Chris Kastner our Director of Resort Services passed away earlier this month. This tribute to Chris is provided by his loving family and friends.
Chris David Kastner was welcomed into this world by his parents, Nancy and David Kastner, on Nov. 28, 1961, in St. Paul, Minn., just in time for the ski season. Sadly, Chris left us on Nov. 5, 2022, while trying to battle back from the debilitating stroke he had while kiting in Mexico last December. Also, just in time for ski season. It’s nice to now picture him skiing all the fresh powder and double-blacks that his heart and body desires.
Chris was a friend to all. If anyone ever had a bad thing to say about him, we’ve yet to meet them. He had a great community of friends and family whom he loved very much.
A graduate of Montana State University with a construction engineering degree, Chris decided to follow his passions in the ski industry. He started as a race coach at Mt. Hood Meadows and was quickly recruited to teach in the Ski School as well. Chris excelled at teaching skiing and in PSIA, "Professional Ski Instructors of America." This gained him the opportunity to work at many different resorts such as Aspen, Schweitzer as the ski school manager, Crystal Mountain as the ski and snowboard school director, and eventually back to Mt. Hood Meadows in 2005 where he finished his career as the director of resort services.
Chris also served two four-year terms as a PSIA Alpine Team member, a group that is considered to be the top ski instructors in the nation. He held various other roles with PSIA including tech team member, and certification vice president of PSIA-NW. During his summers off, Chris coached ski race camps at Timberline, where he met Noburo Matsumoto, a coach from Japan. Together they started a race camp for Japanese ski racers, which they ran together for almost 30 years. Through his work in coaching and the leadership positions he held, Chris was able to share his passion for the sport he loved with many others, helping grow their skills and careers, and also celebrating their successes. He loved every minute of it.
Mt. Hood Meadows Vice President of Operations Jeremy Riss said, “Chris had an exceptional passion for snowsports, and he shared that passion with many team members and guests. He helped mentor many of us, myself included, to grow as people and leaders.”
Some of Chris’s accomplishments at Mt. Hood Meadows include:
- Starting the 5th grade ski free program which provides an opportunity for every 5th grader in Hood River County to take a school field trip to Mt. Hood Meadows.
- Instilling teamwork and cooperation between departments leading to the formation of the Snowsports Services Department to improve the team and guest experience.
- Ensuring quality control for the Sahale Lodge construction project which was successfully completed on schedule.
“What stands out most of all is Chris’s kindness, positivity, and how much he cared about and enjoyed the people he worked with,” said Jeremy. “Chris made Meadows a fun place to work and play for many of us, and he will be deeply missed.”
Chris married his best friend and playmate, Debbie Fuller, when they were living up in Seattle and Greenwater. Theirs has been an amazing relationship full of incredible adventures on the snow, on the water, on beaches, and in each other's arms. They were the yin to each other's yang and made a happy home in Hood River together.
Ashley, Chris’ only daughter, made him extremely proud. As soon as she could stand, he had her on skis. Throughout life, they shared a love for skiing, mountain biking, kiting, and dogs. They got to spend the last few years working together at Meadows in jobs they loved.
Chris leaves behind his loving wife, Debbie Fuller; his daughter Ashley Kastner (Joe); his mother Nancy Kastner; brother Brad Kastner (Kellie); mother-in-law Gloria Staniforth; sister-in-law Wendy Lewrew (Jay); and nieces Allie Kastner and Niki Reaux, and nephew Jake Kastner. He is preceded in death by his father David and his brother Jeff.
There is a community of many amazing friends that will miss him greatly. He wanted his friends to know how much he appreciated all of the help and support over the last 11 months for him and Debbie.
If you would like to make a donation in his name, two recommended options would be the Snowboard Outreach Society, one of many organizations Chris worked with to introduce skiing and snowboarding to those who had been historically excluded from the sport, or the PNSIA Education Foundation, which is used to provide scholarships to northwest instructors pursuing further education with PSIA. In addition, the original GoFundMe is still open for donations to help cover current expenses and help Debbie’s future without Chris.
Go Fund Me Account
Through any adversity that came his way, Chris spent every day loving life and helping others to do the same. There is no doubt that instead of grief he would want those that cared about him to focus on living their lives to their fullest and celebrating all the fun times that were shared together.