Remembering the Legacy of Freeskiing Queen Sarah Burke

Me and Sarah Burke in 2002.

I remember when I went to ski camp for my first time at Momentum ski camps, a progressive Freeskiing Camp in Whistler, Canada ten years ago.  The Olympics had literally been announced that they were going to be in Vancouver for 2010 the day I got there and in result the whole town was going crazy and partying.  Many professional skiers run the camp and I got to meet many of my favorite ski heroes including Sarah Burke. Sarah Burke, for those that don’t know, is the most inspirational girl in freeskiing to date, and has pushed the bar for women and helped promote girls in the sport, including pushing for Halfpipe skiing to be in the Olympics.  She could ski anything from big mountain to park and has created the best segments in female freeskiing.

When I first met Sarah, I remember that she just had this glow around her when you met her, she was so beautiful and friendly and I was so nervous but so excited to meet her at the same time.  She was my coach for one of the days at the camp ( I was a freshman in High School) and I would make sure that I would be on the lift with her every time that I could when we rode up to the top of the hill.  I am sure some of the other kids were angry with me because they wanted to ride up with her too, but I did not care because I wanted to ask her all of the questions I had always wondered about being a professional freeskier.  It was such an amazing day skiing with her, and after ward I got a phone call that I was accepted and got a scholarship to Sugar Bowl Ski Academy. This meant that I was going to get to go to school in the afternoon while I skiid all morning.  It was a dream come true, and that night when we had video review in Sarah’s hotel room I made sure to tell Sarah first because I wanted her to be the first person I told that I was going to be able to ski every day and pursue my skiing dreams throughout my high school career to try and make it to her level.

7 years later was the next time I saw her at a Monster photo shoot at Squaw Valley in California.  I remember seeing her ski around with Kristi Leskinen and I wanted to go up and say hi to her so bad and tell her I was in her camp 7 years earlier, however I did not and I have regretted that decision ever since.

In January of this year Sarah Burke crashed training in the halfpipe and went into an induced coma.  She eventually succumbed to her injuries, and the news of ski queen Sarah Burke’s passing away devastated the whole ski community. It will never be the same again.  She inspired so many women and men to love skiing and inspired people to ski better with a positive attitude.  Her lists of accomplishments in competitive freeskiing is huge, but the impact she had on people in the ski world is ten times greater and she will be so sadly missed by so many people.  I wish I could go back to the day when I saw her last, 2 seasons ago, and say hi and tell her how much of an inspiration she has been in my life and how much I looked up to the kind of person she was.  I will regret that decision for the rest of my life, but the legacy of Sarah Burke will live on because of her inspiration to so many people in the ski world.

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