By JENNIFER WEBSTER/ Montana State News
Dressed in a pair of worn out jeans, a black fleece and a Scrubby’s Car Wash hat, 24- year-old Chad Green looks exhausted from a long day of work, but manages to hold a lively and humorous attitude.
He smiles as he grabs the collar of his English bulldog.
“He’s friendly don’t worry,” he says. “I named him Royce, like Rolls Royce, you know?” says the Bozeman native, who grew up across the Bridger Canyon Road from the “M” hiking trail.
Green presents himself with confidence, but not in a way that is over the top, clearly showing that he is not one to take life too seriously.
He has lived life to the fullest, as he is all too familiar with how quickly life can be taken away.
Green has lost three family members: his uncle, cousin and father, due to avalanche tragedies.
Green’s uncle, Peter Aulik, was killed in 1984 while working as a ski patroller. Aulik was testing snow when he decided to drop down and test a different facing slope; the snow gave way and carried him 1,000 feet.
Green’s cousin, Jessica Aulik, was 24 when she was killed in 2005. At age 17 she became the youngest person ever to scale the peak that claimed her life; that peak was Mount Logan in Canada. She was climbing with friends when the avalanche occurred.
Most recently, Green lost his father, Steve Green, in April 2010. Steve Green was snowmobiling with friends in Buck Creek, just south of Big Sky, when he stopped to film a friend. The friend rode up the hillside a few hundred yards above Steve and that was all it took.
The slide was 1,000 feet wide, had a 3-foot crown and carried Steve Green about 500 feet down the mountain. Steve was located and unburied within 15 minutes, but he was unable to be revived.
“He was a very caring person who always went out of his way to help”, Chad Green said.
All three family members could be considered experts in their field, but Green is aware of the danger nature possesses.
“No matter how well you’re trained you never know what Mother Nature is going to do,” he said.
Having grown up in the Big Sky country, Green quickly developed a love for the outdoors. He and his older brother, also Peter Green, a pilot in Puerto Rico, were always finding themselves wakeboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, mountain biking, skate boarding or traveling with friends or family.
“He’s always been a good brother,” Chad says of Peter, “and I always got along with my dad and mom.”
“We did a lot of things, just the four of us. We’ve traveled to places like Mexico, Key West, and Atlantis for family vacations, and we would ski and take the boat out as a family, too,” Green remembers of his childhood.
Being active has been a part of the family’s lifestyle for as long as Green can remember.
When he was in second grade, he was airlifted on life flight after cracking his skull in four places. He was being towed behind a snowmobile with his brother and was not wearing a helmet.
Since that accident, Green has sustained several broken thumbs, a few dislocated shoulders, and last winter he had surgery on his knee, all from skiing.
“I started skiing when I was one and a half,” he said. “I loved going on ski trips with all my ski gear, and I went to Momentum Ski Camp in Whistler for three years.”
During the winters of 2006-2008 he competed in the U.S. Open freestyle competition in Copper Mountain Colorado.
“I never wanted to go pro or anything, I just wanted to be better than everyone else,” he said with a slight grin.
Since each loss, life has not slowed down for Green. His family has owned Scrubby’s Car Wash off of North Seventh Avenue for 32 years and Green became the business owner in 2010 after his father’s death.
“I had to teach myself almost everything about the business,” he remembers.
He graduated from Montana State University in 2012 with a major in graphic design, but has learned electrical, plumbing, and management skills from the long hours spent at the wash.
“It’s a lot of work”, he said, “and people think it’s just spraying water on cars and it comes off.” He added with a slight chuckle.
“Everyday I make sure hoses are working properly and are not broken, schedules are made out and chemicals are full. There is more behind the scenes work than people realize,” Green said.
Long time friend Russell Williams said, “Chad is someone with passion and motivation. He has the ability to identify the problem, and can come up with a solution in a timely manner.”
When he is not working long days at the car wash, Green spends his free time with family and friends.
Throughout his life, there is one thing he has learned from the personal tragedies; that is to “love everyone in your life and forgive those who have done wrong,” he said. “I’ve had to learn this the hard way, so it’s just important to be appreciative of everyone and everything.”
Not only has Green learned to appreciate the outdoors and those who surround him, he also learned very quickly that you cannot control what happens next in life.
“It does ease the pain a little, though, knowing each were killed doing what they loved to do,” Green says of his father and relatives.
“I still wakeboard, ski and do other extreme sports, but I have definitely become more hesitant, especially if venturing into the backcountry,” he added.
According to his Facebook page, Green hopes to start a nonprofit organization called NorthSlope Foundation, which will provide emotional and financial support to others who have lost a loved one in an avalanche.
-Edited by Makenzie Johnson