Sugar Bowl ski instructor Carson May received a sendoff Sunday (April 24) that he probably never could have imagined. Legendary artist Stevie Wonder performed on the UC Davis campus as part of a celebration of life for May, who was killed in an avalanche at Sugar Bowl ski resort in January.
Hundreds of friends and family gathered to remember the 23-year-old May, who grew up in Davis. He was an instructor with the Mountain Sports Learning Center ski school at Sugar Bowl and was off duty and skiing at the time he went missing. Due to the extreme snowy conditions, his body wasn’t found until weeks later. Among those who honored Carson at Putah Creek Lodge on the UC Davis campus was Wonder, a friend of Mike May, Carson’s father. The two became friends working together in May’s Sendero Group, which employs individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
Wonder told Fox40 TV in Sacramento that he remembers meeting Carson and admiring his passion. “He loved skiing, he loved doing things, he was challenged, so he unfortunately passed away. But he passed away into eternal bliss doing something he loved,” Wonder said.
One of Carson’s favorite bands – Elephant Revival – also performed for the crowd as part of the celebration. Mike May said his son’s death has brought him to action, and he’s now started a cause to ensure others in a similar situation won’t suffer the same fate.
“As of this week, we have formed Carson Technologies, to work on early search and rescue technology and more. That will help us get off the ground and do some of these things, because the real goal is to save
another life,” Mike May said.
The May family is still fund-raising for that company through their GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/carsonmaymemorial. May’s mother told the crowd Sunday, “that before his funeral, I was thinking of how to help Carson transition (into heaven), and what I heard was – ‘Mom, I’ve got this.’ He didn’t say it, but I sensed very strongly, don’t micro-manage.”
Carson often skied at Sugar Bowl with his brother, Wyndam May. “We got a house together on Donner Lake and it was the best time I think I ever spent with him,” Wyndham said.
May was last seen skiing at the resort on a Thursday afternoon in January. He failed to show up for his ride home, and it was discovered Friday morning that he had not returned home during the night. Sheriff’s officials said May’s personal belongings were found in his locker at the resort.
May graduated in 2011 from the Da Vinci Charter Academy in Davis. He and his brother joined the Davis High School ski team, which took a division title in 2009. Carson moved from Davis to Truckee and had a “very good knowledge of the area he was skiing,” according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Department.
“It’s tough for all of us, we keep finding our separate ways and also ways together to remember Carson to laugh, and talk about him,” said Mike May, who said Carson would not have wanted to be the center of attention. “But he’s not here to put a check on the matter, so we’re going to celebrate, we’re doing our best to do that through music, through emotion and through the community gathering together.”