Remembering Sarah Burke — Elsa Hamel-Robert
Sarah was a good, pure, honest person. I think she made everyone’s lives more positive. It makes you reflect, “Do I make people’s lives better?” I want to live up to her.
People have a tendency to exaggerate about people after they pass, but everything that’s been said about Sarah is true.
A perfect day together would start with riding for half a day, hitting the bike park and having a glass of wine together. Then we would watch a movie, make dinner, laugh…
We loved to get oysters and bubbles at Bearfoot in Whistler. We were huge into that. She was an amazing baker.
She was so natural on her skis. She was always fired up for a powder day. We both had a powder day app on our phones, which wakes you up at 6 a.m. if more than 15 centimeters falls. There would be no question if we were going. She always took a few laps with Rory first. They were so fast together.
She LOVED to dance. There was not one night out that didn’t end with a dance off.
We traveled a lot together. Every trip in New York, we shopped ‘til we dropped. We backpacked through Europe for a month together. It was the ultimate trip. We finished the trip in Bordeaux and did a five-day wine tour. We loved waking up to go have a glass of wine. We wanted to go to Greece this year.
We drove Rory’s truck to try to get to some hot springs, but we couldn’t make it through the snow. We ran into some girls who were hiking in, so we grabbed some stuff from the truck, hiked and ended up camping with these strangers. She was up for anything.
She was not afraid to go play in the dirt. She’s an amazing mountain biker and surfer.
She loved being home. Because she traveled so much, she made the most of it when she was home.
She was artistic, athletic—she had it all. She was humble and modest. There were even times I didn’t know how big she was. She was positive about everything. If some- thing wasn’t going right, if she lost a comp, it wasn’t something she’d show. Even if she was devastated inside, she was always happy for other people.
I don’t know how she was positive through all of her injuries. She knew things happened for a reason. When she broke her back, she was in bed for the longest time. Sarah is so active—for her to not move for a couple weeks—she just wanted to do something. She was always really good with rehab and training to get back. She was just really positive in every situation.
She had goals and was always staying focused towards those goals. She knew being negative never helps. She was always looking at the bigger picture. She had a way of bringing a lot of people together. She made life better.
Rory and Sarah were meant to be together. When Rory saw her, he knew he was going to marry that girl. They have a lot in common. Rory is going to do 100 adventures in one day—it’s exhausting. We’d go to the house and he’d go biking, kayaking, flying. It was very intense, and she was able to do it all. They were amazing together.
Sarah and I talked every day, all day. Even when we were away, we still kept in touch. For me it’s like losing my sister. I lost half of me. It’s hard to live without her… her laugh, everything.
She was a beautiful soul. A unique person. She would want to be remembered as an athlete and what she fought for in the sport. And for how amazing a friend she was. Just her.
It’s incredible how much she was able to make time for people in her busy schedule. Even if she was tired or jet-lagged, she’d make a point to come see you or make you a bracelet. She would send notes that said, “Thinking of you from the road.” I looked up to her as a friend.
If there was a textbook of how to be a best friend, she would be in it. She was always there for you. She would never let you down. She would be in Germany, and if something was really wrong, she would make the trip to get back to you. She was thoughtful, she listened, she was never judgmental, she was such a positive person to be around.
A lot of friends are just friends; Sarah was the best friend.
— Elsa Hamel-Robert: Maid-of-Honor
About the author:
Freeskier Magazine—This is skiing.