X-Games skier dies after fall at Calif. ski hill - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

X-Games skier dies after fall at Calif. ski hill

Posted: Updated:
In this June 26, 1999 file photo, C.R. Johnson flies through the air during a practice jump, at the ESPN X games at Pier 30-32 in San Francisco. In this June 26, 1999 file photo, C.R. Johnson flies through the air during a practice jump, at the ESPN X games at Pier 30-32 in San Francisco.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Current Olympians and others in the ski community are mourning the loss of professional free skier C.R. Johnson, who died in a fall while skiing a steep chute at California's Squaw Valley.

Johnson, 26, who has competed in the Winter X Games, was skiing with a group of friends when he fell while trying to negotiate a "very, very tight, rocky area," said Jim Rogers, a member of the Lake Tahoe-area resort's ski patrol.

He fell face-first, then spun around and struck the back of his head on rocks in the Light Towers area of the resort. Johnson was wearing a helmet, but Rogers said the helmet took a serious blow.

Ski patrol members were called shortly before 2 p.m. but were unable to revive him. Placer County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Ausnow said Johnson died on the slopes.

Johnson was well-known at Squaw Valley, a challenging resort near Lake Tahoe's north shore that hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. It also is the home base for several members of the U.S. ski team, including Olympic alpine medalist Julia Mancuso.

She tweeted about Johnson's death late Wednesday: "crazy day just got a little bit more unexpected... just learned that my friend and insane skier CR Johnson just died at Squaw.. my heart and prayers go out to everyone at home and CR's family."

Olympic snowboarder Louie Vito also tweeted his reaction: "RIP to my homie CR Johnson. He will be missed by EVERYONE. At least he was doin what he loved but CR YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!!!"

Johnson's father was an avalanche forecaster at the resort for about a decade, Rogers said. The younger skier also had rebounded from a serious injury suffered during a competition in 2005 that put him in a coma for several months.

"This is a man of very, very strong skiing talent," Rogers said. "This young man had been a fixture here at Squaw Valley for years. ... He grew up at Squaw Valley."

A statement from Squaw Valley USA described Johnson as a professional skier and member of its Freeride team.

He also competed in superpipe and halfpipe skiing at events such as the X Games. A photograph on his MySpace page said he was "X-qualified" for a skiing competition in France in 2002, while the Web site for the Ski Channel Television Network said he had been nominated for male skier of the year in 2002.

The freeskier.com Web site posted clips of Johnson in several extreme skier movies, jumping off cliffs and sailing through fresh, untracked powder. One clip includes Johnson talking about relearning to use his arms and legs after a severe injury caused by a collision with another skier while filming at Utah's Brighton ski resort in 2005.

He recalls "being one of the best skiers in the world, overly confident in your skiing, overly confident in yourself. ... Right now I'm working as hard as I possibly can to return to the sport that nearly killed me."

Squaw Valley attracts expert skiers and is known for its difficult terrain. Johnson is the fifth skier to die on the slopes over the past three years. Two of the five died in avalanches, including one member of the ski patrol.

Attempts to reach Johnson's family late Wednesday were unsuccessful, and a telephone message left with a spokesman for the X Games was not immediately returned.

Johnson, whose first name was Charles, had posted the following statement his MySpace page: "I feel it's most important to keep it real and enjoy each moment, you know, take advantage of every opportunity life provides, because who knows what tomorrow may bring."

___

Associated Press Writer Don Thompson contributed to this report.

 

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

  • SportsMore>>

  • Ultimate Pigskin Picks

    Ultimate Pigskin Picks

    CBS 8 invite you to play along with other San Diego football fans each week and pick the winners!  See how you do against News 8's Sports Director, Kyle Kraska and win weekly prizes!

     

    CBS 8 invite you to play along with other San Diego football fans each week and pick the winners!  See how you do against News 8's Sports Director, Kyle Kraska and win weekly prizes!

     
  • Attorney: Ex-USA Gymnastics head didn't know of indictment

    Attorney: Ex-USA Gymnastics head didn't know of indictment

    Thursday, October 18 2018 1:58 PM EDT2018-10-18 17:58:49 GMT
    Friday, October 19 2018 6:04 AM EDT2018-10-19 10:04:16 GMT
    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this Tuesday, June 5, 2018, file photo, former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny invokes his right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer questions during a Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Prod...(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this Tuesday, June 5, 2018, file photo, former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny invokes his right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer questions during a Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Prod...
    The attorney for former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny says her client had no clue of a Texas grand jury indictment when he traveled to Tennessee on a family vacation. 
    The attorney for former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny says her client had no clue of a Texas grand jury indictment when he traveled to Tennessee on a family vacation. 
  • G League to offer $125,000 contracts to elite prospects

    G League to offer $125,000 contracts to elite prospects

    Thursday, October 18 2018 1:19 PM EDT2018-10-18 17:19:12 GMT
    Friday, October 19 2018 12:51 AM EDT2018-10-19 04:51:16 GMT
    G League announces plan to offer 'select contracts' to elite prospects who want to bypass college. 
    G League announces plan to offer 'select contracts' to elite prospects who want to bypass college. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.