BRIGHTON, Utah (ABC4) — The Draper family spoke exclusively to ABC4 Thursday night after their father, Lee Draper, died in a skiing accident at Brighton Ski Resort Wednesday morning.
This was after a snow making machine covered his goggles in snow, causing him to crash into a snowbank. He suffered a significant brain injury, killing him.
Draper’s children said their father’s two passions in life were the outdoors and his children.
They tell ABC4 he stayed in such good shape so he could experience life with them.
The Draper family is a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and said since the accident, there has been a tremendous outpouring of love and support from the community.
“He would give almost anything for anyone around him and that he would give everything for his family,” said 38-year-old Tom Draper, Lee’s oldest son.
Lee Draper has six kids.
All of them are grateful for the life lessons they learned from their dad.
He was the ultimate outdoorsman and was whatever the Draper kids needed them to be, a mentor, a teacher, and a best friend.
“He was everything,” Tom added.
Lee was everything to his family and to the community.
Tom, like the rest of his family, was devastated by the passing of their dad.
“He was the greatest man I knew and the world had lost the world has lost something great by his passing,” Tom told ABC4.
“I can already feel the emotions coming up,” said 18-year-old Moses Draper, Lee’s youngest son.
Moses was skiing with him when he died.
“I was just hoping it wasn’t my dad,” Moses explained.
Moses and Lee had both gone down the Majestic run at Brighton Resort. A snowblower had blocked their vision and while Moses says he almost crashed, it was his dad who did.
“I tried checking for a pulse but my hands were my hands were so cold it was kind of hard to feel,” Moses recalled.
Moses said his dad wanted to back out of skiing, but Wednesday morning, he got a call.
“He called me at 6:30 and said we are going skiing and I was so excited,” Moses explained tearfully.
Moses said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go skiing with his dad, the man who taught him everything he knows.
“He told me the reason he stayed fit all his life was so that he could do things with us and be with us and be healthy for us,” the 18-year-old explained.
Even for his two daughters, Jacey and Shelby, Lee’s proudest accomplishment was being a dad.
“I think that he would hope that we would all wake up in the morning and go fishing or go on an adventure and not let this hold us back,” said Shelby Heier, Lee’s youngest daughter.
As the days go on the adventures will continue, Lee is watching over his family.
The Drapers said their proudest moment is being a Draper.
“I hope people still catch me in the street and be like you are a Draper kid we love your mom and dad so much we are so lucky to have them,” Lee’s oldest daughter, Jacey Humphreys, said.
Lee Draper is survived by his wife Tami, five siblings, his six children, and many grandchildren.