The Kirkwood Comp was both amazing and terrible this year. After a few days of weather delays it got all kicked off on Sunday on the lookers left side on the permanently closed Cirque. There was over 25″ of new untouched snow on the venue which made for a great show with some awful bits mixed in. I made this video before talking to Dylan Crossman and getting the news about Ryan Hawks.
The snow conditions were the best I have ever seen in 9 years of competing. This caused the athletes to go huge and take huge chances, which lead to many huge crashes and some serious injuries. During the girls day one there were an number of injuries including European heavy Marja Persson (broken Pelvis/ Lifeflight) and youngster Alex George (ALC/MCL.) Some top male skiers were also crushed including tour standout Arron Schmidt (Broken Ankle) and high energy Vermonster Ryan Hawks (Internal injuries/ Lifeflight.)
Ryan Hawks passed away Monday night after clinging to life for a day and a half in a Reno, NV hospital. Ryan was terminally injured when he landed in a large bomb hole after throwing a backflip off a 60+ foot cliff in the middle of his run. The Kirkwood ski patrol was on the scene quickly and did all they could to help our friend Ryan. They got him quickly to the helicopter and he was taken to Reno. After an emergency surgery to stop his massive internal bleeding we were all hopeful that he would be ok. Things took a turn for the worse last night and Ryan passed away surrounded by his good friends from Utah, Vermont, and Jackson. Ryan’s parents also made it to Reno in time to see him before he passed. My heart and soul ache for Ryan’s family and his close friends. I am having a really hard time with this and I have only known Ryan for a few short ski seasons. His smile, energy and love for the mountains will be missed by all of us who were luck enough to know him.
The second day of the event was equally impressive without the carnage of day one. Congrats out to Josh Daiek, Kevin O’Meara and Guerlain Chicherit for placing one, two, three. All three men had been taking time off from the comp scene for the last couple seasons and this was their first event back. They clearly still have it. Congrats also to Snowbird’s Angel Collinson for another victory. Janina Kuzma and Rebecca Selig were right behind her in second and third. Angel was close with Ryan and I am sure it was very difficult for her to stay focused for her day two run.
I wish I could be more upbeat about the results and tell you more about how impressive the skiing was, but I am overcome with grief. Today we lost another fantastic freeskier and friend. I have seen more of this sadness than I could have ever imagined I would see when I signed up for this lifestyle. I hope that Ryan’s passing will be the last for a very long time. Remember to be careful out there, and tell the people you love that you love them often.