His life was cut tragically short earlier this year at the age of 41 when he was killed in a single car accident near Chongli, China. He was putting the finishing touches on a seven-meter-deep halfpipe for the 2022 Olympics.

When he was 20 years old Tyson Goodrich worked as a lift operator at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park and faced a dilemma one day after work. Shovel more snow or do a ride along in a Snowcat.

The year was 1998, when Snowcat operators excelled at three things: grooming, periodic naps and cold beer. Not necessarily in that order. Gabe Olson was the cat operator that day and, after showing Goodrich how a few of the controls worked, went off to do whatever groomers do when they disappear for a while.

That fateful moment would end up changing an entire industry. It was not just that Goodrich was a natural in a cat. He had something special. Everyone saw it.

“You are either good at it or you are not,” Olson said. “There is no in between.”

Snowboarding was just starting to take off at the time and Goodrich rode that feature to the top of the sport. He first helped design and cut a world class Superpipe at Park City, Utah and was later hired for the slopestyle course at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia.

His life was cut tragically short earlier this year at the age of 41 when he was killed in a single car accident near Chongli, China. He was putting the finishing touches on a seven-meter-deep halfpipe for the 2022 Olympics.

According to his stepmother, Lee Anne Goodrich, Tyson was driving into town alone one night after work. One of his tires got off the edge of the pavement in an unfamiliar intersection causing the vehicle to roll over.

At a celebration of his life Sunday evening at the Ski Park, Goodrich was remembered as a rebel with a heart of gold and a wicked sense of humor. Pool tables apparently make great dance floors, cue included.

Ski Park General Manager Richard Coots said the Snowcat Goodrich first operated that day – BR #306 – is still running more than a decade later. He said Goodrich “had the ability to balance the artistic vision of what a terrain park should look like and then how it should be laid out.”

He was one of the first Snowcat operators to perfect the art of handling the scorpion-like Zaugg Superpipe Cutter, a Swiss built machine with a 22-foot tail. Few people worldwide are qualified to handle such a piece of equipment.

“When you look at his work it is pretty phenomenal,” Coots said. “He saw something the rest of the industry did not see and took it to the next level.”

Goodrich grew up and attended school in Mt. Shasta before moving abroad with his family, including spending time in St. Croix. His father, Hap Goodrich, was an accountant and founding partner in the well-respected local accounting firm of Aiello, Goodrich & Teuscher.

Despite his travels worldwide, Siskiyou County would always be home.

His sister, Mariah Goodrich-Jones, a math teacher at Mt. Shasta High School, said some of her fondest memories are the times she would spend with her brother seeking out hidden jump trails in Panther Creek. Both were skiers growing up.

“He had a lot of integrity,” Goodrich-Jones said. “He would give you the shirt off his back.”

He also had an insatiable curiosity. Like whether cats really do land on their feet. A 12-foot loft in an old barn where they lived growing up seemed like the perfect place to test such a theory. The only problem, Goodrich-Jones said, was that Tyson failed to consider whether the cat might also try and take him with it on the way down. Only the cat stuck the landing.

Goodrich had just been at the Ski Park prior to his departure for China working with the other terrain park Ty – Tyson Parks. The two were often confused for each other and both enjoyed letting the mistaken identity play out just for the theater involved.

As is custom at the Ski Park for people connected to the area who have passed away, a hand-crafted bell made by the resort’s maintenance department will be hung from a tree in Goodrich’s memory. The first such bell was for founding visionary, Phil Holecek. Most recently, a similar tribute was made for former owner Chuck Young.

Coots said the bell will be placed off the North Saddle trail.