There are people in life that you’ll remember forever. People that are more caring, giving and amazing than the rest. They are the people that make your life richer, and more worth living. Teddy Knape was one of those people. When someone leaves this world sooner than expected, like Teddy did, most will claim them to be one of the most wonderful people they’ve ever met. It can be cliché to say, but with Teddy it was just the truth. There wasn’t anything Teddy wouldn’t have done for anyone who cared about him, and there certainly were a lot of them.
Teddy Knape was a regular contributor to this site and an important part of Theory-3 Media, who he happily and proudly filmed for. He was born in Michigan in 1984 with a malfunctioning heart, a condition he lived with all his life but never appeared to slow him down, until it sadly and suddenly took him from us way too soon. He grew up shredding the slopes of Crystal Mountain, Michigan, a resort that re-named his favorite run Teddy’s Turn after his passing.
Growing up Teddy took a shining to ski filmmaking, and produced numerous films including the cult classic the State of Michigan vs. Teddy Knape, named after an incident involving Teddy protesting a ticket he and his crew received for sliding a rail. Eventually, Teddy moved west to Bellingham, Washington, where he continued to send it on the slopes of Mt Baker. It was there that he hooked up with Jeff Thomas of Theory-3 and began spending most of his winters with the likes of Erich Kunz, Zach Davison, Danny ‘Bundo’ Watts and James Heim, capturing their on and off-hill exploits in a way that only Teddy could.
Teddy enjoyed a simple life filled with simple pleasures, from hamburgers and cola after a long day of skiing to proudly brewing his own beer for his friends. He was an avid sailor and won many awards at it in his younger years, but nothing meant more to him than skiing. Teddy loved skiing more than most people I’ve met, and caused many to love it even more, myself included. When Teddy passed away while filming at the K2 Back Nine a few years ago doing what he loved most, as sad as it was, there really couldn’t have been a better way for him to go. It’s been said by people who were there that Teddy had his best day of skiing ever that day. The sun was shining, the snow was perfect, he got to ride in a helicopter for his first time and ski some lines that most will only ever ski in their dreams. On top of all that, he was getting to film and ski with the very skiers that were plastered all over his bedroom wall.
From the countless days I spent skiing with him, to the unforgettable road trips I joined him on, to the ridiculous nights of partying I shared with him, Teddy was just a joy to be around and an absolute pleasure to be friends with. He was quite possibly the nicest person I’ve ever met, he loved to have a good time, and he truly lived life to the fullest. He is gone, but not forgotten, and I, along with anyone who was close with him, think about him every day and will never stop missing him until I get to see him again, which I truly believe I will.
Cynthia Knape (Teddy's mom), Paul Knape (Teddy's brother) and Bill Knape (Teddy's dad)
In his honor, Crystal Mountain now hosts the Teddy Knape Film Festival, which takes place every year around the holidays and shows films from Theory-3 and others, including some of Teddy’s earlier works. The festival, which is getting bigger and bigger every year, is put together by his loving family, who are all just as amazing as Teddy was. – Jeff Schmuck
The Teddy Knape Film Festival: The Sequel went off this past Saturday at Crystal Mountain Michigan. The 2nd annual event was held once again to commemorate and remember the one and only Teddy Knape. The festival started off with a showing of Theory-3’s new movie PNW, a company Teddy spent his last few years filming for. PNW was followed up by Level 1’s Realtime as well as Teddy’s segment from his own classic movie, The State of Michigan vs. Teddy Knape. The films were well received by the 150-person audience as well as guest pros Greg Tuffelmire and Jon Mercon. In addition to the premieres, this year the top two videos of an amateur film contest were added to the mix of videos. All in all the films made up a nice variety of skiing and editing styles ranging from racing to park and rap to techno.
a quiver of Teddy's many friends come out for the event
The event itself was a charity event for the Michigan Adaptive Skier Association. Audience members could buy raffle tickets for various prizes and all the proceedings from the ticket sales went to the Adaptive Skier Association. Big prizes in the raffle included: three homemade ski chairs that were made by Bill Knape (Teddy’s Father), Paul Knape (Teddy’s Brother) and John Smolenski (Teddy’s Uncle).
Peter (Teddy's brother, seated) with Sean (Teddy's cousin), Bill (Teddy's dad) and event organizers Sandi & Carol
Also up for grabs were a pair of K2 Fujitives and a pair of Dynastar Big Troubles. Along with these major prizes there was an abundance of swag and goodies for everyone. This special event in memory of Teddy Knape not only encourages filmmaking and skiing but helps the Adaptive Skier Association get more kids out on the slopes enjoying themselves, just as Teddy did for countless friends. – Jim Knape
we miss you Teddy!