s passion for skiing and for his daughter were unmatched. He said Young was a regular at the Town Challenge race series and was part of an employee race series at the resort. Young finished second in the platinum division in the 45 to 49 age division at the 2010 NASTAR National Championships in Winter Park.