Rally 4 Riley Fundraiser in Boulder this Saturday

Nike 6.0 and FREESKIER Present:

Rally 4 Riley

Take a pause for the cause and show your love for friend, partner and ski industry staple, Riley Poor, to help Riley get back on his feet. All proceeds from the door are going to fund Riley’s recovery.

  • When: Saturday, May 2nd, 9pm – 2am
  • Where: West End Tavern Bacaro, located @ 926 921 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO
  • $15 donation (includes bracelet, drink specials, and FREE BEER)
Click Image for Full Flyer!
Click Image for Full Flyer!

AP Article

While I was here at Craig Hospital the Associated Press published an article on my recovery. Thought I would share it with you all…


Sports cinematographer healing after spinal injury


AP Sports Writer


In this Friday, April 3, 2009, photo, Riley Poor lifts weights at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in the south Denver suburb of Englewood, Colo. Poor is a 26-year-old freeskier turned cinematographer who has worked with the biggest names in action sports, capturing award-winning images on peaks all over the world. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
In this Friday, April 3, 2009, photo, Riley Poor lifts weights at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in the south Denver suburb of Englewood, Colo. Poor is a 26-year-old freeskier turned cinematographer who has worked with the biggest names in action sports, capturing award-winning images on peaks all over the world. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The bright orange stickers were plastered all over at the Winter X Games, affixed to helmets, buildings, tops of skis, even on the seat of a chairlift.

Emblazoned on the decals were two neon words: Riley Poor

A new energy drink perhaps? Or the latest line of must-have skiing attire?

Turns out Riley Poor is a 26-year-old skier turned cinematographer who’s worked with the biggest names in action sports, capturing award-winning images on peaks all over the world.

But he was conspicuously absent from January’s Winter X Games in Aspen, represented instead by the swarm of orange stickers — a show of affection by friends.

Poor could only watch the competition from a hospital bed as he recovers from a spinal cord injury that’s left him paralyzed from the chest down. He did a back flip into an indoor pool after a night of celebrating with buddies following a Winter Dew Tour stop in mid-January at Mount Snow in Vermont, slamming his head against the bottom.

Now, Poor’s going through rehab at Craig Hospital, a Denver facility that specializes in spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

His strength is steadily returning. Poor can lift his hands and make a weak grip. He also can wiggle his toes — with concentration.

Poor’s rehab regimen is arduous, with hours a day spent lifting weights, doing pool therapy and other exercises.

“I’ve just always had this feeling that I’d have this amazing test in my life, that I would walk away from victorious,” said Poor, who’s blogging about his recovery on a Web site set up for him by Freeskier Magazine. “Well, this is pretty freakin’ major.”

His short-range goal is to ride out of Craig Hospital on May 8 in a manual wheelchair, not a powered model.

Then it’s on to broader ambitions — like filming again.

“Don’t worry,” Poor said, sipping Gatorade offered to him by his longtime girlfriend, Katrina Bobier, who is perpetually by his side. “I’ll be back out there.”

A steady stream of skiers and boarders have visited Poor’s hospital room since he arrived in Denver nearly three months ago. Freeskier Simon Dumont paid a social call. So have Sarah Burke and TJ Schiller.

And Tanner Hall arrived in typical Tanner Hall style.

The free-spirited freeskier sauntered down a quiet hospital corridor, screaming out “Ri-lanus” — his nickname for Poor — to locate his room.

“Tan-us!” came Poor’s booming response.

Goosebumps appeared on Hall’s arms.

“I knew right then,” said Hall, who’s spent countless hours filming with Poor in the backcountry. “I knew it was the same old Riley.”

The same old Riley is the one they call “Shrek” because of his ability to carry loads of gear on a shoot into remote locations.

He’s the one they want filming on the mountain due to his vision and concern for safety. Poor won’t make them do something he wouldn’t attempt himself.

“He sees the tricks, knows what you need to make them happen,” Burke said. “It’s tricky to find someone you feel that comfortable with.”

That’s because he’s one of them — only he’s behind the camera.

Poor grew up in Crested Butte hoping to be the next Tommy Moe. His parents encouraged that passion, even excusing him from school on pristine powder days.

