http://www.giveforward.com/sarahburkeI have written and erased sentences for days trying to find words to express my thoughts/feelings on what Sarah Burke has meant to me. I feel strongly compelled to share this story. It says it all.When I was in high school I followed my older brother to Whistler, BC to attend a summer ski camp named "Momentum." This camp was located on the Blackcomb glacier and specialized in moguls and park skiing. We would wake up early and take 2 chair lifts over grass and mountain biking terrain to the last bit of snow left on the mountain. There were jumps, rails, a quarterpipe and a halfpipe. I had never skied park let alone heard of hitting rails, so you can imagine how all over the place I was on my skis that week. I tried my first 360's and slipped out on so many rails, that by the end of the week my hip was black and blue. I was a mess! But the best kind of mess there is. I was sun burnt, bruised and sore but had the biggest smile on my face. This is the week I fell in love with Freeskiing. This is also the week I found my hero, Sarah Burke.But wait... there's the twist in this story. Half way through the week I ran into a speed bump on my way to "falling for freeskiing." There were many coaches at this camp, Sarah being one of them. These were talented and impressive athletes. We all looked up to them so very much....The speed bump came when a coach (who will remain nameless) told me to stick to just skiing, that maybe park skiing wasn't for me. I was heart broken. I loved this new sport more then any sport I'd ever participated in (and I tried them all!) As I was hiking up to the top of the hill with tears in my eyes, Sarah came up to me and said something that changed my outlook. She told me to follow my dream no matter what anyone said. She believed in me fully! She was able to see past my tight and torn non stylish gear, my non twin tip skis, my amateur abilities, my lack of formal ski training and see the potential that lay within. She saw something in me that I had not even begun to see in myself. I took her words to heart and 5 years later placed 3rd at the US Freeskiing Open. That day, the same coach that doubted me in Whistler years prior approached me and complemented my skiing. Everything came full circle. He now saw the potential that Sarah saw in me years before.Frankly speaking, Sarah is the reason I am a professional skier. She not only paved the way and created a place for women in freeskiing, her friendship inspired bravery. I looked up to Sarah in every way. Her kindness and inclusion of all people lit up a room. Her dedication and drive for freeskiing is inspirational and unmatched. I will hold onto every lesson learned from her, every gift she gave me and cherish all the memories we made over the years. Today and everyday, let us be thankful for all we have in life. Let us be thankful for life itself. Let us fill up our days with passion and dedication. Let us continue to follow in her iconic footsteps. Let us be thankful for Sarah. With love and gratitude, rest in peace my beautiful friend.Trennon Paynter said it best: "She's in every snowflake, every ray of sunshine, every breeze. More than ever, now and always, I #BelieveInSarah."

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