For over 15 years, Craig Kelly has left an indelible mark
on the sport of snowboarding. Craig's career recently evolved
into backcountry guiding where he was based primarily in
British Columbia. Over the weekend, Craig was guiding a group
of skiers and riders in the Revelstoke area of British
Columbia. The group was caught in an avalanche. Tragically,
Craig Kelly and six others did not survive.
World News Coverage on the Avalanche
Craig's riding style, ideas and passion helped define
snowboarding and influenced the sport and industry in
innumerable ways. Craig was a four-time World Champion, a
three-time U.S. Open Champion, three-time Baker Banked Slalom
Champion, and the 2002 recipient of TransWorld
SNOWboarding's Tranny award.
Snurfer Founder Sherman
Poppen with Craig Kelly and Jake Burton Carpenter.
"I can't think of a bigger loss to the sport, and to all of
us personally," says Jake Burton. "Craig was the epitome of
core: to be World Freestyle Champion four times and rule the
sport the way he did was a huge accomplishment, but to retire
from competing and go on to become a backcountry guide says
far more about him. He is the rider who put professionalism
into team riding, and then later demonstrated his passion
by dedicating his life to the sport. I know Craig would want
us to respect the loss of the other victims as much as him.
I'm sure that for Craig that was the toughest part along
with leaving Savina and Olivia."
"I met Craig in 1989," says Terje Haakonsen. "He was my
inspiration before I met him. When I finally met him he turned
out to be the best possible role model. He has always been the
mentor for my friends and me. Not just because of his
snowboarding, but also for his lifestyle and love for the
mountains. I don't know anybody else that loved mountain
riding as much as he did. Nor do I know anybody who had the
style and grace coming down the mountain. Having Craig leaving
us, he will still be my greatest mentor."
Dave Downing also had this to say about Craig. "Craig Kelly
is not only my friend, but a hero and a mentor of mine in
snowboarding. I was totally freaked out the first time I went
riding with Craig. I couldn't believe that I was riding with
my hero, and he was so nice and down-to-earth. Watching him
ride was like watching water flow down a river. When we were
out in the backcountry, he wasn't into taking risks, but
taking the path of least resistance and riding the smoothest.
I will miss Craig very much, but I will always remember the
sound of him riding down a powder-filled mountain. All you
could hear was him breathing, absolutely feeling every part."
Craig Kelly was 36 years old and is survived by his
daughter, Olivia and partner, Savina. TransWorld
SNOWboarding and the entire Burton family deeply mourns
his loss and extend our sympathies to all the families and
friends touched by this tragedy. Donations in memory of Craig
Kelly can be sent to the Canadian Avalanche Association, P.O.
Box 2759, Revelstoke, B.C., Canada, V0E 2S0 or via the web at
http://www.avalanche.ca in the sales and products section.
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