Forums Splitboard Talk Forum A Hug For Craig Kelly’s mom
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  • #579552
    709 Posts

    Splitters…I’ve been in brief contact over the years with Craig Kelly’s mom. This came about after a bunch of douches years and years ago were being well… ass heels on a TW Snowboard blog.

    Over the years I’ll get an email from her on the anniversary of the Durrand Glacier avy(11 years ago!), and on Craigs birthday.(keep in mind…they’re not directed soley to me) and we’ll converse briefly. The loss of her son doesn’t seem to have ebbed in the slightest, and I’m wondering if any of us as a community of splitters would care to say a few words on this thread of how Craig Kelly inspired us…It could mean the world.

    As I know us older splitters..(ooops just farted dust)were influenced by Craig specifically in what he brought to the table in regards to splitboarding. I’ll never forget and always motivated by rippin some pow with Craig for a few days…

    I’ll send the link to Janet

    High Fives and Powder Slashes!

    225 Posts


    189 Posts

    Classic style and passion.

    RIP :thatrocks:

    330 Posts

    My first snowboard ever was a Burton Air Craig Kelly Pro model with purple stripes. His prime was a little before my time, but he influenced the riders that I grew up watching.

    He pushed the sport away from the contest scene, and into freeriding and into the backcountry. We are all in debt to what he did for the sport. :bow:

    1490 Posts

    Tears in my eyes…

    CK was the first true “professional” snowboarder. And then he left all that behind, headed deep into the backcountry, and then started the process to becoming the first splitboard guide. He was on a path to give back and share his stoke.

    I remember a quote from legendary Jazz/Fusion guitarist John McLaughlin when he was asked the following question:
    What would the world have been like without Miles Davis?

    “I cannot possibly imagine”

    I feel the same way about CK.

    234 Posts

    Craig Kelly inspired me with his huge style and, more importantly, the choice to pursue the pure joy of riding.

    While I can only dream of having such style, I know we share the same stoke.

    It’s surreal that I was a kid in a communist country who couldn’t get a snowboard for several years, looking up to him and now I find myself in his early stomping grounds – PNW’s Stevens, Snoqualmie Pass. Here’s an idea: next January we can have a “Remember CK” backcountry get together at Hyak, where he spent quite some time!


    I was at a buddy’s dingy apartment in Montreal in the early 90s when someone put on Scream of Conciousness (?). Watching, specifically, Craig Kelly (and Brushie) killing it at Red Mt made me get a snowboard and spend a season in Rossland, BC. Where I’ve lived, my friends, my wife, my child, and almost everything else I considor important derive from that single decision, and I’m pretty happy bout it. Thanks, Craig.

    I just spent a week in the selkirks with one of the guys I rode with back then. Life’s a trip.

    758 Posts

    Is that Doug Coombs???

    @SPLITRIPPIN wrote:

    709 Posts

    That’s Lee Usher…The main architect behind Travis Rice’s “supernatural” course and mega ski guide.

    Pretty random that I had already hired Lee for some splitboard guiding in 01’…He had to step in for another guide at Baldface, so I rode BaldFace for a week as well.

    My main memory of a couple days riding with Craig in our cat…A tail gunner asked Craig if he was going to “spin to win” on the next line… I chimed in with my usual smart ass demeanor and referenced a quote Craig said in an older video…”Craig doesn’t spin anymore…I believe he said it hurts to get out of bed the next day”…or something wise ass like that..We take off ripping, I’m chasing Craig…he hits a log jib hit…spins a BS 3..I try to follow suite, and eat mega shit! BLAM… Craig had the focus.

    864 Posts

    Not to try and steal singlewhitecavemans story, but I am sure there are MANY of us who share a simular sentiment. Craig made us want to be snowboarders, and much of our lives revolve around this.

    I grew up in the ghettos of detroit, and snowboarding and mountains where as alien as mars to me. My only exposure to was the abc wide world of sports and watching the agony of defeat guy crash on the ski jump. I wasn’t interested in much outside of ice hockey. I wasnt bad kid, but i wasnt a good one either.

