‘She loved Vail and everything about it’ | VailDaily.com

‘She loved Vail and everything about it’

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyGolden resident Natalie Medved, left, lets go of a bouquet of balloons with letters attached Monday on Vail Mountain at the top of the Northwoods Express Lift. The balloons were released attached with notes written by friends and family in memory of Jennifer Martinez, who died on her way home to Denver from The Fray concert that was held in Vail.

VAIL ” A bunch of red and white balloons drifted into the cloudy sky above Northwoods Express Lift on Monday afternoon as a final tribute to a Colorado girl who loved being on Vail Mountain.

The balloons, tied with handwritten notes from friends and family, were released in memory of Niwot resident Jennifer Martinez, 19, who died in a car accident on the way home from Vail’s The Fray concert on Dec. 13.

Martinez died from head trauma after the car rolled near the junction of Interstate 70 and C-470. The mountains had received significant snowfall that night, and road conditions were poor.

Golden resident Natalie Medved, a friend and college lacrosse teammate of Martinez, said the red balloons were symbolic of her friend’s passion for life, and the blue balloons were for Martinez’s eyes.

The 140 notes and letters were final good-byes to Martinez, and others remembered little anecdotes and special moments with her.

“Jenny, thank you for showing me the value of life and to forgive easily,” Medved’s note read. “I’ll never forget you.”

Another, from Martinez’s neighbor, wrote that she would miss watching Martinez dig lacrosse balls out of her rosebushes.

Martinez often snowboarded in Vail, and Northwoods was one of her favorite runs.

“She loved Vail and everything about it,” Medved said. “She was trying to master snowboarding. When she started, I bragged that Northwoods was the best run with the prettiest views. We were going to meet here for our birthdays to ride.”

Friends described Martinez, a freshman and lacrosse player at St. Mary’s College of California, as easy-going, athletic, diligent student and as a devout Catholic who “loved hard and forgave easily.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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