JACKSON, WY – This weekend the ski industry suffered a shocking blow when news broke of Howie “Hollywood” Henderson’s sudden passing. The 53 year old Jackson resident was the co-founder of the Jackson Hole Air Force, and one of the most prominent figures of the 1980′s backcountry revolution.
It was reported that Howie suffered a heart attack over the weekend, and was unable to be revived by emergency personnel who arrived on the scene. To the community of Jackson and the snow sports industry as a whole this is a huge loss, and extremely unexpected. Henderson was in great physical shape and frequently summited Jackson Hole Mountain, earning the title of Master of the Mountain in 2006. Friends say he actually summited the mountain the day of his death.
Since news of his passing broke, there has been an outpour of comments, condolences and stories across the Internet from those that personally knew or encountered Howie.
A photo that says 1,000 words about the person Howie was….and they all end with exclamation points!
Photo courtesy of Wade McKoy, photographer at Focus Productions, and personal friend of Howie.
Howie and the Jackson Hole Air Force were pioneers of the backcountry, and through their legendary exploits on the slopes, showcased in the 2009 film Swift. Silent. Deep, they shaped the ski industry into what it is today. He was the type of person that would always welcome you to the mountain, and was thrilled to offer his guidance share his intimate knowledge of the backcountry terrain with anyone who was willing.
On Teton Gravity a user wrote, “no matter how early you got to the village, Howie’s car was there before you. One of the most stoked skiers I have ever known. He often convinced me to go to granite when the hazard was elevated by saying, it’s safe with me, I know every layer in the snowpack! He was Jackson’s Ski Historian, and part of our history as well.”
Another individual commented; “When I think of Howie, I think of passion. He was passionate about everything-he was passionately complimentary. He made you think you were the greatest thing on earth-everything you did was perfect, you looked perfect — definitely put you on a pedestal. He was passionately stoked about everything! He would just go off about how great something is, how cool something was — he got your blood pumping as hard as his was. He would get passionately pissed off-if something wasn’t right or just, he would let you know, Not in a mean way-he knew his stuff, did his homework.”
He is survived by his fiance Abby Moore; and two daughters, Addie and Garnet, from a previous marriage.
A public celebration of his life is slated for this Sunday, Oct. 2, at 11 a.m., in Teton Village.