Eric Love, who would have turned 61 on July 20, 2022, was one of six people who died in a 21-vehicle pile-up on the afternoon of Friday, July 15, 2022 near Hardin, MT.
Jen Beaston is the CEO of Crosscut Mountain Sports Center, which Love founded five years ago as a place for local kids to learn and participate in Biathlon.
Beaston says she was shocked when she got the call that Love was dead, explaining that they had recently been on a successful business trip together and were excited about the future of Crosscut. Beaston describes Love as a man who got things done: “He’s got too much energy and life and vitality for this to happen.”
Love helped raise $8 million to purchase the old Bohart Ranch and the adjoining property in Bozeman to form Crosscut Mountain Sports Center. In the past few years, Crosscut has grown to attract the U.S. Paralympian program, many junior Olympians, and about 40,000 visitors a year. As board chair, Love was at the helm, driving the mission to grow, impact, and serve the community, until his life was tragically cut short.
Love and his wife, Jacquie, were on a road trip, on their way to Vermont when the unthinkable happened. Jacquie recounted the horrific events to Beaston.
“All of a sudden it went from blue sky, beautiful weather, to just black—and you couldn't see anything," said Beaston, “and all of a sudden there was a semi right in front of them and he slammed on the brakes, I think he tried to swerve, and they just collided. She (Jacquie) did not lose consciousness, she just was very quickly yelling for Eric and, 'are you ok, are you alive,' and was able to grab his hand and was able to finally make eye contact with him and saw him take his last breath."
Jacquie remains in the hospital recovering from serious injuries. In a statement she said, "I’ve had the pleasure of watching Eric pour his heart and passion into Crosscut and our community, his love for both shone brightly through the signature twinkle in his eyes. Eric founded Crosscut as an opportunity for his children to participate in Biathlon, and grew it into a thriving, inclusive mountain sports center that connects thousands of people with nature. As we grieve this giant hole he leaves in our lives, I can hear him whispering in my ear to rally together and fulfill his vision for Crosscut today and long into the future—for the benefit of our entire community."
Love’s children Sabine and Alex Love issued this statement:
"Our dad wasn’t the best skier, but he wasn’t building Crosscut for himself. He founded Crosscut as a way for us and other Bozeman area kids to participate in biathlon. Because of his passion, Crosscut has grown into a home for our entire community. He found so much pride and enjoyment in connecting people with the outdoors through his love for this magical place. It's our hope that his vision continues."
Under the family's direction, The Love Crosscut Fund has been established. You can find more information here: https://www.crosscutmt.org/love-crosscut-fund