Death is the most demanding and difficult subject for me to write about. It is also the most revealing.
Everyone deals with death differently; that's the only constant between these stories. When a source brings you inside his world of despair and healing, of contemplation and growth, you are essentially given a window into his soul at its most vulnerable time. It may not sell like a bikini, but to me there is no more interesting moment of truth.
I bring all this up because a story I reported this summer and fall was published yesterday on ESPN.com, detailing how big-mountain freeskiing savant Ian Borgeson, 20, has overcome the death of his father to earn a place among the world's elite competitors. His father Leif, the snow-safety director at Arapahoe Basin ski area, was Ian's hero and biggest fan. He suffered a fatal heart attack just a few feet from Ian while they climbed Highland Bowl at Aspen Highlands in 2011. Losing Leif crushed Ian and his family. But the way Ian has responded in the nearly three years since then has shaped him, and comprises the meat of the story.
The package (a video and photo gallery are included) spent today on Page 1 of ESPN.com. Here is a link: