|Self-portrait - 2001|
Joseph Power Despres
Sept. 20, 1972 - Nov. 28, 2001
The DOJoe Uphill-Downhill Telemark Race was initiated in February of 2002 in memory of Joe Despres, an avid local telemark skier. Joe died on November 28, 2001 in an avalanche while backcountry skiing above Yankee Doodle Lake. The impetus for the race came from a group of fellow skiers, friends and members of the Eldora ski-patrol loosely known as the 'Posse'.
Joe was known for his love of the local mountains, intense skiing, backcountry expertise and incredible endurance. When he started telemark skiing at Eldora he was awed and inspired by the ability of many of the locals. His goal was to be part of the group who now honor his memory with the DOJoe.
In spite of growing up in a seacoast town, Marblehead, Massachusetts, he gravitated to the mountains and the outdoor lifestyle. After attending art school in Baltimore he moved to Boulder and then to Nederland, drawn by the mountains and the great beauty of the area. He roamed the local trails, hiking, camping, mountain biking and skiing. The outdoors was his passion, and he continued to express himself through his art. Never able to get enough of everything, he relished the challenge of physical activity, mountain biking off-season to stay in shape for skiing and then skinning up the hills in the winter to stay in shape for biking.
The DOJoe is a wonderful event, good fun, and a great tribute, and it also serves a great cause by raising funds for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Joe's tragic death only underscores the need and importance of the CAIC's mission of research, education and awareness.
The poster from the first annual telemark race in 2002: