Thoughtful and heartfelt reflections on CR Johnson

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 9, 2010 10:09 am

Some great words from Tyson Bolduc:

“It is unique I think of someone, my same age, as a legend. It is even more unique to label someone, who in all reality is so new to a sport, as a pioneer. CR Johnson is one of those people and after breaking into the ski industry at the age of 16, CR was a name I knew and respected for years.

I first met CR in Vail, CO at the US Freeskiing Open. I was new to the freeskiing scene and fresh off race skis, so the the idea of being around him and the rest of the “new” freeskiing crew was almost like being with a mythical creatures. I had seen him and a few others in the competition in the TV box just months before, so I was a little nervous. Over the next many years however, CR and I ran into each other at different industry events where we always exchanged a hello, as I respected his presence. It was not until four years ago, while we were both representing the clothing company Spyder, that I had my first time to really spend time with CR and get to know him away from the industry.

Sitting in our hotel in Boulder he told me stories about his ups, downs and crazy experiences of traveling the road as a professional skier, since the age of 16, and about his life at home. With best friends like Tanner Hall, he was in a squad of the elite, so his opinions were ardent although a little skewed from reality given his endeavors with perfunctoriness. He was untouchable; with X-games medals, pioneered moves in the half pipe, and an ability to effortlessly glissade over snow in a way other professionals admired. Having recently been humbled in a tragic accident a few seasons before, he was struggling to get back on his feet and comprehend his temporary loss of motor function. His skiing abilities did not come back to him like he had once precociously experienced, but he set his goals and attained greatness yet again. He reiterated his frustrations and told me stories of his recovery, to which I had no response and only inspired shock. Being the fervent man he was, he stuck with it and fought through his physical injuries and still pushed the sport to a level many still deem extreme only months after sustaining TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). His stories of rehab and learning how to operate as a human were nothing short of scary, but an inspiration because he had one goal which was to ski yet again. Waking up from a coma is an experience that would make the ordinary skier question their motives and actions, but for CR it was just another reason to try harder. CR went through the ups and downs of being a skier and stayed strong through it all. Not only did he learn how to walk again after his accident, but he regained the ability to yet again fly among the stars of a sport.

I had the opportunity to hang out with CR again a few weeks ago in Winter Park. While skiing (riding the chair and having lunch) we spoke of life, the ski industry, and his recent experiences that had rejuvenated his love for what life had brought him. He was elated about his girlfriend Jami, and despite his recent fallouts with some companies that had supported him for so long, he was happy with skiing on a new level. He was enjoying skiing for skiing yet again. The once cocky and brazen CR was seeing life through the eyes of a realist and seemed personally motivated, zealous, and principled. He spoke of starting his own clothing line and was euphoric, thrilled, and elated to tell me about the new ski he had designed with 4front. For lack of a better explanation of the way he left us, CR was stoked on life.

Opportunity was his vehicle and gravity was his fuel. Unfortunately, gravity is what took him from us. He was a light that had just started to find its source, and that light will be in our hearts and remembered for years to come. He was sincere and in love. He will me missed.

Rest in Peace my friend and take care of our other friends and leaders of snow sport up there who have fallen doing what they love as well:
Landon Sawyer, Billy Poole, John Nicoletta, Tobias Lee, Shane McConkey, Doug Coombs, and many more. “