Obituary: Robert Walter Rule

Rule obit.jpg
Posted at 12:13 PM, Feb 19, 2024

Robert Walter Rule, 68, the man who could lift, fix, or build anything, the man who was a rock for his family and friends, passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones as a snow squall moved over his Bozeman, Montana, home the evening of February 9, 2024.

Born March 29, 1955, Bob was diagnosed with peritoneal carcinoma in the fall of 2022. He courageously fought the disease for 16 months, racking up power days on his Icon Pass at various ski areas, skiing locally at Bridger Bowl and Big Sky and exploring new and old mountain biking trails in Utah, Colorado, and Montana until late last year.

His passing has left a void in so many people’s lives. We are sad about all the things he will miss out on with us moving forward, and we are sad about how much we will miss out on not having him around in person. He spearheaded many memorable adventures—from bike trips on the White Rim to ski trips on the Powder Highway.

Nobody liked to laugh and make others laugh more than Bob. He also liked to laugh at himself. Everyone who knows Bob has a Bob story. He was humble, he was witty, and he was generous.

He was a great friend, a best friend, to so many people in Durango, Colorado, where he resided from 1979 to 2014, and to his Bozeman tribe at Highline Partners where he was employed after moving to Montana. Friends describe him as a big kid with a huge heart in a man’s body. Many consider him a big brother they never had.

Above all, Bob was an amazing husband, father, and brother.

Bob met his wife, Carrie Springer, of Bozeman, in 2008. After a whirlwind winter romance, they married four months later, on the summer solstice at Bridger Bowl. Bob welcomed Carrie’s daughter, Annika Odt, into his life and his home near the base of Purgatory Resort. He was a guiding, loving, and influential force in Annika’s life for the past 16 years. Bob is the love of Carrie’s life and her best friend.

Born and raised in San Diego, Bob excelled at sports, especially football. He was an all-star athlete in high school as a linebacker/center and at Madison High School in San Diego. After high school, Bob played for Mesa College in San Diego before transferring to the University of S.W. Louisiana where he played for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Bob was a builder by trade. He honed his skills as a young athlete pouring concrete and pounding posts for preseason training. After leaving college and an unsuccessful bid to play pro football, he started a successful construction company - Cal/Co Framing - that he ran for 30 years in Durango until relocating to Montana in 2014 where he was employed by Martel Construction and, most recently, Highline Partners.

Bob’s love of the mountains and athleticism led to his greatest endeavor of all. His passion for skiing, snow science, and route finding, combined with his entrepreneurial spirit and determination to ski powder, propelled him to start the San Juan Ski Company, Colorado’s largest snowcat skiing operation. Founded in 1997, Bob was involved with all aspects of the operation since its inception, both on the skiing and operational side. He grew the company into a well-respected winter destination before selling the business in 2014.

Bob is survived by his wife, Carrie; stepdaughter, Annika; his brother, John Rule of San Diego; and half-sister, Sandy Nava of Del Dios, California. He is preceded in death by his mother, Carol Jean Rule (Burr); father, Gilbert Raymond Rule; and stepdaughter, Arynn Abbott.

The family wants to thank Crosscut Mountain Sports Center for allowing e-bikes to travel on the area’s extensive mountain bike trails. As Bob’s disease progressed, an e-bike allowed him to continue a sport he loved.

A celebration of Bob’s life will be held this fall in Moab. Stay in touch for details….

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. Visit [] for Bob’s memorial slideshow.