To call CR Johnson an influential skier would be an understatement. Name any movement to take place in freestyle skiing in the past decade, and you can bet that Johnson was at or near the forefront of it. In passing, Johnson leaves behind a sport forever changed, and a great number of friends and acquaintances thankful for the influence that he had on their own lives, and on the sport that they love.
Pep Fujas, a long-time friend and fellow skier of Johnson, heard the news while in heli guide school in Alaska, and had this fond memory to share:
CR was a positive force in this world. It seemed like his goal was to spread his positivity with everyone around him. He was genuinely stoked all the time. He knew he had a great life and cherished every minute of it. CR is an inspiration.
In overcoming the severe brain injury that he sustained in 2005, CR surpassed the most hopeful predictions of all the doctors that worked with him. I don't need to talk percentages but the fact he was skiing again was a miracle. That is a testament to his persistence and courage that CR showed to get back to the sport that gave him so much joy.
One of my fondest memories of CR takes place at Tanner's kitchen table. We were wrapping up [the film] Pop Yer Bottles and still had to finish a Freeskier commercial. No one had any ideas. So CR piped up and said, "Let's get drunk and figure it out." Not so coincidentally there was a bottle of tequila on the counter. One shot went down, then another. Soon after, the Mexican spirit came alive in him, the guitar was on his lap and he was adlibbing a song in Spanglish with intermittent swigs from the bottle. Within 20 minutes the commercial was done, CR was drunk and we all had a good laugh!
I'm thankful to have had CR in my life.