Friends launch ‘Bring Sam Home’ fund to bring deceased snowboard instructor Sam Failla back to Chatham, NJ |

Friends launch ‘Bring Sam Home’ fund to bring deceased snowboard instructor Sam Failla back to Chatham, NJ

Sam Failla's friends have launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to bring Failla's body home to Chatham, New Jersey. Failla was found dead in the East Vail backcountry. He had been on an excursion with a friend.
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Bring Sam Home

Within hours of hearing about his death, friends of Sam Failla launched a GoFundMe page to help raise money to bring Failla’s body back to his Chatham, New Jersey home.

VAIL — Friends of a New Jersey man found dead Tuesday morning in the East Vail backcountry are raising money to bring him home.

Samuel Failla, 24, a Vail snowboard instructor, was reported missing Tuesday morning by a friend he was reportedly with during an East Vail backcountry trip Monday.

Failla was a snowboard instructor in 2016-17, and was back for another year this season, according to his social media pages.

The man with whom Failla was in the East Vail backcountry called 911 Monday night when he fell off a trail and hiked for several hours trying to work his way out. Tuesday morning after Failla did not show up, the man told the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office that he had not reported Failla missing because he had assumed Failla had made it out on his own.

Searchers from the Vail Mountain Rescue Group and Vail ski instructors quickly found Failla’s body Tuesday morning.

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A littlE about Sam Failla

Failla graduated Chatham High School in 2012 where he was a captain of the Chatham Cougar football team, friends said on their GoFundMe page Failla earned his college degree from the University of South Carolina in 2016, where he was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. Friends said his passions were snowboarding, travel, and children.

“He spent many years babysitting neighborhood children throughout his high school and college years,” friends said.

Last summer he traveled to Singapore, Thailand, Greece and other destinations. He returned to Vail in November 2017 for his second season as a snowboard instructor.

On his Linked In page, Failla said he was “a hardworking and dedicated international relations and affairs major with a business administration minor and a focus on economics. I have a passion for business and also the environment. The hope is to combine the two and forge a successful career, whether it be creating awareness for the environmental problems around us, or helping to create new programs that educate people to the dangers we face.”

Failla earned his Professional Ski Instructors of America Association (PSIAA) Level 1 Certification. According to, he worked as liaison between product specialists and clients to ensure proper placement and product selection.

He said he “worked in a team-oriented environment to instruct and assess ski ability of clients ranging in age from 2-75 years of age.” Failla is survived by his parents John and Whitney Failla, sisters Alexandria and Ellie Failla, all of Chatham New Jersey.

Bring Sam Home In lieu of flowers, friends are asking for donations to the GoFundMe link to assist the Failla family with the final costs and the creation of a foundation for under privileged kids to play the sports they love.

Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis said Failla’s cause of death will be determined following an autopsy.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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