Craig Kelly / 1 April 1966 – 20 January 2003

Komentáře nejsou povoleny | This entry was posted on Úno 15 2011

Craig spent a lot of time at the Pac West ski area Hyak, WA in 1985-86. He used to come up on Mondays when the ski area was closed and would set up gates with some of the workers and run them using a snowmobile to get back and forth. The first snowboard contest held at Hyak (85-86 season)…he also won. It was done in conjunction with another founder of the sport, Bob Barci

He shocked the snowboard industry by walking away from multi-million dollar deals at the height of the snowboard craze to pursue his passion for „freeriding,“ at the time an unheard of strategy for a pro snowboarder. It was in the mountains where Craig felt the happiest.

The distinctive fluid manner in which he rode was recognized and acclaimed in the snowboarding community. He was called a „style master“ by Snowboard Magazine editor Jon Foster. Kelly also appeared in an enormous number of video and photo shoots. He was known for looking straight at the camera, even in the midst of a difficult aerial manoeuvre. Craig was a Sims Snowboards team rider for a few years early in his career, but spent most of his life riding for Burton Snowboards owned by Jake Burton Carpenter.

Photo by Bud Fawcett

Burton Mystery Air. Craig Kelly Pro between 1990-1993

The Craig Kelly World Snowboard Camp was created to help kids improve their snowboarding skills. From 1988 to 1992 it was located in Whistler Blackcomb and operated by his former wife Kelly Jo Legaz.Craig was responsible for the design and development of the following Burton signature models: The Mystery Air, The Craig Kelly Air, The CK Slopestyle, The Cascade, and The Omen. Jake Burton is quoted as saying, “When I started listening to Craig that was when my company became successful and really took off.” He added, “… when the rest of the industry listened to Craig, that was when the sport really took off.”

He took 14 months off to travel from Alaska to Chile with his partner Savina and two friends for adventure, surfing and living. He returned from his journey with his new baby Olivia, as a „souvenir“ he said, from his trip.

Photo by Bud Fawcett

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He died on 20 January 2003 near Revelstoke, British ColumbiaCanada in an avalanche which trapped 8 people and killed 6 others. Kelly was studying to become a Certified Canadian Mountain Guide with two groups of backcountry adventurers organized by Selkirk Mountain Experience. The ski touring group was properly equipped and prepared for avalanches; the weekly bulletin warned of considerable risk in the area at the time.

Filmmaker Jacques Russo created „Let It Ride“ a documentary on Craig Kelly’s life as a tribute to his friend and subject of so many of his films: Smooth Groove, Board with The World, Scream of Consciousness, and Fear of A Flat Planet.

The method is the medium. Craig Kelly at Park West, Utah. PHOTO: Rod Walker

Let it Ride 1994

„There’s just a feeling you get from certain things you do in life that just kind of feel pure and independent of what’s actually, physically, going on. All of a sudden you have this feeling of clarity. Backcountry snowboarding has really done a lot to boost that feeling in me,“ he told MountainZone in 2000.

„What I do, my experience and what I do in snowboarding, is really pretty independent of (professional) snowboarding and the more independent it is, the more pure and better I feel about snowboarding.“

Let it Ride is a documentary about snowboarding legend Craig Kelly and his history in snowboarding, freestyle and big mountain riding.

Tex, Tom, and Craig in Alaska

Craig Kelly is my copilot…

Burton’s Craig Kelly Proto Facility

“Nothing beats snowboarding at a mountain that offers the right lines. Whether it’s hopping rocks, jumping cliffs, board-sliding the nearest strip of metal or wood, simply carving a nice bank or popping an air over a small knoll, freeriding is where it’s at. Whenever the conditions allow, my snowboarding objective is to use the mountain to its fullest potential.” –Craig Kelly

Terje and Mike Ranquet open the Craig’s lab P: Laura Austin

P: Laura Austin

P: Laura Austin

P: Laura Austin

P: Laura Austin

P: Laura Austin

Now, 8 years after Craig’s passing Burton Snowboards continues to grow their commitment to rider driven products, an initiative which above all other reasons prompted Craig to begin the relationship in 1989, with the opening of the Craig Kelly Proto Facility. Located adjacent to the Burton headquarters in So. Burlington, VT. This state of the art R&D lab includes all of the tooling and machinery to take virtually any board or binding from concept to rideable prototype in less than 24 hours. This includes everything from cores and sidecuts, to highbacks and heelcups. Even graphical tangents can be exploited within this space as high tech screening machines and laser printers spew forth the latest work ups.

Text: Pat Bridges, photo: Laura Austin

Craig Kelly interview

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