The mountains were truly a home for Corey Borg-Massanari, 22, who perished following an avalanche at Taos Ski Valley.
The Thursday (Jan. 17) avalanche rattled the TSV community. Ultimately, two young men died after being transported to area hospitals.
Borg-Massanari, a resident of Vail, Colorado, had been on a trip to the ski valley and was tackling some of the most challenging runs on the mountain - nothing out of his skill level, according to those who knew him.
He was born in Pueblo, Colorado, and raised in Brainerd, Minnesota, where he graduated from high school. Soon after, he moved to Vail and attended Colorado Mountain College.
In the winter, Borg-Massanari was working at a Patagonia clothing store. But he could be found heading up the chairlifts during his lunch breaks, according to a statement released by his family. Once the snow was gone, Borg-Massanari was an avid and popular zip line guide.
"Our entire team here is crushed and shocked, to say the least. Corey was simply a rock-star guide," said Zip Adventures owner CJ Seatvet. "He was a light to our zip line family; Always willing to work and excited for the day. He loved life, skiing, zip lining and honestly any outdoor adventure. And he was good at it!"
Seatvet said Borg-Massanari was a skilled skier who could master most terrain the mountains had to offer. Zip Adventures plans to dedicate a portion of their course to Borg-Massanari, an employee they said was "personable, funny and safe."
According to the statement from Borg's family, he was known for his "quirky" sense of humor and style. Borg-Massanari was an organ donor, according to a statement released on their behalf by New Mexico Organ Services. The family is encouraging the public to sign up to do the same.
The University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque announced his death Monday (Jan. 21), though his passing was first reported by his grandmother on social media.
"Our grandson Corey Borg loved the mountains, no matter what season," wrote Deb Bowers Borg, his grandmother, on Facebook. "The mountain took his life unexpected with an avalanche while skiing in New Mexico. I am so proud of this young man and the impact that he has left on so many lives. You will be missed here on earth but we will all see you later in our journey. Please keep his family in your prayers."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the family following Borg's death.