Friday, February 26, 2010

CR Johnson: The Passing of a Legend

August 10, 1983 - February 24, 2010

CR Johnson, one of the most influential skiers of our time, passed away this past Wednesday afternoon.

From what I've been able to piece together from friends and reports, CR was skiing at Squaw Valley on the Light Towers run, off the Headwall lift. Apparently, CR snagged a rock as he dropped in, went over the handlebars and struck a rock. Ski patrol instantly responded to the scene and tried to resuscitate him. Despite the fact that CR was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, his injuries were too severe and he passed away.

I've been trying to write about CR's death since I first learned of it Thursday. But every time I sit down to try and write something, I just end up staring at a blank screen. I'm overcome with sadness and grief as I try to choke back the tears. It's tough for me to make sense of this. Why did such an amazing person have to be taken away so early. Unfortunately, no amount of pondering this question is providing any answers though.

I first met CR back in 2007 on a shoot in Terrace, British Columbia with Matchstick Productions. I'd been following CR's career for years prior to this trip and I was honored that I would get the chance to work with him. Over the course of that trip, I got to know CR, not just as an athlete, but as a friend as well. Since that trip, I had the privilege of meeting up with CR on several other occasions to get out and ski and shoot photos.

CR was an amazing person. He was always so stoked... on everything. He had such a positive outlook on life. Back in 2005, CR suffered a traumatic head injury in a ski crash. He was induced into a coma and spent over a month in the ICU. That crash nearly ended CR's days of skiing. But his strong will and love of skiing wouldn't allow that. He made a full comeback in less than two years time. But the accident had a tremendous impact on him and the way he chose to live his life. He was so thankful for everything that he had... his friends, his family, and the blessings that this life had given him.

As I proof read this post, I realize that I am not a writer. My words don't do CR justice. The impact that he had on my life and countless others just isn't conveyed in my words. If you'd like to read more details on CR, his career and his impact on the sport, I'd recommend checking out the articles by Jeff Schmuck of Newschoolers, Chris Jerard of Freeskier and Johny Stifter of Powder. These guys have a better way with words than I do.

But I wanted to make this post to try and contribute what I could... to pass along what I'm good at... photos. In this post, I'm attaching a handful of the images I got to create with CR during the 3 years I got to work with him. He was an insanely talented skier. He contributed so much to how park and pipe skiing are perceived today. His career, although all too short, was nothing short of miraculous.

CR was an incredible individual... one I will never forget. I learned a lot from CR in the brief time that I knew him. And I think we all can learn something from CR if we take a second to look in on our own lives. What are you most thankful for? What brings you joy in your life? Answer that question and try and make it a point to enjoy those things every day. Make it a point to tell those you are close to, how much they mean to you.

I'm going to miss you buddy. You were an incredible person. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

“Live your life, love your life. Don’t regret… Live, learn, and move forward positively.” -CR Johnson

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Just a quick update from the field. I haven't had a lot of time recently to post to the blog. While I've been trying to make a post at least once a week, I feel like I've been failing at that goal recently. The reason... because work's been busy.

But before it gets any later and I don't make a post for this week, let's take care of that right now. Currently, I'm sitting in Austria in the Defereggental Valley at St Jakobs on a shoot for Salomon with athletes Cody Townsend and Elyse Saugstad.

We've been here two days so far. The area is absolutely beautiful. The first two days of the trip have been spent scouting terrain and exploring the area. We've got a lot to work with and now we're trying to figure out where to shoot each location and how to best pull everything

I'll continue to post more as the trip progresses. But for now, enjoy a few of the shots from our scouting missions.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fundraiser for Northwest Avalanche Center

It may be old news, but I still thought this worth mentioning in a post. Two weekends ago (January 23rd), I got to help participate in a charity fundraiser for the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC).

For anyone note familiar with NWAC, they are an organization that helps promote backcountry safety in Washington and Oregon through education of avalanches and adverse weather. I've used NWAC as a valuable tool for years in helping forecast weather for planning shoots. Additionally, I turn to their avalanche forecast every time I go skiing in the Cascades, to ensure that I know what's going on in the snowpack.

So, when the opportunity came along to help raise money for the NWAC, I jumped at it. With the help of Crystal Mountain, we put on a slideshow of my photos and followed it up with a showing of the newest Warren Miller movie, Dynasty (part of which was filmed at Crystal last year). The event was further helped by donations from Helly Hansen, Ride Snowboards, K2, Smith and a handful of other companies. A huge thanks to all of them.

All in all, the event was a huge success and we were able to raise some much needed funding for NWAC. I hope to continue working on projects like this, where I can try and give a little back to the industry that has given me so much.