Kevin Pearce and Danny Toumarkine United at Northstar

Kevin Pearce and Danny Toumarkine United at Northstar

Sometimes the best things happen when you least expect it. It has been a weird and emotional season to say the least, but for so many reasons it has been an uplifting one. Seeing Kevin Pearce ride again, who had faced a life-threatening Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) two years ago, right before the Olympics, has been nothing short of incredible. Tahoe local, Danny Toumarkine, who also suffered a TBI, just began riding again one year after his accident in Montana last season, even when several doctors told him he never would.

It was a beautiful day!

KP was visiting Tahoe for a few days and I was able to link up him and Danny to ride together. Neither were friends before their accidents, but Kevin's family was of great support to Danny's when he was going through treatment. Since they have both faced and are still dealing with similar obstacles, being able to bring them together, cruise around Northstar and listen in on the realness of it all was an unforgettable experience. Even though the majority of us have never gone through anything close to what KP and Danny have, being surrounded by them and knowing how lucky they were and that the circumstances could have been much worse, gave a sense of how precious life is. It's so easy to take what we do for granted. Snowboarding is a way of life for a lot of us. We are so blessed to do what we do and live this life. Riding with two people, who almost lost that forever was a good realization of that.

Real talk on the chairlift.

Although Kevin's vision is still pretty bad and he easily forgets things (he thanks Siri for helping remind him), he has made a huge impact on the industry and beyond, speaking to people who have had TBI's, announcing competitions and simply enjoying being able to cruise around on a snowboard again. Danny and the Shreddy Times crew made a film about what he went through to show others the repercussions of not wearing a helmet. Danny has become a huge advocate for wearing helmets. He also started Sticker Pack, a sticker printing company, since his accident and makes stickers for a number of companys and brands. The next time you're out on the slopes, take a few seconds to take-in what surrounds you and smile at the board strapped on your feet. You just never know.