Karen Rebecca “Shaka” Sahn, 53, died May 21, 2022 at her mother’s home in Salida.
She was born on January 4, 1969, at University Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, where her late father, Steven Alan Sahn, was a resident physician and her mother, Gene Whitmore Marsh, was a nurse.
In 1973, she moved to Aspen with her mother and sister, Stacey. She attended schools in Aspen from kindergarten through her first grade. She moved to Tucson, Arizona and graduated from Amphitheater High School in 1987.
Ms. Sahn was a star in the Division 5 state race, leading her high school’s cross country team to two state championships.
She graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC in 1991 as a journalism major.
For four years, she ran for the varsity indoor/outdoor track and cross-country teams. His team has won seven of the eight Atlantic Coast Conference indoor/outdoor titles.
After college, she returned to Aspen and began to pursue her passion for travel, particularly on wilderness adventures, rock climbing, and backcountry skiing trips in extreme climates. . Peru, New Zealand, Argentina, Nepal and France were among the countries she loved. Island Peak in Nepal, Mont Blanc in Europe and Denali in Alaska were favorite peaks she climbed.
Ms. Sahn loved snowstorms and bad weather. For 19 years she worked as a patroller for Snowmass and Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol and was a snow safety technician for Aspen Highlands. She worked as a mountain and climbing guide for Aspen Expeditions for 11 summers.
At a ski patrol party with music from artists like Chaka Kahn, the patrollers dubbed her Shaka Sahn and the tag stuck.
Family and friends said few people were faster, stronger or braver. Along with his many feats of strength and endurance, ski mountaineering and air marathons, they said his greatest characteristic was the strength and endurance of his friendships.
She maintained close and loving ties with her family, friends, and college teammates throughout her adulthood. She was especially close to her sister Stacey and Stacey’s family.
Her family said she was a doting and devoted aunt to her niece and two nephews, teaching them to love the outback and keeping them safe and fun.
Mrs. Sahn was artistic and creative and made jewelry as gifts for friends and family.
She struggled for years with an eating disorder and hoped others with similar illnesses would be open about their condition, seek early treatment and get their lives back to normal.
Survivors include his mother; sister, Stacey (Kirk) Petersen; aunts, Jane Whitmore, Sandi (Steven) Comen and Jill (Robert) Benson; half-brothers, James and Michael Sahn; half-sister, Rachel Hill; stepmother, Claire Hoefer; nephews, Turner and Severyn Petersen; niece, Sydney Petersen; numerous cousins, including Ben and Michael White, Melissa Hall, Stephanie Comen, and Jennifer and Brandon Benson; and former stepfather, Robert Marsh, and his two daughters, Kamala Marsh and Bente Doolan.
A celebration of his life will be held later this summer in Aspen.
Memorial donations may be made to the Outdoor Education Fund of Aspen Middle School, http://aspenaef.org/donate.
Arrangements are with Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home in Salida.
Online condolences can be offered at lewisandglenn.com.