Neil entered the world on September 17, 1969, the middle child of Judy M. Lynne and Keith Falkner and brother of Scott and Lucy. Born in Toronto, he moved around between Ontario, B.C. and Florida in his growing years.
His love for outdoor adventure began following his experience at an Outward Bound expedition near Keremeos, B.C. just before he turned 17. Through that adventure he developed confidence in himself along with an enthusiasm to live life to the full. He returned home with an undying love of the outdoors, exploring and challenging his limits. He was forever grateful for the experience.
Soon after, friendships and a growing passion for skiing drew him to Whistler, where he became known for his irrepressible sense of humour, boundless energy, and his support for friends and strangers alike, on the slopes, by the roadside, or at innumerable parties.
Winters took him up the mountains, for fun or for work, as a pro ski patroller; summers he revelled in his love of motorcycling by leading tours through the back roads of British Columbia. When he wasn’t working at what he loved doing, he was with friends mountain biking, skiing and exploring the back country, in earnest discussion or “partying hearty”. Notorious for challenging himself and others, his confidence was inspiring. To be near him was to know that anything was possible; simply to try was to be successful. In later years his enthusiasm for a life without limits grew to include a love of listening, learning and finding common ground. His goal was to savour the moment, to live now, in the present, always and completely.
Neil was an avid skier, mountain biker and motorcyclist, whose enthusiasm was contagious. He preferred virgin powder to groomed trails, riding on two wheels to driving on four, and living to watching. He loved the feel of wind on his face, especially when it was generated by his own energy.
His diary included the following words (his): “There is value in a life fully lived” now emblazoned on the plaque that resides on House Rock on the Cheakamus River in Whistler. He died on April 12, 2002, in whiteout conditions, from a fall from the Balfour High Col in the Wapta Ice Fields while back country skiing with friends in the Rocky Mountains, Alberta.
A quote posted on his bedroom wall conveys his belief in interconnectedness and is a gift to those left to grieve his passing:
“Our deepest sense of contentment comes in those times when we have forgotten about all the things we want, and are just appreciating the moment. When we stop thinking about ourselves and just feel into the moment, we transcend that sense of separateness, and however briefly, we merge, like that drop in the ocean, with something much bigger. We experience a moment of bliss, heart opening, love, or perhaps even divinity. In that moment, it is all there. There is absolutely nothing outside of ourselves towards which we might strive.” (Gwen Randall-Young)
Neil dreamed of a life worthy of him, and he lived it, on his own terms, to the last. It is in his family, friends and the Neil Falkner Outward Bound Legacy that his energy and spirit live on.