Poor did the ski team thing, had sponsors like K2 and Oakley backing him. He thought that was his future.

Then he met Seth Morrison, a rock star in the extreme skiing realm. Morrison hollered at him one day from a chairlift at Crested Butte, inviting Poor into a world he’d only been able to admire through watching ski movies.

Morrison’s sense of adventure in the back country was invigorating.

And Poor jumped on board for the ride.

Ditching ski racing, he dabbled in freeskiing, which was evolving from moguls and aerials to big-air and big-mountain competitions.

It was right up Poor’s alley.

Then he saw Hall in action.

At a competition at Snowbird in Utah, Poor, who was 17 at the time, gawked in disbelief at this blond-haired kid performing unthinkable maneuvers.

Time for a career change.

“I was like, ‘I’m not capable of being in this game if it’s going to be played like that,'” Poor said.

Soon after, he landed an internship with Matchstick Productions, an action sports-film company. He borrowed money earmarked for college, purchasing an $8,000 movie camera. His career was launched.

On one of his first assignments, he captured snowmobiler Jay Quinlan leaping over a spillway of a dam, soaring nearly 80 feet in the air.

Not only did it make Matchstick’s movie that year, it set a tone: Poor doesn’t miss his shots.

In all, he’s been part of more than 25 action-sports films, capturing Dumont chasing X-Games gold, Hall’s first descents in the mountains of Alaska and freeskier Sammy Carlson pushing the boundaries in St. Anton, Austria, to name a few highlights.

“One of the best in the game,” Dumont said. “It’s easy to work with somebody like that, someone who understands what’s going on.”

Dumont and Poor have collaborated quite a bit in recent years. They were in the middle of filming a documentary entitled “Transitions” when Poor was injured. It’s a movie two years in the making that will tell a broader story of how action sports has evolved over their generation.

Poor’s intention is to head to Los Angeles this summer for post-production editing, and release the film this fall.

All around Poor’s hospital room are motivational reminders that fuel his healing — inspirational messages that Bobier scribbles on a marker board, various pictures and cards from well-wishers.

The plaque that sits on his shelf could be the most powerful.

Poor was part of the crew for “Poor Boyz Productions” (the name’s a coincidence) that filmed “Reasons,” which was named ski film of the year at the 2009 Powder Video Awards.

He hopes for that honor again.

“I’m realizing I’m going to be OK,” said Poor, who’s also the ski team manager of Nike 6.0, a youth-driven, action-sports sector of the company. “My plan is to walk out of here. But even if I spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, it’s going to open up a lot of doors and opportunities for me.”

Poor can recall every aspect of the accident.

He was at Mount Snow that day capturing images of Dumont winning the superpipe for the documentary.

That night, the party was on at a house near West Dover, Vt.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 11, a group decided to jump into the pool, only Poor didn’t realize he drew the shallow end. As he spun around underwater, he smacked his head against the bottom and floated up to the surface.

He knew instantly he was paralyzed. Yet he remained calm, telling his buddies what to do once they pulled him from the pool.

Don’t move me anymore, he said.

Call 9-1-1, he ordered.

Tell them I’ve broken my neck, he explained.

Poor was transported to a hospital in Albany, N.Y., where he had surgery to fuse some vertebrae.

After that, he was transferred to Craig to begin his rehab.

“Life is crazy,” Hall said. “What bums me out is that we’re spinning and flipping and in danger every single second we click into skis. Then Riley has this happen. Anything can happen, man.”

The action-sports community realized that all too well with the death of 39-year-old Shane McConkey, an extreme skier who was killed last month jumping off a cliff with a parachute while filming a movie in Italy.

Poor grew up admiring McConkey, who helped him get a foot in the ski-industry door.

“You know how people say to live every day to the fullest? Shane took that to the next level,” Poor said. “He lived life on the edge, was a calculated risk taker — just like a lot of us.”

