Craig Kelly was many things. He was a World Cup Champion several times over. He was one of the pioneers of snowboarding. He was behind the designs of some of Burton's most famous boards. He shocked the world when he gave up million dollar deals to search for the most inspiring freeriding lines. But to me, Craig Kelly was a guy who had a deep love for his sport. A guy who seemed humble yet extremely driven.
I never met Craig but felt his loss like many others in the snow sports world. The funny thing is, I am not even a snowboarder. I was one of those guys who always dis'd snowboarders and didn't like what they did to the ski hills. I didn't see Craig as just a snowboarder. More of a freerider which I guess was his point. And he had this thing about him. As Warren Miller puts it:
"To watch you on a snowboard was an inspiration to all of us"
Craig Kelly's influence even touched the catskiing realm. Craig was part owner and member of the board at Island Lake Catskiing. He is part of an alumni that includes skiing legend Scot Schmidt. Craig is also honoured with a memorial at Baldface Lodge. Even though Craig Kelly passed in 2003, I can't go through a season without someone having a conversation with me about him. He was a unique individual who left us too soon but definitely left his mark.
Thanks for the inspiration Craig.