was a professional snowboarder
Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope that is covered with snow on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet using a special boot set onto mounted binding. The development of snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding, sledding, surfing and skiing. It was developed in the U.S.A...
. He attended the University of Washington where he was a member of the Delta Upsilon
Delta Upsilon is the sixth oldest international, all-male, college Greek-letter organization, and is the oldest non-secret fraternity in North America...
Fraternity and studied Chemical Engineering.
Kelly is known as the 'Godfather of Freeriding
Freeriding is a discipline of snowboarding.The term "Freeriding" was coined when early snowboarders chose to break away from what they considered to be the restrictive confines of traditional ski culture and competition. The original concept of freeriding was that there was no set course, goals or...
'; Terje Håkonsen
Terje Håkonsen, is a Norwegian snowboarder.Håkonsen dominated freestyle snowboarding in the 1990s winning the ISF World Championships in half-pipe three times in a row, in 1993, 1995 and 1997. He has also won 5 European championships in half-pipe , the U.S...
called Kelly the best snowboarder of all time. Over his 15-year professional career, he won 4 world championships and 3 U.S. championships; he won the Mt. Baker Banked Slalom
Mt. Baker Banked Slalom, also known as the Legendary Banked Slalom , is a snowboarding contest held annually since 1985 at Mt. Baker Ski Area, in Washington State, United States. The LBS is regarded as the predecessor to the boardercross event, and has been won by some of the biggest names in the...
snowboarding competition in 1988, 1991, and 1993.
Life and snowboarding career
Craig grew up in Mount Vernon WA, a mid-sized town, centrally located for equidistant travel to ski areas such as Mount Baker, Stevens Pass and Snoqualimie. Craig spent a lot of time at the Pac West ski area (Hyak, WA) in 1985-86. He used to come up on Mondays when the ski area was closed and would set up gates with some of the workers and run them using a snowmobile to get back and forth. The first snowboard contest held at Hyak (85-86 season)...he also won. It was done in conjunction with another founder of the sport, Bob Barci. . Craig Kelly Starred in a Wrigleys Gum commercial in 1988/1989 where he was featured doing a 540. Craig Appeared in Warren Millers movies year after year several times. In 2003 Warren Miller dedicated a segment in his film titled "JOURNEY" to Craig. Craig had starring roles in Siberia, p\Ptex lies and duct tape which were both Gregory Stump films. Craig Kelly was the first snowboarder to appear in an Imax movie.
He shocked the snowboard industry by walking away from multi-million dollar deals at the height of the snowboard craze to pursue his passion for "freeriding," at the time an unheard of strategy for a pro snowboarder. It was in the mountains where Craig felt the happiest.
He was part owner and on the board of directors of Island Lake Catskiing
near Fernie B.C. where he spent a lot of time freeriding and filming.
The distinctive fluid manner in which he rode was recognized and acclaimed in the snowboarding community. He was called a "style master" by Snowboard Magazine
Snowboard Magazine is an independent snowboarding publication. It was founded in April of 2004 by Mark and Liz Sullivan. Soon they were joined by Jeff Baker, Aaron Draplin, Gary Hansen and Jason "J2" Rasmus. Most of the crew were previous employees and/or contracted employees of Snowboarder Magazine...
editor Jon Foster. Kelly also appeared in an enormous number of video and photo shoots. He was known for looking straight at the camera, even in the midst of a difficult aerial manoeuvre. Craig was a Sims Snowboards team rider for a few years early in his career, but spent most of his life riding for Burton Snowboards owned by Jake Burton Carpenter
Jake Burton Carpenter , also known as Jake Burton, is an American snowboarder and founder of Burton Snowboards. He grew up in Cedarhurst, New York.- Biography :...
The Craig Kelly World Snowboard Camp was created to help kids improve their snowboarding skills. From 1988 to 1992 it was located in Whistler Blackcomb. Craig was responsible for the design and development of the following Burton signature models: The Mystery Air, The Craig Kelly Air, The CK Slopestyle, The Cascade, and The Omen. Jake Burton is quoted as saying, “When I started listening to Craig that was when my company became successful and really took off.” He added, “… when the rest of the industry listened to Craig, that was when the sport really took off.”
In the last few years of Craigs life- Craig was able to embark on a 14 month journey starting up in Alaska and going down to Chile with his partner(girlfriend) Savina and two additional friends for adventure, surfing and living. He returned from his journey with his new baby Olivia, as a "souvenir" he said, from his trip.
Craig died on 20 January 2003 near Revelstoke, British Columbia
Revelstoke is a city in southeastern British Columbia, Canada. It is located east of Vancouver, and west of Calgary, Alberta. The city is situated on the banks of the Columbia River just south of the Revelstoke Dam and near its confluence with the Illecillewaet River...
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
in an avalanche
An avalanche is a sudden rapid flow of snow down a slope, occurring when either natural triggers or human activity causes a critical escalating transition from the slow equilibrium evolution of the snow pack. Typically occurring in mountainous terrain, an avalanche can mix air and water with the...
which trapped 8 people and killed 6 others. Craig Kelly, lying lifeless almost nine feet below the surface, was the last of the 7 victims to be found.
Kelly is survived by his daughter. Father:Pat Kelly Mother: Janet Witzler and siblings.
Craig Kelly was studying to become a Certified Canadian Mountain Guide with two groups of backcountry adventurers organized by Selkirk Mountain Experience. At the time Craig was the first snowboarder in the world to have received the highest of certifications in backcountry guiding at that time. The ski touring
Ski touring is a form of backcountry skiing involving traveling over the winter landscape on skis under human power rather than through the assistance of ski lifts or snow vehicles. It can take place in terrain ranging from perfectly flat to extremely steep...
group was properly equipped and prepared for avalanches; the weekly bulletin warned of considerable risk in the area at the time. Filmmaker Jacques Russo created "Let It Ride" a documentary on Craig Kelly's life as a tribute to his friend and subject of so many of his films: Smooth Groove, Board with The World, Scream of Consciousness, and Fear of A Flat Planet. Craig was a huge fan of Metallica so it was only fitting that The lead singer of Metallica Narrate the documentary on Craigs journey in "Let It Ride."
In 2011 Burton snowboards built a prototype snowboard facility. This was Burton snowboards way of saying Thank You to Craig for all his involvement with Burton over the years. Thanks to technology -Anyone in the world can go on the internet and type in Craig Kelly Burton Prototype Center and will be able to view this monumental occasion as if they were there.