Girdwood skier dies in paragliding crash near Eagle River

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Professional skier Josh Randich, seen here in his Girdwood cabin in June 2021, died Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023 in a paragliding crash near Eagle River. (Valerie Lake/Alaska Public Media)

A Girdwood professional skier died Sunday in a paragliding accident near Eagle River, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers said Josh Randich, 33, died Sunday after he crashed near Magnificent Peak. Troopers got a report of the crash at 1:42 p.m.

“The caller stated they were photographing a paraglider and lost sight of it,” troopers said in an online dispatch.

Troopers spokesman John Dougherty said Randich was out paragliding with a group of friends. It’s unclear what caused him to crash. Dougherty said no one witnessed the wreck. Within about 15 minutes, two friends reached the crash site at an altitude of about 2,700 feet and initiated CPR, Dougherty said.

An Alaska Air National Guard Pave Hawk helicopter then flew Randich to an Anchorage hospital, where troopers said he was pronounced dead.

Randich, sponsored by 4FRNT Skis, was a prominent member of the backcountry skiing community and speed riding community in Alaska. Speed riding combines snow and air, with skiers using paraglider wings as they descend down the mountain. Randich, who grew up in Anchorage, was featured in a 2021 episode of Alaska Public Media’s “Indie Alaska” about his role growing the sport in the state. At the time, he described speed riding as living his dreams.

“I’m not going to look back one day when I’m old and think, ‘Dangit, I should have worked more. I regret playing in the mountains and having the time of my life,’” he said.

Alaska Public Media’s Valerie Lake contributed information to this story.

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Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him more about Chrishere.

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