Triathlete from Steamboat Springs dies from rattlesnake bite
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A 31-year-old Steamboat Springs endurance athlete who had just moved to Golden was killed Saturday after being bitten by a rattlesnake.
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Daniel Hohs was about one and a half miles up from the Mount Galbraith trailhead in Golden when he was bitten on the ankle.
A woman who he was with called 911 at 12:40 p.m. Saturday.
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jenny Fulton said Hohs was hiking when he was bitten. He took a couple steps and sat down, Fulton said.
The snake was described as being about four feet long.
It took 22 minutes for emergency responders to reach Hohs, and a doctor recreating in the area helped care for him.
Firefighters from the Golden Gate Fire Protection District evacuated him and took him to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood, where he died later that afternoon.
Friends of Hohs are planning to hold a gathering in the coming weeks in Steamboat Springs, where he worked in software consulting and competed in triathlons.
In August 2014, Hohs became an Ironman when he completed his first full-distance race in Louisville, Kentucky.
Hohs had been training with Heather Gollnick’s IronEdge triathlon team.
“Dan was so vibrant,” Gollnick said. “He had this huge smile and this energy that just made you happy. It was contagious to everyone.”
Hohs excelled in introducing newcomers to the sport.
“He had a way of making them feel comfortable,” Gollnick said. “He was just one of those really decent human beings.”
Most recently, Hohs was hiking and biking Colorado 14ers with friends.
“He was out there doing what he loved to do, whether it was doing a 14er and riding his bike to the next 14er while his friends rode in the car,” Gollnick said.
In October 2014, Hohs wrote an essay titled “How Endurance Sports Saved My Life” for the website activeperformance.org.
The Chicago-area native struggled with depression while attending the University of Michigan and was admitted to an inpatient psychiatric facility, where he had a major manic episode that left him sleepless for three days.
He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, or manic depression.
“I spent the next nine years learning that my alternative brain chemistry is not a disorder, and it is not an illness,” Hohs wrote. “It is a unique part of me that gives me strength and individuality in so many ways.”
After visiting the darkest places in his mind, Hohs committed himself to be an optimistic, positive, outwardly happy, outgoing, stress-free and drama-free individual.
“This has been and always will be a work in progress that I pride myself in,” Hohs wrote.
He then discovered triathlons.
“Endurance sports have provided me with the motivation to improve all aspects of my life, deeply reflect on who I am, and most importantly, learn that I can do what I once thought was impossible,” Hohs wrote.
Eddie Rogers, also a triathlete, was roommates with Hohs in Steamboat and was shocked by the news.
“From what I could figure out, you are 50 times more likely to get struck by lightning then get killed by a rattlesnake,” Rogers said.
Rogers and Hohs trained and competed together.
On Sunday, Rogers did a long road bike ride that went over the “Three Witches” in South Routt County because that was the last ride he did with Hohs.
“He was my daily bike ride buddy and ski buddy and all that fun stuff,” Rogers said. “It definitely brought back some big-time memories with Dan.”
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.