On the Web: rileypoor.com

On the Web: rally4riley.com


Copyright 2009 The Associated Press 

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Breaking Point

I finally broke today. My last class was functional skills and today’s task was shaving, I spent the better part of an hour looking at myself in the mirror, and for the first time in my life I could not recognize myself. I know I am still the same face but the person inside me is being affected by my dependence on others. As my Occupational Therapist left the room my world crashed down on me as I looked around and realized how helpless I am without the assistance of others. The simplest tasks have now become my greatest puzzles and my frail shell of a body is incapable of solving so many of them that it has now become overwhelming. I am so thankful to have had Katrina and my mom Maria by my side through all of this, they have been both my anchors and my lighthouse in this unknown sea; without them this day of realization would have come a lot sooner. It took both of them being gone for the realities of this injury to fully sink in and also to realize what a truly long road to independence and full health lies ahead. Thank all of you for your support of both myself and my family, without you paving the road for us it would be a lot bumpier ride.

3 months out

bye bye bedHey everyone. Sorry it has been so long since I checked in with you all. As you can imagine, life is still pretty chaotic around here. I’ve made some major progress since I last checked in, I had my neck collar removed which has been huge for comfort and mobility, and I was also moved to the East wing of the hospital to a much bigger room that is set up for a more independent life style. Last night was my first night sleeping in a real bed in the last 3 months. It was a huge step to watch my hospital bed leave the room and to spend the night sleeping next to my love. It’s crazy to look back over the last 3 months and see the progress I’ve made since being admitted to the ICU in Albany. I must say I’ve been proud of myself in my ability to accept this injury and work as hard as I have despite the mental rigor that paralysis can bring. I wouldn’t have been able make all of the progress that I have without all of your support. So thank you all once again for that. I am set to leave here on the 7th of May and I am very excited to spend the next four months living in LA with katrina and working on “Transitions” with Poor Boyz productions.  I plan on continuing my rehab in LA as well as spending endless hours in an edit suite as well as hopefully a few on the beach.  Katrina will be going to LA this weekend to find us an apartment as well as look into doctors in the area and explore the Redondo Beach area a bit for herself.  I must apologize that I haven’t gotten back to more of you I’ve got a hefty stack of emails, facebook messages, text messages and voice mails that I need to return. It’s been really hard to find time to reach out to all of you with my steady chaotic schedule here at Craig.  I’m still promising to touch base with you all as soon as my schedule allows.  Like I said your love and support means everything to me I still have a long road ahead and all of you pouring your energy into me are helping me travel down that road.

Signing off for now with much love


A Day at the Office

This afternoon, I went over to Craig to spend some time with Riley, and wanted to update everyone with how things are going.  Riley’s attitude — despite being cooped up in a hospital for the last few months — continues to be an inspiration to myself, and everyone else who comes to visit.  He speaks frankly about his predicament, and has clear goals laid out for the next hour, the next day, the next week, the next year, and beyond.

Right when I arrived, Riley was out in the hall outside his room talking to some of his therapists, and then we shot the shit with one of Ri’s in-house buddys and (I think it was) the guy’s brother.  It was neat to see a glimpse of Riley’s community at Craig, and tune into some of the conversations that people are having there.

We migrated to Riley’s room next and he told me about a film that he watched this morning about Mike Utley, the Detroit Lions football player who was paralyzed in 1991.  Riley was inspired deeply by the story of Utley’s rehab process, and it made him feel good about his position to know that Utley’s injury was more severe than his, and Utley has gone on to accomplish a great deal since.

During our conversation, Riley would periodically adjust his body weight in his manual chair from sitting upright to a hunched over position, and I finally asked him what he was doing.  He explained that the shifting of his weight was important so that he wouldn’t get sores from being in the same position for too long, and then he got excited and showed me again, narrating his movements as he went: “This is a really positive thing that I can do,” he said as he hunched over, took a deep breath in, and raised himself back up to upright, without using his hands to push up, but with his core strength instead. “One of my buddies in here who was in the Murderball Movie (a quad-rugby player), who is super stong and can push all of his weight up with his arms, was jealous when he heard that I could raise myself up with my core muscles.  It’s a really good sign that I can do that this soon after my injury.” In fact, Riley is discovering more and more of these ‘good signs’ everyday, and at this point, he has a good amount of sensation in his lower body and can feel is nerves firing in his legs.

