Family of Corey Borg-Massanari announces foundation dedicated to avalanche dog funding
Corey Borg-Massanari loved dogs and he loved skiing, so it’s only fitting that a foundation created in his name will raise funds for outdoor safety with a focus on avalanche dogs.
Borg-Massanari’s life was cut way too short when he died Jan. 21, 2019, in an Albuquerque hospital from injuries sustained from an in-bounds avalanche at Taos Ski Valley just days earlier.
The Vail local, who was a fixture on the slopes, had road-tripped with some friends to Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico to explore a new mountain when the slide occurred.
The Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation is a partner fund of the Initiative Foundation.
To donate to the foundation, click here or mail a check with a memo of “Corey Borg-Massanari“ to: Initiative Foundation, 405 1st St. SE, Little Falls, MN 56345.
“Corey died doing something he loved fiercely — skiing,” said Bobbie Gorron, Corey’s mother and the advisor of the Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation. “In his memory, we will raise funds to purchase equipment and training for outdoor safety and place avalanche dogs at ski resorts around the country. These incredible animals, along with the ski patrol, work hard to keep skiers and riders safe. We credit the Taos ‘avi’ dog Izzy with finding Corey after the avalanche.”
The foundation aims to fund one avalanche dog for Taos Ski Valley in 2021, and one for Vail in 2022. Both resorts have honored him with permanent features. Taos named a run after him, “She Gone,” which is located in the Kachina Bowl. Zip Adventures in Vail, where Borg-Massanari worked, renamed his favorite zipline course, “How Was That,” in his honor.
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Borg-Massanari also worked at the Patagonia store in Vail Village, and manager Joe Smith built an Adirondack chair etched with his name and presented it at Borg-Massanari’s memorial. Now the chair is installed at the Patagonia store and all who knew and loved Corey are invited to swing by and sign it with a permanent marker.
’One of a kind’
Borg-Massanari was born September 15, 1996 in Pueblo, Colorado, but spent most of his adolescence in Brainerd, Minnesota, where he fell in love with hunting, fishing, boating, hockey, and just being outdoors. He would come to visit his father, Mark Massanari, in Colorado, during his summers off from school.
After graduation, Borg-Massanari opted to take some time off from school before moving to the Vail Valley in 2016 to live with his dad and attend Colorado Mountain College. He started working at the Patagonia store during the winter and as a guide for Zip Adventures in Wolcott during the summer. And he tried to ski every free minute he had.
“He loved Minnesota, obviously,” said Mark Massanari, Borg-Massanari’s father, in an interview with the Vail Daily in February 2019. “When he moved out here, he really enjoyed the mountains, especially for skiing. He liked to ice fish and play hockey and snowmobile. He really enjoyed winter sports out in Minnesota. Then coming out to Colorado, the skiing became his passion. In the summer, he got into mountain biking, then he got more into road biking. Then he got a dirt bike.”
While Borg-Massanari loved to travel and chase adventure, both of his parents said that he was always cautious.
“Corey is not the type that was a daredevil,” Goron said. “He didn’t just jump into stuff. He learned everything about it prior to doing it, and he would start out slow. When he was comfortable, then he’d move up a level.”
“He just always took cautions,” Mark Massanari said. “He definitely wasn’t fly by the seat of your pants. He really wanted to know things, know what he was doing.”
A lasting legacy
An anonymous donor has committed $20,000 to assist in kicking off the Corey-Borg Massanari Foundation, and another $30,000 in matching donations. Leland Thompson, Taos Ski Valley ski patroller and owner of the avalanche dog who found Corey, will be assisting the family with the avalanche dog application process.
“I’m honored to work with the Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation and keep the celebration of Corey’s life and spirit alive,” Thompson said in a release announcing the foundation’s creation. “We are humbled by the warm, cherished relationship that we have built with Corey’s brave family, albeit borne out of tragedy.”