Hootman remembered as quiet, comical | VailDaily.com

Hootman remembered as quiet, comical

Ryan Slabaugh

The Colorado State Patrol said alcohol and speed weren’t suspected to be involved, leaving the reasons for his death that much more ambiguous.

His teachers, coaches and friends all remember Skylar as a quiet, intelligent athlete with a sly wit who could say something funny, under his breath, with so much depth it could sometimes take half an hour for them to get the joke.

He could make anyone laugh, just by breaking out of his normal, thoughtful silence.

“Skylar was a very intelligent and smart kid,” said Cappie Green, his Eagle Valley ski racing coach and family friend for almost a decade. “Straight A student, always has been. He had a really quick sense of humor. A lot of times people didn’t get him. Skylar didn’t talk a lot, he was kind of quiet. But there’d be times where he’d say something and start laughing, and we’d wonder what he was laughing about. We’d eventually understand what he said.”

Skylar’s first passion was baseball and it was fitting that he would be a catcher, the one person on the field facing the opposite direction. From there, he directed the team or later, when the team was in a bind, he’d hop on the mound to pitch a few innings.

“He’s going to be missed, just because he contributed so much,” his high school baseball coach, Robert Ellsworth said.

Skylar discovered ski racing soon after, and modeled his style after good friend and teammate Travis Hansbarger. Hansbarger and Laura Sandoval were riding in the car with Skylar on Saturday, on their way to dinner before Homecoming.

Friends recalled that Hootman would sit on the long bus rides, observing his teammates, waiting for the chance to prove his philosophy on life.

“If we wanted to go cliff jumping, he’d always be the first to be in on it,” said his friend, Ryan Barkman, captain of the ski racing team in 2001 and Eagle Valley graduate. “He was a kid who would say things out of nowhere. We’d be having a conversation, and he’d say things that were the opposite of the conversation. It was just like him. It was a good quality.”

Randy Cook, who monitored study hall and coached Skylar in golf this fall, would watch him study for AP English, AP Science, anything that would give him a challenge. On the course, he was one year away from being the team leader.

“He was active at all of our sports. He was always around school,” said Eagle Valley athletic director Dave Scott. “He was happy go lucky and never gave up on anything. His size, well, he wasn’t the biggest kid. But he always kept at it.”

Skylar, it seems, could do anything if he set his mind to it. His younger brother, C.J., a kindergartner at Red Hill Elementary School, his parents, Susan and Chris, his friends, classmates and coaches will surely attest to that. Even the day after his death, his buddies still laugh at the memory of Skylar, his mind a whirlwind of comedy, sitting as quiet as a cloud, waiting to burst with a thought nobody else in the world could create.

“Skylar was a good teammate,” Barkman said, mustering a single laugh. “He was very good for his friends. It’s too bad we couldn’t be there for him now.”

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