On my desk I have a quote taped there. It comes from a fortune cookie. It says, “A man’s dreams are an index to his greatness.”
I look at it every day.
My friend Adam Roberts dreamed of snow. It was his index to life. He told me how he used to stand in the rain at five in the morning and hitchhike to Mount Baker, even on the worst of days. Imagine that. He did it day after day after day, nearly 7 days a week.
Adam loved skiing.
I met Adam when he was a kid at White Pass Ski Area. At the time I was with another friend of mine, Ben and my brother Josh. Adam would follow us around and after Ben passed away whitewater kayaking, Adam had grown into an adult. We began to ski together. We’d hunt out new lines and explore the backcountry. Thousands of runs that were among the best of my life.
At those times, Adam’s energy was explosive. He would never tire. It was one of the many reasons I nicknamed him the “Adam Bomb”. Of course, if you knew Adam, you know the other reasons I called him that. Remember how messy he was? I remember on day 4 of the Isolation Traverse stopping for a drink of water on a tour and next thing I knew I looked over and he had his boots off and everything in his pack was strewn in a ten foot circumference around him. At the time, I was pissed. We’d been stuck in terrible weather in the tent for 2 days and our weather window was short. I yelled at him and he laughed and said, “What, I was hungry and my feet were wet.” I’d shrug and laugh.
He was the Adam Bomb. What could you do?
It was when I pulled Adam onto those big springtime backcountry ski adventures that I saw the light spark in him for those endeavors. He was hooked. I love spring in the Pacific Northwest because the snow is stable.
But Adam loved the powder. He had a mind that was stuck in turbo and self gratuitous in the extreme. He was a dangerous friend to have in the mountains. Over and again I’d beg him to be safer. I’d sit him down and tell him to think about the consequences.
I did that very thing one last time. We were standing behind my RV on Monday, the day before he passed. I told him to “Be safe.”
His last words to me were, “Yeah, I will.”
I jumped in my RV and drove away. And today I find out Adam has passed on. He passed on the very line we skied the day before the storm came in and dumped 2 feet of snow. It’s only a few hundred feet long, a nothing slope, but it ends in a creek. We always avoid it after new snow, because it’s the 3rd worst place to be in the backcountry around White Pass when avy conditions are high.
But like I said, Adam was always stuck in turbo. I always wondered how I could find the red button on Adam, but from the time I came to know him, his finger never lifted from the green button.
On our last ski run together he begged me to go into the backcountry, even though the lifts were closing and I was tired.
“Just one more run!” Adam begged me. In that one chair ride, he must’ve asked me 20 times. I eventually broke. I always did and he knew it.
That run would be our last turns together. They weren’t fantastic, but I had a blast. Sadly, a day later in that very same spot, it’d be his last turns, ever. He’d be buried in the very powder he idolized.
Deep down I know my last words to him were among his final thoughts and it breaks my heart. I wish he’d listened, but everyone that knew Adam knows that Adam was always ‘all in’. On those good days, it’s what made him the best guy to be around.
But today is the worst day. Adam’s no longer here. I’ll miss that enthusiasm. He always had good things to say to me. He bolstered me up when I was down. That’s what a good friend does and while Adam was flawed, I always sucked up my frustration and remembered, “It’s Adam. This is who he is.” I always gave him the benefit of the doubt because he was a loving guy. He was passionate. He was honest. He’d say, “Jason, you’re the best telemark skier I know,” even though I know I wasn’t. He was a friend.
He was the Adam Bomb.
Per the family’s request if you would like to make donations in Adam’s name, here are some options: :
1)White Pass Scholarship Fund, PO Box 495, Randle, WA 98377, for college bound students at White Pass High School
2) White Pass Ski Patrol, 48935 US Hwy 12, Naches, WA, 98937 (Bless their hearts, they had to dig Adam out)
3) www.lizrocks.com in memory of Adam’s friend, Liz Daley, raising funds to build climbing rocks in Tacoma.
Beautiful words Jason. Adam will be missed but far from forgotten.