Drew Hyde was a mountain biker, backcountry skier and adventurer who loved everything the outdoors had to offer.
“He pushed you to your limits, for sure, and that’s why I loved him,” Hyde’s longtime friend Eddie Briones said. “He entered your soul.”
He was also the son of Thomas and Susan, brother of Peter and Matthew, and friend to many people in the community he loved. Hyde, 49, died after being caught in an avalanche near the North Fork of the Fish Creek drainage on Saturday March 19.
“Drew lived his life simply and to the full. Hanging out with his friends was what he loved to do,” his girlfriend, Julie Grady, said. “He was very outgoing. Drew was best friends with so many people in this community.
Hyde also enjoyed hosting “Thirsty Thursday” barbecues at his home in the Fairview subdivision, where all his friends would gather to hang out together, drink beer, talk about the good old days, and plan new adventures.
“Drew was passionate about everything he did – skiing first and foremost – rafting, mountain biking and hiking were his favorites,” Grady said. “He had a heart of gold, and he always told you exactly what he was thinking… He was always there when you needed him and always there to pick you up if you were down.”
It’s no surprise that Grady first encountered Hyde on the rolling waters of the Yampa River in 2013 while learning to kayak.
“Our first experience together was kayaking the Yampa Town open-water stretch in May as first-time kayakers with friends,” Grady said.
The two had been friends for several years before their friendship turned into a relationship. Grady said Hyde was still learning about the outdoors and they had taken a wilderness first aid course, an avalanche rescue course and a swift water rescue course together.
She plans to start a backcountry education fund in his honor.
“Drew was the best adventure partner anyone could ask for. We’ve skied tons of backcountry here in Colorado together. His favorite ski area was Alta, Utah,” Grady said. ‘ve been so lucky to spend a week in Canada with him on Rogers Pass and Revelstoke, floating down rivers, mountain biking everywhere and sharing many days of hiking together.
She said Hyde also loves the Wind River Mountain Range and hopes to return to the area this summer to pay her respects.
Hyde’s passion for skiing, the outdoors and adventure marked Kyle Lawton, who saw his friend being very calculating and conservative when heading into the backcountry.
“Really, for me, it was his passion for skiing and sports and his sarcasm with life,” Lawton said when asked what he liked about Hyde. “I loved how the banter always went down between us.”
His friends agreed that banter was a big part of Hyde’s personality.
“He pushed buttons when he first met you, and if you didn’t pass that test, you were pretty much by the wayside,” Briones said. “But if you passed his test and pushed his buttons, then he automatically liked you…and if he liked you, he took you under his wing and was there with advice whether you liked it or not. He shared his life with you.
That could mean sharing a beer at Mountain Tap, Storm Peak or the Barley, or it could mean taking a trip into the backcountry on skis or mountain bike. Hyde also enjoyed spending time on the river and fly-fishing.
“It was always a love-hate relationship with Drew. One moment you just wanted to hug him, then the next moment you wanted to trip him in the damn river,” said Erik Feeley, a friend and fishing buddy.” It’s hard to explain, but he’s the guy who would take his shirt off and give it to you when you needed it. He was there whenever you needed help, and he was a good soul and full of adventure.
Hyde worked for Feeley, laying tiles for several years before buying the business seven years ago. Feeley enjoyed fishing with Hyde because, according to Feeley, it was the one thing they could do together where he could actually help his friend, rather than the other way around.
“(Hyde) had those big Shrek fingers, so he couldn’t tie a fly,” Feeley said. “I loved being on the river with him. Skiing was his passion, but the river really brought him and me together. It was a happy place for us, and I will miss those days.
Hyde’s sense of adventure sparked his friendship with Laraine Martin, who met Hyde through mutual friends when she first got into ski touring.
“He was one of those guys,” Martin said. “He had the snowmobiles, he had the experience and he had these connected friendships.”
Hyde encouraged her and taught her the sport.
“That’s where you do a lot of your learning and where you make a lot of that progression in this sport,” Martin said. “You’re not going to learn it from a book; you’re not going to learn it on the internet. You need people who already have those connections and connections, and he was one of those people.
Martin has been the manager of Routt County Riders for three years. She said Hyde was already involved with the organization when he arrived.
“He was active as a volunteer and supporter of the Routt County Riders for years,” Martin said. “He told me that he thought it was crucial to be someone who was involved in these outer systems and trail networks. He gave back to the RCR with the sweat from his back and by contributing financially.
She also said that Hyde was involved in the things that mattered to him.
“He just made it part of his whole philosophy — a philosophy of not being a passive participant, but of being an active participant,” Martin said. “He would walk into Mountain Tap for a beer and strike up conversations with me about new trail projects, and he wanted to know all about it. He was just deeply, deeply involved in these things.
Hyde grew up in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he and his older brother, Peter, and younger brother, Matthew, led active lives.
“We grew up in the same neighborhood as Drew in a little town called Williamstown with probably 7,000 people,” Hyde’s childhood friend Ryan Lapidus said. “We grew up together playing whiffle ball, street hockey and doing cheekbone fights.”
Lapidus said Hyde and Hyde’s brothers were part of his extended family, and he still remembers the days spent at Jiminy Peak, a small ski area near where they all grew up.
Hyde attended Holderness School and Denison University, where he earned a degree in English and played football before heading west and eventually landing in Steamboat in 1995.
He left for a few years in the late 1990s, living in Denver and Boulder, where he worked for Pearl Izumi and Freeskier magazine.
“He basically left to get some real, quote-unquote work,” Briones said. “We knew he would always come back.”
Hyde returned, and he made good friends and lasting relationships. On Saturday, March 26, all these people and his brothers came together to celebrate the man they came to love.
“Drew had a sort of outward personality that matched who he was as an East Coast dude with the rough hands, rough speech and all that, but, like, underneath, Drew was so sweet,” said said Martin. . “I can’t think of many other people who are at this level of being willing to share and be so generous with their time and equipment. In the end, it turned out that it really wasn’t that salty after all. I think underneath was a lot more sugar than salt.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.