Next, the nurse’s station came through on the intercom asking Riley if he would accept a phone call.  He had me run across the room and grab the phone, which I held up to his ear for a good 15 minutes while he conducted business with Simon and a couple other guys who are in Sweden for the Jon Olsson Invitational this week (I know it’s hard for Ri to be missing that event this year, as he has fond memories from last year’s, but he didn’t show it).   It was awesome to listen to Riley — a guy who is confined to a wheelchair, stuck in a hospital, battling for his own well-being — provide his guys with a wise sort of managerial advice about the biz, including their two year film project, Transitions.

Riley’s attitude and work ethic are strong as ever, and while his heart is still heavy from the recent news of Shane’s death, he remains focused and committed to a full recovery.  I asked him today what his realistic expectations re: his recovery were and he told me: “I want to walk again.” It’s that sort of matter of fact, stubborn, and driven thinking that makes me think he might just get there.

Riley sends his best to you all, and is doing his best to look at all of the emails, facebook wall posts, and blog comments that you’ve been leaving.  Keep sending the positive vibes his way, and don’t forget to donate through the NTAF!


[link to Shane McConkey Memorial Website]


NTAF Tribute Sheet

We’re very excited that we’ve recently begun a relationship with the NTAF, so that people interested in donating/investing in Riley’s recovery can make tax-deductible donations that will be earmarked for Riley individually.

To download the NTAF Tribute Sheet so you can submit it via snail mail, click here.  If you’re more technologically inclined, and you’d like to donate directly through the NTAF Website, click here.  The NTAF accepts checks, credit cards, and even stock contributions.

If you have any questions about donating, or if you’ve had a PayPal donation be ‘sent back’ to you,  please email me (Jamie Starr) at rallyforriley@gmail.com (We had an issue with PayPal canceling some donations because they were left in the system for too long). In any case, all future donations should be made directly to Riley or through the NTAF.

Riley Poor Tribute Sheet – NTAF
Riley Poor Tribute Sheet – NTAF

one life to live

Thursday evening I was shocked to hear the news that a good friend Shane McConkey had past away in a BASE jumping accident in Italy while filming with my former film crew Matchstick Productions.  Shane had a infectious personality and his ability to make people laugh will be missed by everyone lucky enough to cross his path. Shane has supported me from the beginning of my career in the ski industry and growing up watching the progress he made for the sport of skiing and BASE jumping was both awe inspiring and truly terrifying at moments. Shane had a way of living everyday to the fullest and always walked the fine line between safety and insanity – needless to say he inspired and changed the lives of millions of people across the globe.  I feel blessed to have known him, laughed at his jokes, and had him as a supporter.  I guess you could say I am one of his biggest fans.  Shane was at a point of comfort with the risks he was taking the same as all of us fall into a comfort zone whether it’s driving down the highway, or progressing a sport that has no apparent ceiling.  When I was injured I learned that your comfort zone can often be a dangerous place to be and what I’ve taken from Shane’s death is how truly lucky I am to be alive today.  Shane was a huge inspiration to me and I will be taking that inspiration into every day of my life and especially my rehab process for the months/years to come.  I hope everyone who reads this wakes up tomorrow feeling lucky to be alive and takes a moment in their day to smile in Shane’s memory and to walk that fine line between comfort and fear no matter how that applies to you.  Live your life to the fullest and never loose sight of what you love. We all miss you already Shane, we are here for your family and your infectious personality will absolutely never be forgotten.

We lost a good friend, a husband, a father, a son, and an icon. Rest in peace Shane.

Shane skiBASE

Exciting New Fundraising Possibilities for Riley through the NTAF!

Riley Poor‘s NTAF Midwest/West Spinal Cord Injury Fund

Family and friends of Riley Poor are raising money to pay for uninsured medical expenses associated with his spinal cord injury. Riley is being treated at Craig Rehabilitation Center in Englewood, CO.

Riley has chosen to fundraise with NTAF Catastrophic Injury Fund in part because NTAF provides both tax-deductibility and fiscal accountability to his contributors. Contributors can be sure that funds contributed will be used only to pay or reimburse medically-related expenses.

To make a contribution to Riley’s fundraising campaign, CLICK HERE.

To email this page directly to others in your community, who might wish to learn about Riley’s campaign, you can copy/paste this link:


For more information, please contact NTAF at 800-642-8399.

Thanks for your support!

About the NTAF:

Mission of the NTAF

History of the NTAF