I have never met anyone like Tom Warnick. We first started skiing together almost ten years ago, and from day one you could tell Tom was different. On and off the snow, his flagrant style matched his recluse personality. Tom looked up to the legends of our world and successfully blended elements of their style into something that was truly his own. In turn, Tom’s divergent personality inspired a new generation of skiers and friends to look at this world in a different way.
Tom Warnick, 1991-2013. Photo by Matt Stauble.
His crude humor and satanic references provided our entire crew with years of entertainment. On the hill, Tom’s skiing was unpredictable and spontaneous. His execution was often compromised by his obsession with style and showmanship. When the stars aligned and he stomped his trick, it would stop other skiers in their tracks and leave a lasting memory of perfection. His impressive, natural athletic talent stood beside his crazy home-altered clothing setups: the combinations of shoelaces, duct tape and assortments of additional fabric, somehow came together to fit Tom’s style perfectly.
After early competition success on the east coast he later earned several full parts in the Stept films. Like most of us, Tom suffered severe knees injuries throughout his ski career; breaking his legs and having three ACL replacements. His persistence and passion for skiing allowed him to maintain top-level performance throughout his career.
Over the past year, Tom would stop by the Stept house daily to share his latest insights and unintentionally put on an epic show. When he wasn’t in school or skiing, he would spend his days sifting through unsettling Internet videos, or cruising the town on his purple moped. At night, Tom lived a life that most rockstars only dream of, and somehow he always managed to keep himself together.
Beneath his eccentric façade, Tom had a passion for writing and was working his way towards a degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado. It was always evident that Tom was linguistically talented; from his rap antics in high school to his longer written works in college, he never failed to amuse. Tom would make the smartest dumb jokes any of us have ever heard. “Chicken Pot Pie… a combination of my three favorite things,” he’d say, and then would continue talking without missing a beat.
These are the moments that Tom would never remember, but we could never forget. His unexpected passing last week took a heavy toll on his friends and family. Tom will always be remembered as a great friend and someone who wasn’t scared to break the mold.