C. R. Johnson

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C. R. Johnson
Personal information
Birth name Charles Russell Johnson III
Nickname(s) C.R. Johnson
Nationality American
Born (1983-08-10)August 10, 1983
Truckee, Lake Tahoe California
Died February 24, 2010(2010-02-24) (aged 26)
Squaw Valley, California, U.S.
Website Official MySpace
Sport
Sport Freeskiing

Charles Russell Johnson III ( August 10, 1983 – February 24, 2010) was a professional skier and a pioneer in the freeskiing movement.[1] He became a top competitor and a favorite in ski films and was known for his progression, fearlessness, and passion for skiing.[2] Johnson died in 2010 in a ski accident.

Childhood[edit]

C.R. Johnson was born and raised in Truckee, Lake Tahoe California.[3] He grew up skiing Squaw Valley Resort, a world-class ski area that is known for its extreme terrain.[3] At Squaw Valley, Johnson spent his time lapping the terrain park and charging difficult chutes and bowls.[2] Johnson quickly developed a large range of tricks and excellent big mountain skills.[2] In addition to skiing, Johnson enjoyed surfing, fly-fishing, traveling, and spending time with close friends and family.[4]

Career[edit]

In 1999, Johnson emerged on the freeskiing scene when he successfully landed a 1440.[1] The skiing community quickly recognized Johnson as a talented young star who could help progress free skiing.[2] Johnson was a fearless skier willing to try any tricks and ski any backcountry lines.[1] His passion for skiing and dedication to improve propelled him to become one of the best free skiers in the world.[1] In 2001, Johnson placed first at the Core Games quarter pipe in Japan and podiumed at the Big Air Winter X Games in Mount Snow, Vermont.[4] The following year at the 2002 Winter X Games, Johnson won silver in slopestyle.[4] In addition to his medals, ESPN Action Sports nominated Johnson for Male Skier of the Year.<[4] In 2003, Johnson won bronze at Winter X Games Superpipe.[4] If it was not for him crashing on the lip of the pipe, Johnson might have gotten Gold over Candide Thovex.[1] Regardless of the results, Johnson exemplified the future of half-pipe skiing by launching 20 feet above the pipe’s walls and landing technical tricks with many spins and intricate grabs.[1] During this period, Johnson also spent time filming and producing ski segments with action sport producers like Matchstick Productions, Poor Boyz Productions, and Teton Gravity Research.[5] From 1999 until 2004, Johnson had a significant role in many ski films.[5] Some of his most notable segments were in films called “Front Line,” “Focused,” and “WSK 106.” [5]

Injury[edit]

On December 8, 2005, Johnson was filming his latest movie, Show and Prove, when he suffered a life-threatening injury.[6] He was skiing at Brighton Ski Resort in Utah on a powder day, when he and Kye Peterson, along with the snowboarders Zach Siebert & Tommi Ylianttila, launched off natural features under the Millicent chair, one after another.[6] Johnson being the first one to descend stopped after landing an air to collect his gear, when Kye Peterson struck him right below his helmet.[6] The impact knocked Johnson unconscious for about three minutes.[7] When help arrived he was immediately sedated and flown to the University of Utah Hospital.[7] There he was put into intensive care but his recovery was questionable.[6] For 10 days, Johnson remained in a medically induced coma.[7] However on December 18, 2005, Johnson opened his eyes halfway.[7] Eight days later Johnson began whispering, eating, and moving both sides of his body.[7] He was then moved out of the critical care unit to a neural rehabilitation unit, where he began speech, physical, and occupational therapy.[7] After being hospitalized for 34 days, Johnson was finally able to return home.[6]

Comeback[edit]

Johnson was determined to start skiing again.[1] He was not going to let his life-threatening injury prevent him from doing what he loved.[8] In 2007, Johnson began the ski season with the attitude and mindset that he would return to his original form.[8] That November and December he spent six weeks in Colorado training half-pipe.[8] Unfortunately, Johnson had a hard time progressing and decided he was not strong enough to compete.[8] He then spent time traveling to different competitions, heli-skiing in British Columbia, and filming with Matchstick Productions.[8] At the end of the year, Johnson had overcome many mental hurdles and reestablished a new direction for his ski career.[8] He decided to concentrate on filming and progressing his backcountry skiing.[8] In 2008 and 2009, Johnson continued to travel and film with several ski production companies.[9] He continued to improve and in 2010 Johnson placed third at the Red Bull Line Catcher event in France.[4]

Death[edit]

On February 24, 2010, at age 26, Johnson died skiing at Squaw Valley Ski Resort in the Light Towers area.[10] He had chosen an extreme rocky line to go down the mountain and caught an edge on an exposed rock which caused him to fall .[2] Medical assistance arrived several minutes after the incident but pronounced him dead on the scene.[2] His death had significant impact throughout the freeskiing, mountain sport, and especially in the Squaw Valley community which has lost several high profile athletes near the end of the decade.[11] A funeral service was held March 5, 2010.[12]

References[edit]