Cover photo for John Steven Platt's Obituary

John Steven Platt

John Steven Platt

All who loved John Steven Platt will tell you that he was a legend long before his last adventure on February 8th, 2022. At 66 years old, John had built a legacy as both a learner and teacher. He was eager to share his experience and encyclopedic knowledge as a renowned mountaineer, cyclist, and skier; as a son, brother, husband, father, and proud grandfather; and as a mentor to enough friends to last several lifetimes.

Born in Illinois, John was the second of four children to grow up chasing their father Richard’s Forest Service career around Oregon. By the time John rode his one-speed Sears bicycle over McKenzie Pass at the age of 9, he was giving his parents both grief and glimpses of the adventurous man he would become. The Platts transitioned from Eugene, OR to Boise, ID in the late 1960s, where John found a band of ragtag classmates moonlighting as climbers and cyclists. With them, he grew his love for both wild places and wild music (including a lifelong affinity for Zappa). John proudly graduated early from Boise High School for college, but really—and more importantly—he just wanted the freedom to ride his bike.

For much of the 1970s, John could be found “on belay” in the Sawtooth Mountains and working out of the first of many vans. But it turned out he was pretty good on two wheels, too: John transitioned into the 1980s as a professional cyclist with wins at the Bogus Basin Hill Climb and various USCF-licensed criteriums. He was even named to the U.S. National Team for the later-boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympics. Yet, the greatest prize of these halcyon years was his first daughter Mariel, born in 1982 to John and his first wife. John began a tradition of using his children as training weights until they were old enough to hike and ride, and Mariel would go on to accompany John on many adventures, including mountains near (e.g., Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier) and far (e.g., Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba, and several in the Bolivian Andes).

In the early 1980s, John got into the business side of recreation: he opened Idaho Mountain Touring in 1984, where he met Julie McFarlane. He left IMT to join Julie at Collins Cycle Shop in Eugene before the two moved to Bend, OR where he also managed the Nordic program at Mt. Bachelor. John was a sensational ski instructor and later competed in Nordic ski racing. John married Julie in 1989, and the two spent a total of 37 beautiful years loving and living their lives to the fullest.

John finally began working for Trek Bicycle Corporation in 1990, where he climbed the ladder from wrenching to writing. While living in Wisconsin, John and Julie welcomed his second daughter Jasmine in 1993. The three returned to make a home in Boise, where John worked for Trek remotely. John took Julie and Jasmine on countless hikes and backpacking trips to awestriking places, making his habitual “peak bagging” a family occasion. Using his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Technical Communication, he continued to craft product safety manuals and consult on cases. Meanwhile, he began a side project that became his magnum opus—splattski.com—immortalizing his many adventures and the countless friends and family members lucky (or coerced) enough to accompany him for the next 20+ years.

After Jasmine graduated from high school, John and Julie made the long-anticipated move to McCall, ID, where John worked hard and played even harder in his new backyard winter wonderland. In 2017, John welcomed two new loves of his life: his grandson, Ansel Miller, and his dog Ruby, with whom he would become inseparable. He briefly instructed Technical Communication at Boise State adjunct and supported his family members still stuck in college. After 30 years with Trek, John retired in 2020.

In his retirement, he pledged his time and endless energy to Valley County Search and Rescue, Idaho Trails Association, and anyone—everyone—who could rely on John for his skill, wisdom, and intellectual witticisms, much of which he absorbed from his notorious consumption of any book within reach.

John Platt was a permanent fixture in his community and among his friends; he was the love of Julie’s life; he was foundational to his two daughters who are lucky to inherit his best traits; and he was always ready to help others achieve their dreams and get people back on their feet again—both figuratively and literally.

John is preceded in death by his mother, Patricia Malone Platt; he is survived by his wife Julie Platt of McCall, ID and daughter Jasmine Platt of Boise, ID; his daughter Mariel Miller (husband Jason Miller) of Fort Collins, CO, and his grandchildren Ansel Miller, Claire Miller, and Hayden Miller of Fort Collins, CO; his father Richard Platt (wife Shelley Platt) of McCall, ID; his brother Daniel Platt (wife Lena Platt) of Alhambra, CA; his brother Tom Platt (wife Susan Platt) of Boise, ID; his niece Mackenzie Platt (partner Reid Tokarz) of Boise, ID and nephew Chris Platt of Denver, CO; his sister Cathleen Mital (husband David Mital) of Carson City, NV; and his niece Jenny Mital (husband Dylan Cockerham ) of Redmond, WA and nephew Nathan Mital of Kapu’au, HI.

John was a true Renaissance man who left our world doing what he loved: skiing with friends, and with Ruby, on a cloudless February day. John asked his questions with his boots, and he found his answers in quiet curtains of snowfall, in the music of glacial creeks, in the theatrical stage of windswept summits, and in the echoes of friends’ laughter at lakeside camps. As he wrote on his website: “Don't be in a hurry. Don't worry so much about getting to the top. It's the going, not the getting there, that will free your soul.”

In lieu of flowers, please consider volunteering with an organization that keeps our wild spaces clean and accessible. If you’d like to make a monetary donation, please contribute to John’s treasured Idaho Trails Association or Valley County Search and Rescue. Plans are currently underway for a celebration of John’s life to be held in late spring or early summer: please contact Jasmine Platt at JohnPlattMemorialProject@gmail.com for more information or technical assistance in making charitable contributions.

To read more about John’s life, please see the full article on page 1A of Thursday’s edition of the Idaho Statesman (February 17, 2022)

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Steven Platt, please visit our flower store.

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