In Memory of Alec Stall

Alec Stall died Monday, February 14 doing what he loved to do, and what he loved to do he did better than most. For that his reputation will go on as an iconic symbol, showing the world that the East Coast has backcountry terrain that can rival anything found in the West, and in riding the terrain showed that the East Coast has riders among the world’s best.

Stall grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY but lived in Stowe, VT after graduating from UVM last May with a Political Science major. At UVM Stall met up with Chris James and Geoff MacDonald, among many other who loved having a good time even more than they loved skiing, luckily their two loves perfectly complimented each other. Many at UVM witnessed their progressions as skiers and filmmakers to “Meatheads” both on the mountain and on UVMtv where they displayed their pre-Meathead work.

The group started Meathead Films and has released four films to date, three of which featuring Stall. This past year the released “Epoch,” that displayed the meatheads pushing the limits on the most challenging terrain the East Coast has to offer. Stall, as with the rest of the Meatheads, was an expert skier in that his knowledge of the mountain matched his skill. Until the week of the incident Mount Mansfield and the rest of Vermont’s northern mountains have had an uncharacteristically low amount of snowfall.

The day that Stall and his friends went to explore the chute was (the first they were able to do so because of scarce snow cover) one of the first all year where they would find good enough cover to do so. At the time of the incident Stall was being filmed by MacDonald and photographed by James. They had traversed 2 and half hours from the main resort area at Stowe to the head of a remote chute high above Smugglers’ Notch. The chute they hiked to was comparatively short, about 150 yards long, and 10 to 30 feet wide.

The group tested the snow for stability before setting up to ski and film. As reported by the Burlington Free Press Stall told his friend James while standing at the top of the chute, “Get down there and get ready, I am going to make some great turns.” James climbed down the chute to take photos of Stall as MacDonald took a higher position to film Stall as he skied down, followed by the forth member of the group and fellow Meathead, Kristian Geissler.

Stall went down the shoot taking stylish skillful turns, turns that MacDonald described to the Free Press as being, “Some of the best he’s ever made.” At the bottom of the chute it all went wrong, he might have caught an edge loosing his balance. Above him a slab of snow loosened and came down the sweeping him off the cliff at the end of the chute. He fell roughly 30 feet off the cliff. His friends rushed down the cliffs to Vermont 108. James rushed to Stowe for help while MacDonald and Geissler searched for their friend. After a few unsuccessful attempts to locate him, they found him laying dead at the bottom of the cliff. He died from the injuries from the fall.

Stall will be remembered for much more than his love of skiing. He was a great person who lit up every room he walked into. He was described in Skiing Magazine as being, “sweet-faced, impeccably polite 22-year-old for whom silence is anathema.” Many people in the UVM community have lost a good friend, who will not be soon forgotten.