It's weird. When Cr, Shane, Pierre, many others either died or got paralyzed or otherwise injured, I didn't feel much. It was sad for everyone involved, but I just didn't feel the grief that so many others did on NS and in the freeskiing world. I had watched these guys since I started skiing, but when they passed I felt that these were the risks that were involved in an action sport and they had acknowledged them, and from time to time, someone has to go in some way or another. I didn't feel any great emotions in any direction, more empathy for their families and loved ones.
That's why it felt so weird when I heard about Sarah's injury. I don't know if I had fallen out of the loop or what, but I had no idea that she had been the one that pushed the women's side of skiing so hard during her years - into the X, Dew and finally helped it get into the Olympics, for better or worse.
To me she was a strange kind. If someone asked me right now on the spot, or even before her passing, to show me a completely positive person, she would've been one of the top choices. Although I only knew her through her video segments, and possibly an interview on the Happy Dayz DVD, she was just a girl skier to me, but always with that big, great smile on her face. I knew she maybe enjoyed reading books on the Icelantic ocean side, rubbing hot spring mud all over her face in a funny fashion, posing a bit for guy's magazine, but it somehow went deeper than that just from the pictures and videos I saw.
After her injury, while she was still laying comatose in the hospital, was when I learned how much she had actually influenced the sport from many angles, how active he was in life and how much she seemed to enjoy it. When the testimonials for her support and the marriage video with her and Rory looking so very happy started coming out, I started to understand how big of an effect she was to everyone, not just in skiing, but the people around her. One of those bubbly, happy types, infectious with her beautiful smile to all those around her. Always improving herself and helping other improve their lives through her. We needed more people like her.
So it came as a slight surprise when I read she was really gone that I cried like a baby, as if I had lost someone I knew. I wonder why other known and influential skiers' passing didn't do that to me, maybe it was a build-up, or that I'm getting older and already starting to see more loss prevail around me, but it made me feel both vulnerable and happy at the same time - she was gone, but even in death somehow, the stories of her life gave me some kind of hope, and even feelings of happiness instead of pure sadness of her demise. I wished that if there really is a better place to go after all is said and done, she was one of those who I truly felt deserved it. The raw emotion and support from such a tight-knit community also helped me see that NS is not all anger, hate, cynicism and bullshit - it is part of a larger community of skiers and those who enjoy life and want to make the best of it and Sarah if anyone was one who deserves that praise.
That article was very well done and summed up my feelings of her completely.