    Then, in the late 80’s, I seen it… the juicy fruit commercial.

    My first day on a snowboard was 1990, and more of a backcountry session on a 100′ hill with 6 friends and 1 board between us. We hiked into the woods and took turns just trying to make it to the bottum without falling.

    “Juicy Fruit!!!!” Was our battle cry. We would all be yelling it out to pump up who ever was on deck, and then all laugh when they bit it. I imagine if anyone was around, they had no desire to come and see what a group of guys where doing at 3 am yelling juicy fruit. At this point I really had no idea who craig was.

    Since then, my life has revolved around snowboarding, and doing all I can to be as close to it, and be out as often as possible. I quit my job, and moved across the country and unintentionally landed myself in Craigs stomping grounds.

    Since I moved here, my life has never been richer. I’ve met many people who knew craig, heard many stories, and realized who the man was behind some of the biggest life decissions I have ever made. Any many of the awesome friends I have now, are cut from the same cloth. Not only do we owe craig for our passions, but for our introductions to each other.

    So, I really to give a heartfelt thankyou to craig, and to you, for bringing this joy into all our lives. Thank you for sharing your passion, and thank you for inspiring this kid to leave the a comfortable life, for a much richer one.

    I still dont who craig was. I can only imagine.

    “JUICY FRUIT!!!!”

    10 Posts

    Hello Janet,
    December 15-26 1996 I was at Island Lake Lodge in Fernie BC with your son completing the Canadian Avalanche Level one course. He drove a blue Chevy astro van with a trailer-ed snowmobile and I was super envious! Neither of us would probably let on/shout out loud at that time that it was a catalyst or beginning of a new direction if that makes sense. But I think it was for us both.
    It was incredibly humbling to hear your son’s interest in the area where I grew up and it spurred alot of conversations about various parts of BC with the vast unexplored areas with lots of snow. (and lots with terribly crappy weather specifically the North Coast LOL)
    I was only 22 at the time….yikesss…. but had snowboarded around the world and worked in the industry specifically taking an interest in the back country. During the week we were able to share stories and converse about all things back country and it was painfully clear we were both passionately determined in our pursuits!
    I have some great pictures I wanted to share with some iconic smiles (mine a wee bit sheepish…hey I was still a young buck) Alas the photo’s are back in Canada and I am currently in Christchurch on my way to Scott Base in a week or so.
    During the CAA course I also secretly took pointers on the importance of stretching!! My only wish is that I had been convinced it was cool earlier and will be sure to pass it on to my daughter when we play in the snow.
    I received the sad news of your sons passing while working at Bell 2 lodge which is adorned with numerous posters of him. Also spending some time at Baldface in Nelson its clear he will always be remembered and continue to be a positive role model. (still hard to find these days I feel)
    The BIGGEST hugs ever for you and your family

    797 Posts

    Hi Janet,

    Not knowing you and writing this in a public forum feels uneasy, but, given the opportunity, not doing so would feel wrong.

    Thank you for Craig.

    As you know, Craig is a hero to an entire generation of snowboarders; he’s the only one I’ve ever had. I once met but never really knew Craig; at the same time, I feel like I did know him, indirectly, and through so many influences, as I know many others do.

    When I was a teenager I got to take a run with Craig. We’d both been riding solo, and he asked if I wanted to take a run. He was kind, humble, outgoing, energetic, and smart–and he was old-style stoked just to ride with another snowboarder. On the lift he said stretching is important, as is staying low, having the correct stance (enough front-foot angle for heel turns), using your hips in turns, and having fun–words I still ride by. On the ride down he linked long, beautiful arcs in his classically fluid style–snowboarding like I’d never seen… I’ll never forget.

