John “Josh” Ward: a friend, a son, a father, a grandfather, a ski patroller, a wildland firefighter, a captivating storyteller, a teller of dad jokes, a great skier, and overall entertaining human being. The man loved to ski; he left us Thursday, March 10 while doing what he loved in a place he truly enjoyed.
Josh grew up in the mountain town of Lake Arrowhead, California. Born into a skiing family, he learned at a young age the joys of sliding around on the snow. Family ties in the Wood River Valley brought him here as a young kid where he refined his skiing skills on Dollar Mountain. At age 19, Josh moved to the area and worked building bikes while also volunteering with Ketchum Fire. After a few year hiatus from the Valley he returned in 2016 when he was hired with Sun Valley as a lift operator (you may remember his big smile as he bumped chairs at the bottom of the old Cold Springs lift). Josh got hired on to the Dollar Mountain Ski Patrol in the winter of 2017. He worked as a patroller for the past five winters, his presence filled the shack and the mountain with laughter and comedy.
After the snow began to melt here in Ketchum, Josh would head to Bend, Oregon, where he could squeeze in more skiing at Bachelor before beginning his fire season. In the summers Bend was Josh’s home base, where he was close to family and friends in between fire roles.
Josh was a passionate man, excited about life and lived it to the fullest. Josh was the type of person you could meet once, but would never forget. He loved telling stories and making people laugh. Some of his favorite stories included times with his kids and grandson and also reminiscing on his most recent trip to In-N-Out. His love for skiing and mountain biking kept him in the mountains of Ketchum and Bend.
Over the past week friends and family have been sharing stories of Josh, reliving the joys, laughs and shenanigans with which he filled our lives. Friends and family are welcome to come celebrate the life of Josh on Wednesday, March 23, at Dollar Mountain. Ski processional will begin at 5:30 p.m. Please join us at the base of the mountain to watch and celebrate a life well-lived.