Dave Rosenbarger Dies in Avalanche

Skier known as "American Dave" passes away from Italian avalanche

"American" Dave Rosenbarger died in an avalanche in Italy on January 23, 2015. PHOTO: Adam Clark

“American Dave” Rosenbarger died in an avalanche in Italy on January 23, 2015. PHOTO: Adam Clark

POWDER is saddened to learn that skier Dave Rosenbarger, 38, has died in an avalanche. On January 23, 2015, Rosenbarger was skiing off the Helbronner on the Italian side of Mont Blanc when an avalanche swept him down the mountain. Details are scarce, but sources say he was skiing with three partners. They were able to dig him out of the debris and he was alive, but after being airlifted to a local hospital, Rosenbarger succumbed to his injuries.

Having spent consecutive winters in Chamonix since 2003, Rosenbarger, an Oregon native who splits time living in Tahoe City and Chamonix, picked up the nickname "American Dave" for his dedicated pursuit of fresh powder on the Mont Blanc massif. While he lived the life of an under-the-radar ski bum for many years, his stature was elevated recently as he began ticking off major ski descents around the globe. He is the subject of a profile in the February issue of POWDER, and a digital feature launched just a week ago.

We will be updating the story as facts emerge. Rosenbarger is survived by his wife, Rosanna Hughes. They had no children.

UPDATE, Friday, January 23, 4:15PM:

Patagonia released the following statement in remembrance of Rosenbarger, who was a Patagonia ski ambassador:

“He was the epitome of a pure passion skier--someone who didn't do it for the cameras or for the limelight--and was deeply committed to the sport for all of the right reasons. Dave was a calculated risk taker and a talented athlete who dedicated his life to climbing and skiing some of the most challenging lines in the world, calling Chamonix, France, his winter home. Dave is known for having an effortless style while skiing in steep and precarious places but also for his infectious glowing personality. He contributed to our Patagonia family in so many ways--he had a natural eye for product design and became one of our most articulate and valued product testers, he was beloved by fellow ambassadors, a friend to all and the catalyst for many powder-laden Chamonix adventures. Dave was one of a kind and will be deeply missed." --Josh Nielsen, Patagonia Global Marketing Director, Outdoor.

"American" Dave skiing in Chamonix, France. PHOTO: Adam Clark

“American Dave” skiing in Chamonix, France. PHOTO: Adam Clark