Sandy Z dies while hiking on pass

By Jim Stanford on October 15, 2012

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Sandy Z at home on Fish Creek.

Authorities have identified the hiker who died yesterday on Mount Glory as Wilson resident A.A. Zvegintzov, better known by his nickname, Sandy Z.

Zvegintzov appears to have died of natural causes related to a medical condition, according to the News&Guide. He was 73 years old.

Sandy Z was a river guide, ski instructor, sailor and painter. He likely was one of the first to use the phrase “downward mobility,” explaining his move from a career in law to guiding on the Snake for Barker-Ewing in the 1980s.

He notched more than 11,000 miles as a boatman and more than 3 million vertical feet as a ski instructor at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. In recent years he focused on painting at his home studio on Fish Creek, accessed by the small wooden bridge behind Pearl Street Bagels.

His full name was Alexander Alexandrovich (Russian for Alex Jr.). A Philadelphia native, he moved to Jackson Hole in 1972. His tall, bony frame was hard to miss.

I wrote a profile of him for the JH News in 1999, after he returned from a four- year, solo sailing voyage around the Caribbean. “It was a fabulous adventure,” he told me. “Not many people on the face of the Earth are going to do that.”

(Photo by John Slaughter)

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Posted under Art, Deaths, Sports

11 Comments so far

  1. Aaron October 15, 2012 5:03 pm

    Didn’t know Sandy that well but have heard enough to know he was a great man who’s death leaves a big hole to fill in the community. I hope to live a life of equal honesty, integrity, and loving as his. R.I.P Sandy.

  2. Brad October 15, 2012 7:02 pm

    What Aaron said. And, what a way to go. If you lived a life like Sandy’s, how could it be much better than taking off while hiking Mt. Glory. RIP, friend.

  3. Jon Hindman October 15, 2012 9:18 pm

    Wow, what a sad shocker. I was going “back” to school at UW at the same time as Sandy, and we often had the same workout/sauna schedule. He was always friendly, always had a kind word for everyone. It was a pleasure to watch his artwork evolve. Truly a treasure of the valley, he will be missed.

  4. Bert October 16, 2012 7:18 am

    Defines Jackson Hole

  5. Barbara Barker October 16, 2012 9:45 am

    We at Barker-Ewing feel very fortunate to have had Sandy as part of our guides’ roster for 7 seasons. He sure did bring in the “fan mail” from many (especially female) clients! And visiting with him at our 50th Guides’ Reunion just a few weeks ago, he still seemed to be at the top of his game. We will certainly miss him.

  6. Boat1 retired October 16, 2012 10:57 am

    Bummer. Glad I got to visit with Sandy last month during the B-E reunion. Was a blast floating with him all those years on the Snake. A great boatman and friend. RIP my brother.

  7. Matt Montagne October 16, 2012 2:58 pm

    Sandy was a true gem of a guy. He’ll be so missed in all of his circles – art, skiing, outdoors, sailing, guiding, laughing, joking, and just being a heck of a nice and dedicated friend to so many.
    A tip of the paintbrush to you, Sandy. Send us some good sunsets to paint.

  8. Curtis May October 16, 2012 5:09 pm

    Rest in peace Sandy Z, it was an honor to know you and work with you. Always a gentleman and such a wonderful person to be around.

  9. Anita Wilke October 16, 2012 7:41 pm

    Beautiful tribute, Jim. So glad I got to see Sandy and get a warm, friendly hug when I was home in August. Wilson lost a true gentleman whose kind and gentle spirit will be deeply missed.
    Hope you are making some beautiful turns up on Glory Bowl, Z.

  10. js October 23, 2012 11:36 am

    Sandy Z’s sons are planning a memorial service for Friday, Jan. 4, at a time and location to be determined.

    The cause of death likely was a heart attack, the N&G reported last week.

  11. Dave Sage November 17, 2012 12:43 pm

    Met Z in ’76 through a mutual friend; hiked, fished, and climbed with him thereafter. He used to come and spend Xmas with us in Vail after the boys left. His heart characterized by packing beer, elk filets, and appetizers (for 10) to us on the last night of an 8 day pack through the Tetons in 1980. Beloved by our entire family!

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