Saying Goodbye to A Friend – Duncan Mackenzie

by Lacy Kemp on Dec.31/11

It’s been a tough day for people in the B.C and Pacific Northwest bike community. Yesterday afternoon we lost one of our amazing riders to an avalanche outside of Pemberton. Duncan Mackenzie was 30 years old and an avid skier. He worked as a senior ski patrol at Whistler and was with other very experienced outdoorsmen when the accident occurred while ski touring. To most people Duncan was more than a skier and rider. He was a coach, mentor, competitor, and an amazing trail builder. But, most of all, he was a great friend. I dubbed Duncan the Prom King of Whistler. Every local knew him, and everyone liked him. He had an infectious smile that would light up the grayest of days. It was hard to walk through the village with Duncan and get anywhere swiftly because he would be stopped every 30 feet by someone who wanted to say hello.

I first met Duncan several years ago in Whistler while taking a camp. He was my coach and we had so much fun riding together that we stayed very good friends long after the lessons were over. Knowing Duncan meant knowing a part of Whistler’s soul. During the summer months he worked as a trail builder under the moniker D-Mac Trails. He’s built trails all throughout British Columbia, with his precise and skillful hands. If you’ve ridden Whistler, chances are you’ve been lucky enough to experience a D-Mac creation. Duncan loved woodwork and tight singletrack. His riding style was technical and calculated. He had the endurance of an Iron Man, exhibited by his strong finish in the B.C. Bike Race.

Duncan’s entire life was dedicated to keeping other people safe. From coaching technical safety skills on bikes to his long days as a patroller he made sure people were always in the best hands. Known for his great sense of humor, he often brought comedy to a stressful situation. I know from first-hand experience when he scooped me up after I piled it off the GLC drop a few years ago. Never had I laughed so much while in so much pain. That’s a true gift that not many people have. With Duncan, it came as easy as breathing. The fact that Duncan spent so much time and energy helping other people makes this situation even more difficult. He was a hero to many. He was a hero to me.

Rest in peace, Duncan. Your absence is excruciating to everyone who knew you. We know you’re in a better place with endless pow fields and perfect berms, but we wish we could have had a little more time with you. No matter where you are keep lighting up the world with that smile. We’ll see you on the flip side.



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