mt hood header photo


Spencer Nelson

"Spencer lived every second of his life"....Spencer's mom, Peggy Smith


Spencer Nelson died in a climbing accident in Colorado on Saturday, August 14, 2010. Spencer coached at mhssc session 10, 2010.  He was on the University of Colorado ski team.  Spencer was 20 years old. 

Article about his accident

Tribute article

*many thanks to Marcus Caston, for supplying me with most of these photos. 


Spencer receiving Colorado Ski Country USA All Star of the year award from Gretchen Bleiler, 2010

Conner & Spencer


"Spencer was a wonderful son, an incredible young man. He had accomplished so much in his short life. He had so much more to accomplish, but God had other plans for him. It was always his dream to ski for the University of Colorado. He had been a Buff since an early age, as both my wife and I are alumni. He was very proud to wear the CU speed suit and the buffalo logo on his helmet. He had a great freshman season, but he was not content with those results. It was his goal to be an All-American, captain of the team and lead the team to the National Championship. I know in my heart that he would have done that. We are overwhelmed by the love and support from the CU Nation. We love the University, Coach Rokos and all of the Ski Team athletes. They will forever be in our hearts. It is our hope that Spencer's spirit lives on in each of his teammates and helps them to the NCAA title this year. Go Buffs!"

-Peter Nelson, father

"When Spence was about 5 or 6 years old his family came to Camp Nelson, his persistance was evident at an early age. His father was helping Uncle John with a building project, (the boat house deck) and he told Spence he would take him for a canoe ride when was done. Spence stood by thier side, paddle in hand, ready to go for hours, smile on his face. I will never forget his words as he was standing there, 'Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad,' he figured he would help get things going by cheering them on. Peter finaly looked at John and said I'm going canoeing with my son I'll be back later, and he did. Always ready for action but gentle soal, I could keep writing about him and his family for hours because they make my life and my families life whole. He will always be with us."

-LeAnn Nelson, Spencer's aunt

"Spencer was a dear son, brother, grandson, teammate and friend. The fact that Spencer is no longer with us is still beyond our wildest imagination.  Only belief that his spirit is in place we all will meet one day again can give us the strength to cope with it. We cannot ease the sorrow of his family, but we know we will love, honor and cherish Spencer in our fondest memories for the rest of our lives."

-Richard Rokos, CU ski coach

"I have never met anyone who was so excited about absolutely everything in life as much as Spencer. Like most know, he was always smiling and always happy. Every person he met was immediately his friend because his joy and passion for life spread easily.

"Spencer belonged outdoors and in nature. Whether skiing, hiking, or biking, he was always up for an adventure. I was fortunate enough to be with Spencer when we climbed his 17th 14er. We had planned on camping and climbing Quandry on a day in early July. Sitting around the campfire watching the sun set, Spencer suggested that we climb the peak at midnight. We all laughed and dismissed his idea, but sure enough, guided by Spencer's enthusiasm, we all started the trek up the mountain under the stars and moonlight. Four hours later, and we had made it to the 14,000-foot summit. From the top we stared out at hundreds of miles of jagged mountains, just as the moon disappeared behind a ridge.

"Its adventures like these that no one else would take that seemed to fuel Spencer that night. I am so appreciative to have known Spencer and been able to see the things I have seen because of him. Our team will deeply miss him.

"We all love you so much Spencer."

-Eric Davis, CU teammate

"Spencer embodied the notions of motivation, ambition and "joie de vivre" (meaning "happiness to live"). He was a hard worker and always the one to take an extra run on the hill.  When working out, he was always at 100 percent, minimum. He knew what he wanted to become a champion.  His approach to life he has always been a champion, always smiling and optimistic, his constant curiosity animated impassioned conversations about skiing and sports. I cannot express how much we will all miss him, but I can say that he inspired me and everyone who met him.

"Spencer was a loved friend and teammate. His smile will accompany us forever; we will never forget you Spencer."

-Gabriel Rivas, CU teammate

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking those wishing to make a donation to do  the Spencer Nelson Memorial Gift Fund through the University of Colorado Foundation and at Wells Fargo.  For more information about the CU Foundation fund, contact Scott McMichael or Rachel Kulkarni at (303) 492-2200, or people can make checks out to the CU Foundation and put Spencer Nelson in the memo field and mail them to:

University of Colorado
Buff Club or Ski Team
369 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0369



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