A true community is hard to find these days. I grew up in a town where you couldn’t drive down the highway without waiving at every single car that passed. Not only did we greet each other but also we looked after one another. The adults in the community didn’t avoid the children and the children didn’t disregard the adults. Everyone worked in unison to support the families that were having a hard go and there was always an outreached hand if you were down. One of the sad realities of life is that not everyone is lucky enough to grow up in a ski town community and those of us who were, are not always lucky enough to never leave.
Whether you grew up in a ski town or you visit one once a year, whether you ski 250 days a year or 1, or if every time you think about skiing you realize you’re probably not going to be as good as you were last year. We all end up sharing a common bond of knowing the feeling of sliding on snow. That makes us a community, a community that spans the globe. Each and every year we invite more to join us while simultaneously losing a few here and there to careers, old bones, broken bones and every now and then a realization that we’re not as young as we once were. I don’t consider myself old, but I’m definitely not what I used to be on the mountain. This year for me I will undergo my most drastic change. For the first time in my life if I want to feel that sliding sensation that we are all chasing, I will be doing it sitting down.
When I broke my neck nearly a year ago I realized right away that I wouldn’t be skiing at the same level I was just the day before for quite some time. As I lay paralyzed in a hospital bed I wondered if the community that I had been a part of since age 2 would slip away from me. I was having a hard time understanding what my life would be like if it didn’t revolve around waiting for winter and skiing when it came. At that moment what I was going through was so confusing all I could do was hope and pray that it wasn’t going to last forever and that someday I would ski again.
The X-Games were televised the week I came out of sedation and it was a much-needed break from my reality. Instead of lying there and envisioning my coming success I could watch my friends on TV and their current successes. Much to my surprise the first friend I saw on TV had a bright orange Riley Poor sticker on his helmet! That was the moment that I realized just how lucky I am to be part of such an amazing community. I had my family pull up the Powder Awards live webcast on my computer because just like the X-Games, I wasn’t going to miss that no matter who was breathing for me.
The outpouring of support that I received that night and every day since, has given me the energy that one would expect you need to deal with a life-changing injury. As I watched those familiar faces flash across the screen that evening it hit me how tight knit the ski community really is. I realize that in that room that night, every person could reach out and touch the person next to them and have a story and memories that they will forever share with that person. Then I started thinking about all the people who weren’t necessarily in that room and the interconnectedness of every lift ride, every lift line, every powder day and every inch we’ve ever moved on our skis. Everyone was somehow connected and together we formed a family.
The way the ski community has come together and supported myself and my family through the last year has made me realize that together we form a web that no one can fall through. I want to send my sincerest thanks to everyone that has helped prop me up through this challenging time with your positive energy, continuous outreach, generous donations, and amazing encouragement. I am incredibly lucky to be a part of such an amazing sport and will proudly call myself a skier for life.
Hope to see you on the mountain soon.
22 thoughts on “A Thank You to the Ski Community”
Excellent dude! Keep up the hard work and I bet you’ll be shredding on that monoski like it’s going out of fashion!
Hi there !
I hope that You can get out to the slopes again.
It’s so special to have so many great friends like You do.
We missed You in Stockholm last month, Annica and Lisa sent a hug via Simon to You.
Too bad we do not have Your current address, have some stuff we would like to send to You to wear when You hit the slopes. I bet You are going to master that “mono thingie” in the future.
All the best from us
Eric & Lisa w. fam.
PS. Tried to look at Transitions with that code You sent to Eric. The code was unfortunately invalid. Hope that they will release it here in Europe in the future. DS
Hell yeah Riley! Stoked to see and hear you’re doing so well. Keep it up.
You are the man, Riley. Thanks for taking the time to write something so moving. I can’t wait to see you ripping around on that thing.
hi! you are incredible. this made me cry. i’m a skier in dover, vermont. and i lvoe that i know exactly what you’re talking about. it’s so touching! you’re wonderful.
keep up the amazing attitude!
(i believe my parents, fred casey and judy king are friends with your folks. [: )
Merry Christmas Brother and a Happy New Year! One hell of a year, my friend. Keep the dream alive and focus in check. I was touched by your post and couldn’t help to miss, and again feel apart of that community that exists somewhere far away playing under the snow. I am continually impressed by you my friend and look forward to crossing paths again. I’m proud of the man you are. You have the gift to inspire the masses. Hope Portland keeps you long enough to call it our city because it will be great to have a friendly face from the past to share a new town with. Chels and I send our love and preyers for a beautiful new year of life. Congratulations on your engagement! You two are lucky to have each other. Keep on keepin’ on Brother!
Corey and Chels!
A year goes by and the shock that resounded thru your whole family has evolved. to confidence in your recovery. My best today and all the days. Birthday is coming and what a blessing to us for you and Travis joining us on planet. The internal strength and resolve you’ve always had will see you up. My favorite. Riley story is the day the cook didn’t show and you handled lunch by reading the menu and no one complained. You will make it like no one else can. John and Elsie would be so proud of and all their awesome grandkids.
Riley- We think of you often and hope that you are well. We continue to send you love and good wishes and lots of healing energy. It is really nice to be able to come to your blog and check in on your progress and see how you are doing.
Give your whole family and Katrina much love from Vermont……
xoxo Pete and Missy Swim
Hey Awesome Post! I totally agree with you, keep up the great work on this blog.
Stay strong man!
You continue to amaze and inspire us. Thanks for keeping the blog updated. I believe you will feel the wind on your face as you slide down the mountain. We will continue to send positive energy your way.
Sandra, Hannah, Ben from Vermont
Riley – GREAT post. You are SO talented. This is a serious thought… you should think of publishing your posts for the last year – and maybe those coming this year too – as a book. It would be a book SUCH an inspiring, what’s really important, up-lifing book about the spirit that is in you – and the human spirit in general.
YOU ARE ROCKING this experience Riley – for all of us. I’m sorry you have to endure this, of course, but you are a HUGE inspiration for many, many.
hey..when i heard what had hsppened to u i was felt very bad.. i follow simon dumont and when i saw his sticker on his helmet i looked u up and i was like nooooo but u r doing better so keep it up!!
Our thoughts are often of you,like right now and all the tomorrows.Hope u went to W.O. And saw Travis . AML
I hope you are feeling better! I agree, the ski community is great. Everyone looks out for one another. Its a great group to belong to. Going in the back country made me realize that.
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Unfortunately I am critique in compose (you sanctimoniousness expunge what is already written)
Just finished reading your composition and wanted to let you know that each time I read it it inspires me to keep on keeping on. I remember the days when you were tooling around on your bike in back of the island bikeshop in Wilmington trying to get up that hill that led to the bridge like it was yesterday. When that hill was mastered you headed to the stepper hill towards the sugar lot, onward and upward, always pushing the limits. You haven’t changed much even though you have been challenged with many new hills to climb. I guess that ski towns and the nature of them teach us how to enjoy the ride and it shows that you have learned from the best that there is nothing better. Say hi to Maria and Bob and keep climbing those mountains.
P.S. Hope you don’t mind if we take a look at your Video in Neuro class your are such a great tool for learning, truely inspirational.
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