There have been many amazing athletes that have come and gone in the rise of this “so-called sport” of snowboarding. Countless names who have pushed the bar higher and upped the ante with style, speed, amplitude, attitude, flow, and even the type of terrain each rider has chosen as his or her canvas. When you consider all of these categories, many riders stand out—from modern-day heroes like Nicolas Mueller, Pat Moore, and Travis Rice, to halfpipe pioneers like Todd Richards, Shannon Dunn, Danny Kass, Ross Powers, to street and park masters like JP Walker or “jibber” Jeremy Jones. We even have many backcountry-focused athletes like Terje Haakonsen, Bryan Iguchi, Jim Rippey, Jeremy Jones, Mikey Basich, Jamie Lynn, Noah Salasnek and female rippers like Victoria Jealouse, Tara Dakides, Tina Basich… to name a few.
We could go on and on for days, dropping names of some of the most-influential snowboarders of all time. There is no shortage. But there always seem to be one name at the top of the list when you think about the soul of snowboarding. A pioneer of halfpipe and freestyle, who became disenchanted with the hype and decided to take a bold leap out of the spotlight and focus his passion on riding in the backcountry. A passion that would ultimately take his life too soon, yet chisel a spirit into the gold tablets of snowboarding—which continue to define the greatest aspects of this “so-called sport.”
Everybody seems to agree, that we are thankful that we had Craig Kelly. The way he touched so many people’s lives, and showed us the way to the holy mecca that we call the backcountry. Whether you knew him personally, or knew him in videos and magazines, Craig Kelly has been a gift to snowboarders that keeps on giving.
Thank you Craig. You are our copilot.
Without your influence, I’m curious if Backcountry United would even exist.
*Image found on the internet, please contact us if you or someone you know took the photo. This is posted with all due respect, in honor of the inspiration that Craig Kelly has given the world.