There's a moment many younger skiers have had, myself included: It's early evening,you just got back from school, or work, and you come across a video for the first time that absolutely blows your mind. You go back, and watch your favorite parts over and over again, just breathing in the style, the technique, enjoying the talent you just witnessed. Then you scroll down to the comments and see a couple of these:
Happy shredding in the endless powder fields
Heroes get remembered but legends never die
It's a weird feeling finding out that same guy you were just stoked on isn't in this world anymore, whether it was a ski accident, drunk driver or any other awful misfortune that befell such a rocking individual. It's not like you knew the guy personally, so what do you feel? Psychology shows that people grieve when a celebrity they never knew passes away, so perhaps the feeling is similar, but somehow on a much more personal level since you know each of you share that love for skiing. For me, I first got that feeling watching Matt Heffernan's edit where he absolutely demolishes snowbird. I've been seeing a lot of posts about him lately, so that's probably why I'm writing this. After a season of riding the bird, I'd seen the Heff stickers, but I never put 2 and 2 together until after I saw that video. First thing I remember is just closing my laptop for the night, then starting to think about what if that was someone I knew, or even me. What would I do?
Human nature is curiosity, and you want to know more about the guy, but maybe there's a stigmata about bringing that up. I mean, come on, this is somebody's friend, maybe it's too painful for people to even think about. I'd toyed with that thought for a bit in my head, but this season, I finally just started asking people on the lift who had those Heff stickers about the guy. People had nothing but the highest regard for Matt as a person, and some damn entertaining stories about the times they'd shared together. I had a great time listening to them, and people's faces just lit up every time I mentioned that name.
As I listened to more and more of these stories, I came to realize something: While the world may have lost an amazing human being, that person's always going to be there as long as people remember him, and talk about him. I think any of us just want to be stoked and inspire others to reach that same feeling. God forbid something happens, but if it did, I'd want people to remember me, and talk about all the good times we'd shared even if I wasn't there to hear it. So share those stories, remember the awesome people who aren't around anymore, and just keep lighting it up it out there for everyone who isn't out there. You know for sure whoever you're missing would be getting people inspired, so we all have to pick up the slack, and do our best to bring joy and happiness the way they would have.
To those who aren't here to inspire others anymore, Shred in paradise you amazing people I never knew.