By the Carr family
Arabella ‘Ella’ G. Carr died in a back country skiing accident on Saturday, March 5 at the Anthony Lakes area in Oregon. Ella pursued a life of purpose and intent. She continually strove to create her world to fit with her grand design. Through all of her life, she and her older brother cultivated a loving and supportive relationship that only grew stronger over the years.
Ella was born in Vail, Colorado, and her family moved to Truckee, California, before her first birthday. When she was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with “failure to thrive.” A diagnosis of Celiac disease was finally the answer. With a new approach to food and loving support from her family and friends, Ella grew into an inspirational person who much more than thrived. She touched many people in her time in this world.
Growing up in Tahoe, Ella benefited from so many local opportunities. Ballet with Sierra Nevada Dance and Inner Rhythms, sailing camps on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe, club soccer, Nordic skiing as a Strider-Glider at Tahoe XC. She skied on the Squaw Valley Ski Team starting at age 4 as a Shooting Star, then Mighty Mite, and then onto Far West. She also raced for the North Tahoe High School Ski Team, and, standing at 5-foot-1, she was recruited by her friends to play on the varsity basketball team. She mixed up her Tahoe experiences with Camp Merrie-Woode in the North Carolina mountains for eight summers.
Ella was a student at Kings Beach Elementary School in the dual immersion language program, Alder Creek Middle School, Creekside, and North Tahoe High School. She excelled at school.
Where Ella really found her stride was on the North Tahoe High School Cross Country Team. She was an NTCC Laker Legend, which means she was varsity, state championships team, all-state, and all-academic for all four years. The cross-country experience filled her heart with a passion for running that kept growing. She loved running on mountain trails most of all, for miles and miles. She completed two ultra 50K marathons, winning her second. She had sights on being the fastest person to complete the Tahoe Rim Trail; she intended to do the notorious Barkley Marathon.
After high school, Ella sought to broaden her horizons on the East Coast. She chose Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She met amazing friends there. She played rugby and raced on the Wesleyan ski team. During Covid restrictions, she yearned for the mountains and the West. She took the next semester off and worked as a ski race coach for the development team at Squaw Valley. Then she WWOOF-ed (work on organic farms) in Oregon and Alaska.
She transferred to Whitman College in Washington in January, continuing her studies of understanding and caring for the earth and of foreign languages. While it was a little intimidating to arrive in the middle of the academic year, she quickly found her people. At Whitman’s Outdoor Program, Ella enlarged her circle of friends, and together they went on to create many of their own outdoor adventures.
Ella loved to watch the sunrise during mountain runs, backcountry ski ascents, and cold swims in rivers, lakes, and ponds. She found some kindred spirits who purposefully sought out discomfort with her.
In the spaces between the happenings, she found love. She had seemingly achieved her highest joy at the end of her life.
Ella is survived by her parents, Hale and Don, her beloved brother, Austin, her grandparents, Clifton and Sarah Sneeden; uncles, Chris (and Anita) Sneeden, Al (and Bonnie) Sneeden; aunt, Laura Carr, and so many more loving family members.
Ella’s family would like to express their deepest gratitude to friends and family who have surrounded them with love and support. There will be a service for Ella at the Olympic Village Lodge in Palisades Tahoe at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 20.
In lieu of flowers, Ella’s family will create a scholarship in her memory through the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation. Donations can be made online at:
Charitable donations can also be made by check to:
Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
PO Box 366
Truckee, CA 96160
Tax ID: 68-0416404
(Please specify that the donation is in memory of Ella Carr)
The Carr Family will work with TTCF to distribute the charitable funds through the local community scholarship process.