C. R. Johnson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
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 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.


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]


In 1999, Johnson emerged on the freeskiing scene when he successfully landed a 1440.[clarification needed][1] The skiing community quickly recognized CR as a talented young star who could help progress free skiing.[2] CR 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, CR 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, CR won silver in slopestyle.[4] In addition to his medals, ESPN Action Sports nominated CR 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, CR might have gotten Gold over Candide Thovex.[1] Regardless of the results, CR 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, CR 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, CR 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]


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]


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]


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]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Jared, Christopher. "CR JOHNSON - A EULOGY." Freeskier. Freeskier Magazine, 25 Feb.2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2010 Archived March 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c d e f CATHY, and JUDY LIN. "C.R. Johnson DEAD: Died In Horrific Ski Crash." THE HUFFINGTON POST. N.p., 25 Feb. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2010
  3. ^ a b Higgins, Matt. "C. R. Johnson, X Games Medalist in Free Skiing, Dies at 26." New York Times. N.p., 25 Feb. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f X-Games Skier C.R Johnson Dies In Fall (Biography)." RIGHTFIELDERS. RightPundits, 25 Feb. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "CR JOHNSON'S MOVIE SEGMENTS." Freeskier Skiing's Independent Magazine. N.p., 25 Feb. 2010. Web. 9 Mar. 2010 Archived 2010-03-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ a b c d e Maletz, Jonathan. "The long road back." The Aspen Times. N.p., Oct. 2006. Web. 1 Mar. 2010
  7. ^ a b c d e f "A RECAP OF CR'S RECOVERY FROM HIS 2005 INJURY." Freeskier Skiing's Independent Magazine. N.p., 25 Feb. 2010. Web. 8 Mar. 2010 Archived 2010-03-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Dave, Digital. "C.R. JOHNSON RECAPS HIS SEASON." Freeskier Skiing's Independent Magazine. N.p., 29 May 2007. Web. 8 Mar. 2010 [permanent dead link].
  9. ^ Wright, Sylas. "Learning Old Tricks." Sierre Sun. N.p., 25 Nov. 2007. Web. 1 Mar. 2010
  10. ^ "CR JOHNSON PASSES AWAY IN SKI ACCIDENT." Freeskier Magazine. N.p., 24 Feb. 2010. Web. 28 Feb. 2010 Archived 2010-02-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Do the deaths of Squaw Valley's skiers amount to a curse? - ESPN
  12. ^ Eulogy from CR Johnson memorial