September 28, 2016 — BOSTON, MA. Today, SASS lost a longtime Family member as the world said goodbye to Dr. Wesley Mills; skier, mountain biker, our team dentist… and quite simply one of the best guys we’ve ever known.
We first met Wes at an event in Wells, Maine; after he mentioned to Travis that he was a backcountry skier. Travis simultaneously remembered that his tooth was killing him and minutes later, the first “dental-work-for-ski-trips” trade was struck up in 2011. That year, a volcanic eruption blanketed Bariloche in ash and closed the airport for months. Wes took planes, buses and even vans driven by crazed Russians to reach us in Patagonia — but Wes left SASS as perhaps the most influential client we’d ever had. It was just the beginning of the journey.
Wes basically inspired the SASS experience for adults as we know it today. So much of Wes’ spirit and energy was born at play… pure moments of joy flying down a mountain, whether on a mountain bike or a pair of skis. A backcountry skier at heart, you’d see his smile flash… where it became obvious that “being an adult” for a moment wasn’t so important to him. Even more impressive, he made everyone else live in the moment — like a kid — right along with him.
Wes’ spirit was indomitable. Many people have such things said about them in death, but you could sit down next to Wes just minutes after meeting him and through the (sometimes vodka-infused) laughter, feel as though you’d known him your entire life.
Over the last six years, we came to know him and his family as extended members of our own; the love he felt for the mountains was only exceeded by the love he had for Lisa and his kids. From Argentina to Japan and later Chile, Wes traveled across three continents with us and did more to inspire our journey and growth than we ever thought possible.
SASS looks forward to honoring Wes’ life, journey and memory by celebrating WES MILLS DAY on his birthday, February 3 each year at SASS Japan. Thank you Wes.