Aspen man dies in ski crash |

Aspen man dies in ski crash

Naomi Havlen

When Aspen resident Tim Leach died this weekend, he left behind a legion of fans.

Leach, 27, is remembered by family and friends as a generous soul who knew early on what his purpose in life was, and who tried to help others find their own paths.

An avid sportsman, Leach was skiing at Snowmass on Friday afternoon when he collided with a group of trees; he was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Leach was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction where he died the following day.

“Everyone he came into contact with he touched and he cared about,” said his wife, Amy. “He wanted to get to know people and he loved being around people. It’s so hard to explain how exceptional he was.”

Leach worked as a counselor at the Aspen Counseling Center and also had a private practice in Aspen with his stepmother, Clare Leach. Counseling was something he knew he wanted to do at a very young age, Clare said.

“When he was 12 he said, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to be a therapist just like you,'” Clare said. “Tim had a calling – a gift. He knew it was his work and that makes a gifted therapist.”

On Friday, Leach had skied with friends and left them to ski down and get his pager when the accident occurred. He was on-call for the counseling center at 5 p.m.

Although it is undetermined how the accident occurred, his family emphasized that he was an expert skier who wouldn’t lose control unless he hit a patch of ice. His family theorizes the accident may have been caused by the spring snow conditions.

“He was the most in-control skier and he was always so responsive to anything thrown his way while skiing,” said Leach’s brother, Brian.

Leach was born in Charlottesville, Va., received his bachelor’s degree from University of Virginia in 1998 and his master’s in social work from Virginia Commonwealth in 2002.

He met his wife during grad school and they married in May 2001 on Grand Cayman Island. They moved to Aspen in August 2002.

“It’s a real loss for our community – people like him are among the unsung heroes of our community,” said Jeff Kremer, director of the Aspen Counseling Center. “[Counseling] is a private, confidential, subtle work, and he was a person with a lot of integrity.”

The family agreed that on the ski slopes and in life, Leach put the lives of others on par with his own.

“One of his clients told me that Tim changed her life,” Amy said. “But if she had said that to him, he would have said, ‘No honey, you changed your life, not me.’ He would never take that kind of credit for himself.”

Tim Leach is survived by his wife Amy; his brother Brian and sister-in-law Betsy; his parents William and Clare Leach, and Virginia and John Fogelgren, of Afton, Va.; grandmothers Margaret Leach and Clare Webb; and grandparents Stanley and Margaret Kenward.

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