Tragic Death of Skier Charles Russell Johnson

The skies are darkened over Squaw Valley, California as the skiing community mourns the tragic loss of skier Charles Russell Johnson. Rest in peace, CR.

Charles Russell Johnson: Shredin in Mammoth

Charles Russell Johnson III, 26, died yesterday in a tragic accident while skiing at Squaw Valley, California, on the Light Towers run off the Headwall lift.    

Eyewitness J.T. Holmes, who was riding on the Headwall lift, saw the accident, and explained that Johnson was skiing the steep run, lost control, struck a rock and immediately appeared lifeless. Despite wearing a helmet, he suffered immense trauma to his head and neck. The Squaw Valley Ski Patrol instantly skied to the scene and performed resuscitation to no avail.

“C.R. possessed a perspective for the mountains and the sport of skiing that transcended skiers all around the world to new heights,” says 4FRNT Skis’ Matt Sterbenz, who sponsored Johnson and assisted him in the design of C.R. Johnson’s pro model ski, the CRJ.

C.R. Johnson: In the heli at Mica CreekShortly after the accident, Sterbenz spoke to C.R. Johnson’s father, Russ, and Holmes. “His creative vision and positive personality brought the best out of anyone he ever met. He will remain a huge influence on my life and the many others that were fortunate to know him.”

Charles Russell Johnson suffered a traumatic brain injury in December 2005 when another skier landed on him while skiing inbounds at Brighton Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. He was induced in a coma for 10 days during his 34-day stay at the University of Utah hospital before returning home to his parents’ house in the Tahoe area.

“He was a friend, a brother, and an amazing person that we all believed in. We are deeply saddened by his passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family,” says Gabe Schroder, Ski Promotions Manager of Smith Optics.

Recently, Charles Russell was taking online college classes in design while at the same time working on his ski career.

The accident is a terrible tragedy, and C.R. Johnson is survived by his parents, Loraine and Russ, his older sister Kahlil, and the entire ski community.

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