‘He always had a smile and a high-five’
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Joe Timlin loved snowboarding – and people in the sport loved him.
Timlin, 32, died April 20 in an avalanche near Loveland Pass, along with dear friend Chris Peters and Ryan Novack, Ian Lamphere, Rick Gauke.
Monday, Timlin’s home in Gypsum was filled with friends and relatives. As people talked about Timlin, “love” was mentioned, a lot: Love for his sport, his job, and, particularly, his wife, Krissy Sprinkle-Timlin. As much as Timlin loved snowboarding, he loved Krissy that much more.
“He told me I was his driving force – that every step he took was for me,” Krissy said .
And Timlin was taking some big steps in the snowboarding business. He fell in love with the sport in high school, in the 1990s. He started working in a Gart Sports (now Sports Authority) rental shop at 16, and quickly learned as much as he possibly could about the sport.
It was working as a technician that he met Krissy’s sister, Megan Pischke and her husband, David Porchern, both professional snowboarders. They helped him land his current job as a regional sales manager for Nidecker US, the Swiss company that distributes YES and Jones snowboards, along with other brands.
Pischke was impressed with Timlin’s spirit, and his knowledge about the sport.
“I called him my snow geek,” she said. “He always knew about snow temperatures, and what waxes to use.”
Josh Clements, an account manager for Nidecker US, said Timlin knew snowboards literally from the inside out.
“Joe knew how to talk the talk – he had a real great understanding of the equipment,” Clements said.
Beyond that, though, was his passion for the sport, which he tried to share with anyone he talked to.
“We called him ‘durable’ at the shop,” friend Mike Crabb said. “If there was powder, he’d want you out there every day – he always found time to ride.”
Greg Ladow and Timlin were fast friends from their high school years and have been “joined at the hip” ever since. Ladow said most people don’t know Timlin was an outstanding high school hockey player – until he discovered snowboarding.
“He’s been picking out my gear ever since,” Ladow said.
That passion for snowboarding was infused with a huge shot of joy.
“He was always there with a big smile and a high-five,” friend Rob Bak said.
Timlin and Bak got to the Vail Valley about the same time, Bak said, adding he couldn’t really remember meeting Timlin for the first time. He was just always around, always in the in the valley’s snowboarding community.
Besides his life’s work, snowboarding also gave Timlin the love of his life. He’d met Krissy through her sister and brother-in-law. Timlin told Krissy the night they met that they’d be married someday.
Big sister Megan thought Timlin seemed “really nice,” but Krissy played hard-to-get at first.
“I’d never met someone so honest,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do.”
She was soon won over, though, and the couple was married in July of 2011. They had big plans for the future, and loved when they were able to get together with Porchern and Pischke at their home in the Northwest.
Timlin especially loved his in-laws’ daughter, Leighli, now six.
“She named her first doll JoJo,” Pischke said.
And snowboarding had some big plans for Timlin. Porchern, one of the founders of YES, said Timlin was on the road to becoming an engineer for the company.
But angles, stress loads and the data part of board design are worthless unless the boards ride well – that’s where the joy is.
That’s what was special about Timlin, Pischke said.
“In a world where so many people get concerned with money, or having things, Joe wasn’t like that,” she said. “He wanted everyone to be as excited about snowboarding as he was.”
But nothing could match the excitement Timlin had for Krissy.
“I’ll never know love like I did with him,” she said. “People go their whole lives and don’t know love like that. I’ll carry that the rest of my life.”