It's a new year, and most everyone's focus is fast-forward. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, however, we'd like to take a moment and reflect on the passing of skiing legend CR Johnson.
CR is no longer with us, but his influence remains strong within the skiing community. The CRJ Memorial Fund, established after his passing in collaboration with the High Fives Foundation, continues to support injured ski-athletes all around the world. CR's untimely departure has left many wondering what they can do to lend support, so we've got a few suggestions for you.
To honor CR in 2011, you can get involved in a few different ways: First, educate yourselves about, and donate to, the High Fives Foundation. The Tahoe based organization is dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes that have suffered a life altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter action sports community. Second, check out the killer CRJ Memorial Package which was put together by 4FRNT, Smith Optics and Porters ski shop. The limited edition offer includes CR's signature ski, the I/O goggle and the Maze helmet – all with unique graphics inspired by CR's life journey. Proceeds benefit the CRJ Memorial Fund directly.
This is the perfect opportunity to wage support for CR, and to pay homage to a true skiing icon. Posted below are tributes from the original CR Retrospective posted in our October Issue. Although you may have read these in the past, their messages are as powerful as ever, and continue to illicit deep emotion.
Thanks for the support, friends.
Charles Russel Johnson III, October 8, 1983 – February 24, 2010
Photo: Nate Abbott
CR Johnson Timeline
A Brief History of CR Johnson's Career
Aug 10, 1983 — Charles Russell Johnson III is born in Truckee, California.
1985 — CR straps on his first pair of skis and starts skiing at the age of 2.
1988 – 1997 — CR grows up in a family that embraces skiing. The mountain acts as his babysitter and he spends his winter months ripping around Squaw Valley.
1999 — CR makes a statement to the freeskiing world by throwing a 1440. The news spreads throughout the freeski world. CR would soon become a household name and a pioneer of freeskiing.
1999 — CR is signed by Smith Optics and Salomon.
2001 — CR shocks skiers around the globe by landing a 130-foot bio 900 at Superpark.
2001 — Backing up his impressive film segments, CR grabs his first contest victory at the Core Games in Japan. This was the first of what would become many podium finishes throughout his career.
2002 — CR continues to make his presence known at contests. He cleans up at the US Freesking Open, placing first in Big Air and second in slopestyle. CR also releases a segment in MSP’s Ski Movie 3: The Front Line, that documents the movement of his park skills to the backcountry, a move that would help pave the way for the future of the sport.
2002 — With big contest wins and an innovative film segment already under his belt, CR is recognized and nominated for Male Skier of the Year at the ESPN Action Sports and Music Awards.
Jan 2003 — CR faces off against Candide Thovex in the legendary X Games superpipe showdown. Flying high above the pipe and throwing a 900, CR left an influence on halfpipe skiing that was much greater than any medal could warrant. Although he took third (because of a crash), his huge air and high risk tricks have become a staple of any winning halfpipe run today.
2004 — Teaming up with filmmaker Eric Iberg, CR and Tanner take their park skills to the backcountry, advancing a new discipline in the freeski scene. WSKI 106 and Pop Yer Bottlez showcase CR’s raw skiing talent and ability to transfer his progressive park skills to the backcountry with ease and style.
Dec 8, 2005 — While filming for his movie Show and Prove at Brighton Ski Resort, CR sustains a life threatening head injury. He is treated at the University of Utah Hospital, where he stayed in a a medically-induced coma for 10 days. It is uncertain if CR will ever ski again.
Jan 2006 — Over a month after the accident, CR is released from the hospital. CR is determined to start rehab and get back to the sport that he loved.
Jan 2007 — A year after his injury, CR is back on the slopes. He brings with him a positive energy and stoke that can be felt by all that ski with him. He also starts to film with multiple film production companies and competes in big-mountain competitions.
2008 — CR is picked up by 4FRNT skis as a sponsored skier and part owner. He also commences work on his new ski, the 4FRNT CRJ.
2009 — CR shares a segment with Tanner Hall and John Spriggs in the Poor Boyz Productions film, Everyday is a Saturday. The segment showcases CR slaying the backcountry and powder lines.
2009 — CR releases his pro model 4FRNT ski, the CRJ.
Jan 16, 2010 — CR takes third place at the Red Bull Linecatcher competition, proving he’s still one of the best in the biz. The event allows CR to do what he did best: creatively look at the mountain and apply his signature style to gnarly lines while going big.
Feb 24, 2010 — While skiing at his home mountain of Squaw Valley, CR catches an edge on an exposed rock in the Light Towers area above the Cornice II lift and is taken from the world.
High Fives Foundation Video