Gabriel Wright died Feb. 25, 2018, in a snowboarding accident in Telluride.

A legendary backcountry snowboarder, he was interconnected with the mountains and the life he created with his beloved wife Stacey and daughter Anna. If life is measured by how its days are filled, Gabriel lived life to overflowing, and died in rich intimacy with those he loved and the place he made home. His grace, style, exuberant smile, and contagious excitement brought joy to many.

He was born with an intrepid spirit on Jan. 2, 1971, in Tucson, Ariz. One-year-old Gabriel would climb the highest slide in the playground. At 5, he moved to Bethel, Alaska, where his teacher shared that he was her all-time favorite student. Gabriel moved to Maine for the middle years, and at 11 danced across the Knife's Edge Trail on Mount Katahdin.

Gabriel took the first opportunity to journey onward, attending Forman School in Litchfield, Conn., and then Tulane University in New Orleans, where his extracurricular life enchanted him so deeply that he was invited to take a pause in his studies. Days after his 19th birthday, Gabriel drove to Telluride and never looked back.

He and Stacey, his treasured wife of 20 years, and their cherished daughter, Anna, carved out a life that was a work of art.

Over five summers, Gabriel and Stacey embarked on a statement of their values by building their "cob" house, a natural building made from water, clay, and straw. With the help of their community, Gabriel salvaged discarded materials from local renovation projects, collected deadfall timber, dug clay, purchased straw from local farmers, and in his straw hat and bare feet, created magic to form a home. It was the first cob house in the U.S. to receive a certificate of occupancy. Gabriel's strong ecological sense of living in conformity with the earth informed his life. He walked the walk, and believed in no credit cards and no debt.

Gabriel approached everything with joy and intensity. When he arrived in Telluride, snowboarding was evolving and sushi had not arrived. He would fall in love with both and put his stamp on each.

Apprenticing with Honga Im at Honga's restaurants, he developed respect and expertise in the kitchen and then as a sushi chef. When traveling anywhere in the world, he would wake in the middle of the night to find the local fish markets. He delighted in cooking as an expression of love, especially for his family. In concert with his love of food, Gabriel spent a decade of winter seasons working in the snowboard shop at Telluride Sports. There he shared his enthusiasm for all winter sports and delighted in sharing his knowledge of appropriate winter gear.

If spending time in the outdoors is good for the soul, then Gabriel had heaven on earth. He was a gifted, passionate, dedicated snowboarder and lived in rhythm with the seasons and the earth.

Reporting on his death, the Denver ABC affiliate said, "Wright was among the snowboarding pioneers in the backcountry surrounding Telluride, and he was the first to ride several new lines in the area, including several near Bear Creek and Wasatch Peak."

The Telluride Daily Planet on Feb. 26, 2018, wrote, "Wright, of Sawpit, was a supremely talented rider renowned for his prowess in the backcountry. He was featured in Snowboarder Journal and appeared in the Soulstice Films release "Detours," which documented the ski-bum lifestyle in Telluride and other mountain towns. Wright made the first snowboard descent, as well as the first unaided descent (no rope, no rappel), of the Little Wasatch Face by way of Oblivion Bowl."

Gabriel had a bright, radiant presence aptly described by coworker and fellow backcountry enthusiast Steve Fiduccia as "a Roman candle in a sea of sparklers." There was a time when it was common to see his snowboarding photos on the covers of the local Telluride magazines and newspapers.

During the last five years of his life, Gabriel also was a ranch hand on the Lizard Head Ranch, working to care for the land and elated by the view from his outdoor mountain "office."

Gabriel was smart, tenacious, and skilled at whatever he tried, yet always humble and encouraging to others, including the pets that picked him out. His nature was one of goodness, determination, and fearlessness. His enthusiasm for life was true.

Gabriel was predeceased by his father, Bill Wright, a former Rico, Colo., resident.

Gabriel is survived by his wife and daughter, Stacey and Anna Wright of Sawpit, Colo.; his mother, Patricia Harrington, and his stepfather Michael Bell, of Portland, Maine; his sister, Carmen Bell, and the Treadwell family, of Crested Butte, Colo.; his brother, Jim Hovde, and family of Salinas, Calif. and Sparks, Nev; loving aunts, uncles and cousins; and a community of loving friends.

On March 4, 2018, the Telluride Elks Lodge hosted an overflow gathering of friends and family who shared delectable food and hundreds of photos and stories honoring Gabriel's extraordinary life.

His family cannot express enough gratitude for the loving community which embraced and supported Gabriel and continues to do so.