SALT LAKE CITY — David Goode didn’t see problems in life’s challenges.
He saw puzzles.
And according to those who knew, loved and benefited from his creativity and generosity, Goode, who was killed Wednesday when his twin-engine Cessna crashed in a Roy neighborhood, spent his life turning barriers and stumbling blocks into revolutionary ideas and an industry-leading business.
“There was never any ‘glass is half empty, feel sorry for yourself,’” said friend and neighbor Jeff Harrison, who met Goode when he and his wife, Dawn, moved to Huntsville in 2004. “It was absolutely, just solve this problem. That’s what made him such a good innovator.”
A native of Michigan, Goode’s was one of the first businesses lured to Ogden as city leaders began to transform it into an outdoor mecca.
“The community owes him a huge debt of gratitude for being one of those pioneers who ... helped Ogden establish itself as an outdoor recreation community,” said Sarah Toliver, CEO of Visit Ogden.
Goode was a consumer of the product he designed, created and sold — skis. A driven and talented athlete, he made the U.S. Ski Team at age 19 and was an accomplished skier on both water and snow. His drive and desire to improve his performance and his experience as an athlete led him to a number of innovations, the most prominent among them being his use of a carbon-core design. He had 25 U.S. patents and was relentless in his pursuit of creating something new and something that would push boundaries — physically and emotionally.
“Anything the guy did, he just took to a whole different level,” Harrison said. “He was a small manufacturer, but all of the world-record runs in water skiing are done on Goode Water Skis. It’s crazy that one guy could come up with all of this innovation himself.”
Goode was flying from Bountiful to Ogden Wednesday afternoon in what was expected to be a 10 or 12 minute flight. Witnesses said they saw his plane traveling low and slow over I-15 northbound before it veered west and crashed in a townhome community.
“We got that text yesterday when we were in our budget retreat up here, and it took all the oxygen out of the room because everybody that was in there knew Dave and Dawn Goode very well, considered them close friends,” said Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell. “It was a really sad day for everybody. We all still have heavy hearts.”
Goode’s death sent shockwaves through the ski community around the world, and it will likely reverberate for years because of his community advocacy and philanthropic work.
“Dave Goode meant so much to the ski community here in Ogden and around the world,” said Gordon Perry, director of the Snowbasin Sports Education Foundation. “I was lucky to get to know Dave and Dawn, as they are tremendous supporters of our youth programs. It was always a pleasure to have both of them ski with the racing team as they prepared for masters ski race competitions. Dave was always so committed to his skiing and learning and improving with every run. I will miss seeing him and riding the lift with him as he explained some interesting aspect of the sport.”
Goode and his wife met in high school, and they married 20 years ago. He moved his business, and his family, to Utah in 2004, just as the Ogden was beginning efforts to attract outdoor businesses and support more outdoor opportunities utilizing the vast playground the Weber Valley offers.
At a time when even some of Ogden’s residents weren’t sure they could become a world-renowned outdoor community, the Goodes believed in the potential of the city and surrounding areas.
“Dave and Dawn were willing to be one of the first ones in the door,” Toliver said. “And after they moved here, they just continued to be passionate promoters and supporters, attending all of the various activities, up on the mountain or out on the lake, promoting what the community and the outdoors has to offer. They were just incredibly passionate about that. We just owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
Just as Goode was constantly looking for ways to evolve and change his ski designs, he and his wife were always looking for ways to support and improve the lives of those who shared their passion and their zip code.
“They were advocating, not only for themselves, but on behalf of the community for these other outdoor businesses,” Toliver said.
Snowbasin Resort offered condolences after Goode’s death was announced late Wednesday.
“David Good changed so many people’s lives by helping them enjoy the sport they love,” the statement said. “A true legend and innovator in the community and outdoor industry. The entire Snowbasin team extends their condolences to David’s family. He will be missed.”
“If there was a problem he’d come up against, he wouldn’t ever look to anyone else to solve the problem,” Harrison said of his neighbor. “He just knew he could do whatever it was, better than anyone else.”
“He didn’t have a college education, as I understand it. But he was an expert in astronomy, an expert in mathematics, and he taught himself computer programming. ... He was truly a genius.”
Harrison said the one story that sums up Goode’s ingenuity and creativity is when he broke his leg water skiing two consecutive seasons. Instead of slowing down or changing sports, he invented a different type of buoy that was safer.
When the second broken leg — which he opted to let heal without surgery — left him with a leg that “turned to the side, abnormally,” he created a special ski boot and platform to compensate for the rotation in his leg.
“It looked funny,” Harrison said. “And I’d talk to him about it, and he’d say, ‘I ski great with it.’ Anyone else would have been totally bummed, or thought their skiing couldn’t be at a high level. He was like, ‘Oh, no problem, I’ll make a new boot.’”
Goode’s drive for excellence extended to every aspect of his life.
“People know him as a water skier or skier, but he’s a world champion pingpong player,” Harrison said. “Anything the guy did, he just took it to a whole different level.”
Goode advocated for the community he loved in life, and in the wake of his death, he is mourned for his vision and his compassion. He is survived by his wife, four children and two grandchildren, as well as many whose lives are richer because of his passion and advocacy.
“It’s just heartbreaking to know,” Toliver said, “that someone so important to a community can be taken far too early.”