    I love the Miles Davis analogy that Barrows cites above. But even so, I can’t think of anyone more formative in their genre than Craig in snowboarding. He wasn’t our moral, but our cultural compass. He set in motion a marriage of spirit, dignity, reverence, style, humility, subversiveness, and playfulness that, perfectly, still forms snowboarding’s beating heart. He made us want not just to snowboard, but to be snowboarders; he defined what that meant. And he still does: Today’s splitboarding pilgrimage back into the mountains follows Craig’s lead fifteen or more years ago.

    To this day, when I pick up a bad body-mechanics habit or need to recalibrate my turning after a summer away from the board, I turn to YouTube just to watch Craig ride. I hold it in my mind’s eye, and it helps me correct when back on the mountain. I’m not sure there will ever be another snowboarder with such innate, fluid style.

    I could go on and on, but, again, thank you for Craig. May you find peace and solace in equal measure to all of the endless joy and inspiration that your son imparts on our lives as snowboarders season after season, storm after storm, and turn after turn.


    Monashee Powder – Craig Kelly / Dan Hudson Image:


    288 Posts

    Life is short and it’s a real treat to have experienced the freedom of self-expression backcountry snow-riding can be and what it can bring. It’s so simple yet so complicated. These are the thoughts that come to my mind when I think of craig and people like him. Thanks for bringing up the time clock split-trips…hope all is well on the homefront. Time to make some turns!!

    6 Posts

    Hi Janet, fighting back tears as I read these posts. I generally don’t say much and really never post much of anything on here but when I saw this thread I knew I just had to say something.I will be 57 years young this June and had never been in the mountains or on a snowboard until the mid 90s.I was staring at 40 but felt like I was 20 again.Being a pretty good skateboarder from the Tony Alva era,a friend took me to the top of Lone Peak in Big Sky Montana,and said your going to love this snowboard thing. Well to make long story a little shorter, It changed my life forever!The peaceful powerful serenity of the mountains and the mountain lifestyle is something that most of us on here,and your son understood very well.The fact we are all blessed with enough talent and strength to “surf the mountain” is truly the icing on the cake.As the older guy looking to magazines and videos to learn as much as I could,there was that one guy I kept seeing and going back to over and over again.It was your son,the quiet cool one, with that flowing style,I still ride today with my back knee tucked in a bit, just like Craig.I think about him often,even though I never meant him,I,we, feel a bit of a connection,through snowboarding yes, but more so through the mountains them selves.I pray these words here and the words of others are able to somehow help just a little bit, get you through another day.The loss of a son or daughter is something only those who have went threw it, can truly relate to.So here is one big hug for you Janet! Savina and Olivia too. Peace and love to you all

    61 Posts

    I’m a bit younger then say Splitrippin 😆
    And I never met Craig or knew much about him til after he was gone.
    But the way he lived his life changed mine forever.

    In 2003 I was a severely depressed alcoholic with a growing prescription pill habit. I had a job which I was hating. I really had no direction in life other then wake boarding and partying as much as possible. I had started running with a new crew that rekindled my interest in snowboarding. At some point I picked up a issue of Frequency that had a review of a movie. That movie was “el camino real”. I shot off a email to Brett and he sent me a copy of his movie. This was a documentary of Brett and Craig’s journey from Alaska to TDF.

    Holy shit! Growing up in a hard working Midwestern union family the idea that you could take two years away from the “real world” to travel the hemisphere in a van was mind blowing. It truly forever changed my world. And my outlook on what living really meant. That winter I took my avy 1 class in silverton Colorado and haven’t looked back.

    I still struggle with the responsibility of a Midwestern lifestyle VS the dream the Craig gave me of traveling the world. The traveling I have been inspired to do has cleansed my soul and opened my world.

    This is already a long rambling story. And I’m having a hard time focusing with so many thoughts running through my head.

    I will say with the utmost certainty Craig Kelly changed my life.
    El Camino Real changed my life.
    Viewing the world through a travelers eyes opened up my eyes to what life is meant to be.
    I will never be same having a new dream for my life

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