Obituary: Aaron McLean-Foreman

Ski instructor pioneered freeride tuition and made backcountry adventure film. Picture: contributed

Ski instructor pioneered freeride tuition and made backcountry adventure film. Picture: contributed

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SKI instructor pioneered freeride tuition and made backcountry adventure film

Aaron McLean-Foreman, ski instructor.

Died: 10 March, 2016, in La Rosière , France, aged 26.

Tributes have been paid to ski coach Aaron McLean-Foreman who died in La Rosière. Aaron was particularly well known as a highly experienced ski instructor and, despite leaving us at such a young age, will remain a significant influence within the British ski and outdoor community and to all those who knew him well.

On Thursday 10 March, he was coaching a group of advanced teenage skiers ahead of a freeride competition in the French resort of La Rosière when he fell and sustained a fatal head injury. Help was quick to the scene but he never regained consciousness. Many will find comfort in the knowledge his passing was quick and without suffering, doing what he loved so much.

Aaron grew up in Edinburgh where he trained at Hillend and went to the Royal High School. His early life passion for downhill mountain biking took him to Bellingham, USA for his last year at school – a year of outdoor adventure, new friends, American kindness and a deep appreciation and love for Scotland.

On returning to Scotland he completed the TI course with Abernethy and his chosen path as a ski and outdoor instructor began in earnest. He trained as a BASI Level 4 ISTD instructor and taught in Saas Fee and Verbier in Switzerland, Treble Cone in New Zealand and more recently in Avoriaz in The Portes du Soleil in France.

He co-founded British Freeride, an organisation that specialises in freeride coaching, events and media and he created the junior freeride coaching pathway within Snowsports Scotland.

Aaron competed on the Freeride World Tour as Aaron McLean-Foreman. In May 2015 he was instrumental in the conception and execution of ‘LATE’ – a ski and snowboard film documenting an amazing adventure exploring and studying the beautiful Scottish backcountry.

Above all, however, Aaron will be remembered as; a man with a passion for adventure, a highly dedicated coach and a natural encourager of others.

One friend, George Treble, said: “His daily kindness, gentle nature and ‘stoke’ was infectious and has spread far and wide.

“The outpouring of love and memories for Aaron has been truly amazing and his legacy will live on as the influence and inspiration he has given to so many people.”

Another friend and fellow ski instructor, Mark McKellar, said: “It is with a heavy heart that I have to share the incredibly sad news that my very close friend Aaron McLean was taken from us in a tragic skiing accident. He was with a group of young advanced skiers coaching them for a freeride competition, doing what he loved, living life to the full.

“We are incredibly shocked and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and of course Amy. Let’s raise a wee dram of whisky to this much loved soul and friend of ours and remember the incredible times we were lucky enough to have shared with him. You’ll be forever in our hearts and especially with us in the mountains.”

Snowsport Scotland said in a statement: “Aaron, a talented backcountry skier, coach, and man of great enthusiasm and infectious energy was immensely instrumental in the formation of British Freeride last year; the organisation that has created our Junior Freeride Coaching Pathway. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family and close friends and we hope his legacy will live on through the continued activity of British Freeride.”

Snowsport England added: “We are truly saddened to hear of the death of Aaron McLean. Aaron was one of the top freeskiers in the UK and coach to many of the UK’s top junior freeriders, who he was coaching at the time of the accident. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to Aaron’s family and friends”.

Aaron is survived by his partner, Amy Marwick, his parents, Fiona and Ewan McLean-Foreman, his brothers Jack and Colin, his sister Rachel and his grandfather Alexander Wilkie. Together with Aaron’s wider family and Amy’s parents, Sue and Mike Marwick, they extend their heartfelt thanks for the warmth, love, kindness and practical help that they have received.

A Celebration Gathering is being held at the former Lothianburn Golf Club on 15 April from 1pm, with a short service at 2.30pm. Further details: 0131 476 5500 (office hours). All are welcome.

EWAN MCLEAN-FOREMAN

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