Family, friends, outdoor community pay tribute to Millcreek avalanche victims

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MILLCREEK — Dozens of people — including friends, family, and community members — gathered to pay tribute to two of the four skiers killed in last week's deadly avalanche in Millcreek Canyon.

Memorial services were held for some of the victims, including a celebration of life on Sunday for Louis Holian and Tom Steinbrecher.

Not even the icy roads could stop them from finishing the last leg of a ride for one of their own.

"He touched hundreds of people," Mike Hanseen said of his friend, Louis Holian. "He was a very good person."

Holian, 26, could be seen working at Hangar 15 Bicycles in Millcreek. Co-workers were his family and customers became his friends.

"He would answer the phone, 'Hangar 15, this is Ashley,' and we get people calling for Ashley still," said Hanseen.

It was this bizarre, weird, funny humor, and that's how Louis was all the time.

But this week, the store grew silent without his presence.

"Overall, we're fairly quiet," said Hanseen. "It was pretty somber to say the least, and every time a customer would come in, it would break it open again and people would cry, so it's been a really hard week."

It was on Feb. 6 that Louis and seven others were wiped out by an avalanche in Millcreek Canyon's Wilson Glade Basin.

"We've had bad days," said Hanseen.

Louis was buried near two friends, including 23-year-old Thomas Louis Steinbrecher.

In total, four skiers died.

All week long, friends stopped by the shop. Slowly, flower and gifts piled up next to his bike.

"He actually bought that bike from me before he worked for me," said Mike Hanseen.

It's why his friends decided to ride for him on Sunday.

"We just wanted to share our condolences for his family and his friends," said Hanseen.

The day began with a ski ride, then participants met at the Gear Room for the bike ride. Thomas Steinbrecher's life was also celebrated there.

This Millcreek avalanche was the deadliest avalanche since 1992.


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