Obituary: Michael W. Smith
October 30, 1952 – June 30, 2022
On Thursday, June 30th, 2022, Michael W. Smith, “Mad Mike” passed away at the age of 69.
Mike was born on October 30, 1952 in Monroe, Michigan to Marion Hopkins Smith and William Lambert Smith. After graduating from Monroe High School in 1971 Mike played football for Adrian College for a year and then volunteered for the Army. His Army training included mountaineering in Alaska, sparking his love of the mountains. He served as a Specialist Four in Iran as a courier and military trainer. It didn’t take long for Mike to make it to the mountains in Colorado and after his military service he move to Boulder, Denver, and then Steamboat Springs. In 1990 Buffalo Pass became his central passion, sled-skiing as much as 200 days in a single year. He kept at it until his lungs started to fail, finally selling his last sled last year and moving to Ft. Collins.
The lore surrounding The Mad Man of Buffy Pass was extensive, and some even true. Notably, one local backcountry skier recalls running into Mike in an unnamed creek South of the South Fork of Soda Creek and having a heated disagreement about whether sled-skiing was open in that area. After she gave him a hard time, he named the drainage what everyone who skis Buff Pass today knows as Bitch Creek.
On his last drive from Steamboat to Ft. Collins, Mike pulled over, presumably to refill his oxygen tank from the large supply in the back of his truck. He was found lying near his vehicle on highway 14, mile marker 61. First responders reported the valve on his refill tank was iced over. Cause of death natural.
He is survived by his siblings Marilyn, Chuck, Craig, and niece Megan and predeceased by his parents and sister Linda.
Military Honors will take place at 1:00 PM on Sunday, August 28th. The spreading of his ashes will follow at 2:00 PM on Rabbit Ears and again in the heart of Winter on Buff Pass.
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