Telluride Academy: Honoring Hero & Friend Chason Russell! Tribute July 1!

Telluride Academy: Honoring Hero & Friend Chason Russell! Tribute July 1!

The following is a note from Luke Brown and the Telluride Academy family. Please read on for details about Chasen Russell, who is and will be sorely missed by the greater Telluride community. There will be a memorial service for Chason on Thursday, July 1st and all are invited. (Details below)

There has also been a GoFundMe page created in Chason’s name to help the next generation of explorers and adventurers find the “stoke” that he embodied every day. You can learn more about this fund and make a donation HERE.

Telluride Academy is mourning the loss of our former student and long-time instructor Chason Russell. Chason was killed in a kayaking accident last week on the Crystal River near Redstone, Colorado.

Chason grew up in Telluride and within the community of Telluride Academy. He has been an integral and deeply cherished member of our organization for decades. Our hearts are broken and his loss has shaken us to the core. We are finding strength in the mountains of memories we have of Chason as both a boy and as a man, sharing of stories amongst the dynamic and extensive community he created as a member of our tribe.

Chason joined his first Academy program in the mid 1980’s at the age of 7, was hired as a junior instructor at age 15, and a Field Instructor at age 21. He was an instructor up until 2010.

Chason was a dynamic and passionate advocate for adventure and went on to lead numerous expedition-based programs for Acdemy students. Chason’s programs varied in focus between backpacking and mountaineering, mountain-biking, hard-shell kayaking clinics, whitewater river trips and international travel. Chason has influenced many Telluride Academy students over the years; his legacy will carry forth every time those now adults scale a rock wall, summit a peak, paddle a river and/or sleep under the stars.

If you are enrolled in a program next week and would like to attend Chason’s memorial service, please email me at We will make arrangements with your child’s instructors so that you can leave early and make your way up to Wilson Mesa.

Whether you knew Chason or not, know that he was the embodiment of everything Telluride Academy stands for. Chason was a selfless teacher and mentor who inspired students to pursue their passions,  overcome challenges with grace, perseverance and humility and celebrate the beauty and power of the natural world.

Chason is known as many things to many people: son, brother, husband, leader, friend, athlete and explorer.

For us, he will always be a Hero.

Memorial, details: A Celebration Of Life

Thursday, July 1st, 2021, 4:20 pm

Schmidt Ranch

4553 County Rd. 63,Telluride, CO 81435

Parking is very limited, so please use the shuttle service. Shuttles will be provided from:*Town of Telluride: Carhenge free parking lot at 2:15pm and 2:45pm; Lawson Hill Park & Ride free parking lot at 2:30pm and 3:00pm.

If driving to the venue, please carpool with 4-5 other people. And please bring a camp chair and be prepared for mountain weather.


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