Many people in the world outside of snowboarding came to know Kevin Pearce through news of the traumatic brain injury he sustained on the way to the 2010 Olympics. In stories he's been framed as Shaun White's greatest rival in halfpipe. But Pearce was more than that: He was (and still is) a snowboarder's snowboarder.
The Full Package
Pearce could ride it all -- pipe, park, backcountry -- and was on his way to becoming one of the best all-around riders in the world before a double-cork gone wrong changed the course of his life. We'd like to honor his snowboarding legacy with a collection of photos from "back in the day." *The following captions have been written by one of KP's best Frends, Jack Mitrani.*
Winter X 12 was a big event for Kevin. This is where he was dubbed "Marathon Man." Competing in Big Air (where he came in runner-up to Torstein Horgmo), Slopestyle (silver, besting Shaun White) and SuperPipe (bronze), Kevin was a true X Games standout.
Get On The Bus
The Burton "Get Off On The Bus" tour was every kid's dream to be a part of -- traveling around with your best friends on a tour bus to snowboard on different mountains. I can assure you Kevin is thinking, "If you only knew what was going on inside this bus right now!"
Danny Davis and Kevin bombing down a street in Danny's backyard. I wonder what happened when they got to the concrete?
Something Kevin worked on his entire snowboard career: the method. He was finally getting it to the place he wanted it the year of the Olympics. Terje Haakonsen would be proud.
One of the most fun weeks in a halfpipe ever. Kevin, my brother Luke and I stayed in Aspen, Colo., one spring to ride halfpipe together. The vibe was at an all-time high all week long. If you look closely, I am cheerleading in the background!
Kevin transitioned from park riding to pow overnight. Anything you put in front of Kevin on a snowboard, he could conquer.
Kevin taking his pipe skills into the backcountry. Frontside air on the cornice -- how the heck did he even get there?!
Making his Frends proud. Textbook backside Indy in Alaska.
As you can see by his facial expression, Kevin hated winning. He was clearly getting tired of it by then!
Ride For Kevin
It's safe to say that there are a lot of people out there that Ride for Kevin. When Kevin got hurt it was amazing to see the love and support resonate from all over the world.
Kevin's girlfriend at the time, Ellery Hollingsworth, was a strong soul during the injury. Always had an optimistic attitude about it and was nice to be around when times were tough. Such an angel!
Norwich, VT, is full of humble and warm-hearted country folk, and it shows when the town gets together to welcome Kevin home in a special way. Everyone was thrilled to have their hometown hero back.
Kevin's brother, David, thanks the local Vermont crowd for their love and support to the Pearce family throughout Kevin's recovery.
"It's really hard to understand how amazing the life of a snowboarder is and how lucky we are to have this thing until you are forced to look at it. In my case, I lost it all for a minute, so I had no choice but to face my life. I have seen it from the outside and now I get to appreciate it on a different level." --Kevin Pearce
Say It Loud
Kevin might not be able to rip around on his snowboard like he used to, but he will always be a big part of snowboarding. You'll find him in Aspen as he steps into the on-snow announcing role at the X Games, opposite Keir Dillon.