Heartbroken family and friends have paid tribute to a “wonderful” and “trustworthy” dad-of-two who tragically died on a snowboarding holiday in the French Alps.
Extreme sports enthusiast, Steven Rollett, 35, of Manor Road, Brimington, went missing on the first day of the holiday in Meribel, France, on January 31, 2015. His body was not found until more than three weeks later, on February 23.
Plumber Mr Rollett, who was described as a “competent” snowboarder, died after becoming separated from friends on an off-piste area and suffered a “headlong fall through deep powdered snow”, an inquest into his death at Chesterfield Coroner’s Court on Thursday (April 7) heard.
His wife of six years, Nicola, 43, who was not on the holiday, had been almost 30 weeks pregnant with their now 11-month-old daughter Stevie-Honor, at the time.
“He was wonderful, he was my soul mate,” Nicola said.
“We had a lovely marriage, he was caring, loyal and considerate.
“We shared a passion for our dogs, enjoyed long walks together and would go and see bands play.”
The inquest heard how Mr Rollett and six other friends, who all had various levels of experience of snowboarding, bought afternoon passes for the Three Valleys ski resort after arriving.
Sadly, Mr Rollett and pal Dale Jones, 36, became trapped in a “basin of snow” in an off-piste area.
Whilst Mr Jones, a civil engineer, got to safety and raised the alarm with the group, Mr Rollett struggled with the difficult terrain.
Mr Jones said that a skier had tried to help Mr Rollett and find him another route, but then left him. The skier has never been traced.
“I could not believe that he had left him,” Mr Jones, who said he would never snowboard again, told the court.
Mr Rollett’s dad David, 61, and mum Barbara, 59, had been on holiday in Spain. Four of the friends of Ryan Walters, 37, Matt Jones, 35, Dale Jones, 36, Philip Deverill, 41, who gave evidence at the inquest, described him as “trustworthy”.
Assistant coroner for Derbyshire, James Newman, said: “I therefore conclude that Steven Rollett died as a result of hypothermia, asphyxia and the effects of exhaustion due to a headlong fall into deep, powdered snow and a fracture to his right humerus.”
Mr Newman recorded the death as accidental.
Steven also leaves a son Bradley Annetts, 15, from a previous relationship, sister Louise Biggs, brother-in-law Gavin Biggs, uncle Ray Rollett, two nieces and a nephew.