Craig Kelly was unquestionably a legend, a pioneer, a masterful artist and above all an insightful and intuitive human who was lost too soon.
January 21, 2016 marked the 13th year since Kelly passed away tragically in an avalanche guiding a backcountry mission near Revelstoke, BC, according to Transworld Snowboarding.
While inducting him into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2013, they said, "nobody ever, in the history of snowboarding has meant so much to so many people [as Kelly did]."
He is often considered the best snowboarder ever with four world championships and three US Open championships, according to Wikipedia.
For me, Kelly transcended the boundaries of skiing versus snowboarding and embodied the essence of adventure and raw experience with the natural world that most of us seek as mountaineers. His existence was inspirational; he led by example and set the path of the future of free ride snowboarding.
7 Things Craig Kelly said best
#1: “I think we are nature, I think we naturally fit into the scheme of nature, but we create our lives in such a way that we start fighting nature and we start fighting the way of the universe. Sometimes, when I’m out there snowboarding I feel like I line myself back up.”
#2: “I’m there at that moment, living for that moment, living as purely as I can possibly be, and it’s one of the few times I can really find total happiness because I’m on my snowboard.”
#3. “I’ve had somebody explain it to me, that what I do, it’s an escape from real life, it’s a way that I can go out there and just be on my own terms and escape the harshness of reality. But to me, rather than an exit from something els, it’s really an entrance to where everybody should feel with their life. It’s like you’re really in tune with the type of person you want to be and you’re comfortable with who you are, your position within the environment, and the world and everything that defines you... it seems to be all lined up where it should be.”
#4: “Paradise always seems like it’s just around the corner, like the next trip I'm going to do or the next run I’m going to take, maybe even the next turn I’m going to take. I never really feel like I’m completely there. I guess that’s just within myself to figure out.”
#5: "It's kind of a weird balance of things out there... people lose their lives all the time up there trying to get that peak, and I like the fact that it’s that illusive.”
#6: “Snowboarding can be like playing, but to me it’s just more like living… snowboarding is just like living because you have fun moments and harsh moments, you get scared, some days it seems like you’re just working, and sometimes you’re just having fun."
#7: “As a general rule, it’s better to just be living for the moment, because if you plan ahead, you might just not make it that far.”
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