Travis Pastrana: Erik Roner ‘had a group of people who always wanted to be around him’
Friends and family were working Tuesday evening on memorial services for 39-year-old Erik Lars Roner; details will be published as they are made available at SierraSun.com.
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Sierra Sun spoke Tuesday evening with Nitro Circus founder and Motocross legend Travis Pastrana regarding the tragic death this week of Tahoe City’s Erik Roner.
Roner, 39, died in a skydiving accident Monday near Squaw Valley ski resort.
“The thing about action sports … it’s tough, but what (Erik) was so great at, it was his charisma and his attitude,” said Pastrana, his voice breaking from time to time. “The thing that was great is he was someone … you know, it’s always easy to say great things about someone after they’re gone … but what was really great about Erik, was he was someone who had such a connection. With skiing, he was really, really good, but it’s tough to make a living skiing, but he was so good, and he had his sponsors, he had is followers, he had a group of people who always wanted to be around him.”
Pastrana spoke by phone Tuesday night from Los Angeles, where he and Nitro Circus members had just finished filming for an appearance on Tuesday night’s The Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS.
The 31-year-old Maryland native spoke fondly of when he approached Roner several years ago “because of his reputation in BASE jumping,” as he wanted to add the BASE element into the Nitro Circus mix of action-sports stunts.
“With Nitro, we came to Erik because we needed some help, because we always want to be as safe a possible. With (Erik), we knew we had the best teacher, and the best personality,” Pastrana recalled with a laugh. “Within 20 minutes, we’re like, dude, he’s on it. He was just able to motivate everyone, right away.”
“That’s why this is all so surreal for me still,” he continued, his voice again cracking. “Erik was always our most calculated member, he was someone that we all trusted with our lives. We didn’t BASE jump a lot, and we went to him for everything — and I’m talking every single person in Nitro … For any BASE jump for the show, Erik just took us right through it. He was the one that packed all the parachutes, that gave us the advice, he had so much knowledge … everything was so calculated, and for him, for this to go wrong, on a skydive … it, it sucks.”
Pastrana also took time on the phone Tuesday to speak of Roner’s son, Oskar, and daughter, Kasper, and how great of a father he was to them, and a husband to his widow, Annika.
“On our last Nitro tour in Europe — we try to bring our families on tour now — with Kasper being so young, (Erik) rented his own bus and brought his family on the whole tour for the shoot,” Pastrana recalled, referencing this summer’s tour that hit countries like Croatia. “I mean, he spent his entire paycheck he made on Nitro (on that tour) so his family could be with us.
“That was pretty cool … he never thought about the financial side — he was always just a good father and husband.”
Pastrana said he and several Nitro Circus crew members were flying to Tahoe to be with Roner’s friends and family on Tuesday night.
A memorial fund has been established for the Roner family. Visit road2recovery.com/cause-view/erik-roner-fallen-hero in order to make a tax-deductible donation to Erik’s wide, Annika, and their two children.