Full Circle- My Sochi Story

“Full Circle” adverb :  Through a series of developments that lead back to the original source, position, or situation or to a complete reversal of the original position. —Usually used in the phrase “come full circle.”

Portrait taken during Oakley trip to Sochi, Russia 2008.

Portrait taken during Oakley trip to Sochi, Russia 2008.

My first introduction to Sochi, Russia came in 2008 when Oakley took a gaggle of ladies on a trip to film for “Uniquely” an all woman’s action sports film released by the brand in 2009. With a string of unfortunate events including a tornado, my trip began with mastermind behind “Uniquely” John Roderick, photographer Zach Hooper and I stranded in Atlanta on the way over. Only to find on arrival in Sochi three days late, a soggy crew and gloomy forecast. From the get go this was sure to be an epic adventure.

The road blocks continued to pop up over the next nine days, but that would not dampen our spirits. Our group overcame dismal riding and filming conditions by building jibs on vintage army trucks and tree stumps. Our positive outlook payed off on the last day when the snow gods blessed us with sun, safer conditions and fresh snow. With military alerts forcing all helicopters to stay grounded, our plans for the day changed slightly. Instead of having heli-drops on the lines we scoped out, now we got to hike and earn each turn. I can remember feeling determined to make the most of our one sunny clear day, but secretly I was struggling. Only later did I find out that I was battling a life threatening illness that was rapidly deteriorating my functions.

In November of 2009 I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and forced to change my lifestyle dramatically. Skiing in movies had been a long time dream of mine, and after a taste of this sweet lifestyle in 2008 I was hungry to buy a sled (snowmobile), truck and film full time. This goal of mine was put on hold as I battled back to health over the next 3 years.

After working with John Roderick of Neu Productions during the making of Uniquely, I told friends that if I ever had the chance to make a film he would be my first choice of whom to work with. I was not only impressed by John’s talents and skill, but by his vision. I was like “this man can convey storyline more effortlessly and authentically than anyone I had ever met. I have to hire him to make an all woman’s ski movie!” Three years after meeting, I did hired John to take on a film project. But one of a different nature. As things don’t always turn out as we picture them, this film was not a ski movie but a Lyme Disease awareness film aiming to bring light to a worldwide epidemic stemming from the bite of a Deer Tick.  ”LymeLight” our 30 minute documentary using my story as an educational vessel was born, created and released in May of 2013. This labor of love has reached nearly thirty thousand views and educated countless people in all walks of life. This project has been the single most fulfilling experience of my life thus far.

Getting to take the mission of spreading Lyme awareness with me as I returned to freeskiing, was a gift. When I took a step away from competing in halfpipe skiing in 2009, I was burnt out. Not only from being sick and tired from Lyme Disease, but frankly I was sick and tired of living a selfish life. I would win sometimes, I would fall sometimes, but no matter the outcome of an event I was left feeling empty. That spark of joy that had always been present for me in skiing was dimmed. I didn’t start skiing to win medals, I was searching for something else, and not finding it amongst the pro-skier scene for years had weighed on my heart. I cannot say at the time I was diagnosed I saw this as a blessing in disguise, but today I do. Not only would I have the chance to recover my health but I had the chance to find a more empowering path in my ski career.

Flash forward to the evening of Saturday January 18th, 2014. The Park City Mountain Resort halfpipe was lit up like a christmas tree and glowing in all her glory. With a crowd of thousands, spectators, fans, friends and family eagerly awaited the start of the Park City Grand Prix Finals. This was the final US Olympic Trial event and the last chance for athletes to earn the few coveted US Olympic Freeskiing Team spots for the Winter Games in Sochi 2014. The Park City crowd heated up the chilly night with enormous energy unmatched by any event of my career, including my four times competing at X-Games! The stage was set for magic.

As I landed the most flawless run of my “8 years strong” competitive freeskiing career, I felt the culmination of years of hard work, overcoming obstacles, blood, sweat and tears pay off in a single moment. It was not the outcome of winning the event that night and earning my spot to Sochi, but rather the feeling of reaching my personal potential. For years I had been hustling for a moment when I could say, “I am absolutely proud of every bit of that halfpipe run!” Being sick for years and a perfectionist in life, that moment was 11 years in the making. So you can imagine the epic magnitude of emotion I felt as I skied into the finish coral at the base of the halfpipe. Later I would see the photo below capturing just that, pure freedom!

 

Angeli let's out a cry in celebration after landing her run at the Park City Grand Prix Finals.

Angeli let’s out a cry in celebration after landing her run at the Park City Grand Prix Finals.

 

I returned to Russia in February 2014 to compete as an Olympian and my journey came full circle. I was back in the same location but I was transformed and so was Sochi. The next month was far from smooth or easy as I experienced every human emotion possible. This being an eery similarity to my first Sochi trip. Some call it bad luck but I think it’s all how you look at it. After tearing my MCL (medial collateral ligament) in my right knee during our final practice session the day before freeskiing halfpipe’s Olympic debut, I reminded myself that I came to ski my heart out. The day of our event, through searing pain I did just that. The Olympics was the most amazing experience I have ever had as an athlete and I know now for certain that the best things in life do not come easy. The contrast of the “ups and downs” gives us perspective to fully appreciate life. I did not win a medal in Sochi, but I feel like a winner. That is what skiing is to me. Everyday that I am out there, I am winning! By following my passion I am on track to reach my potential in life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thank you Russia for your warm smiles, your joy and excitement. Thank you to the volunteers that made my stay in Sochi smooth and fun. My favorite random moment was when a local kid asked to carry my skis and walk with me to my building. This happened almost everyday after that, new faces but same welcoming gesture. They were just as excited as I was to be at the Olympics. It was always refreshing and just what I needed on those days when frustration threatened to get me down.

I have been truly touched by the outpouring of love from around the world during my comeback and Olympic journey. Thank you to my coach Luke “Ocho” Allen, my sponsors Atomic, Oakley and LymeLight Foundation, the US Olympic Team staff and my friends & family for supporting me on my road to Sochi. Thank you to the ski community, Lyme community and my hometown of Bellingham, WA for believing in me and cheering me on.

It has been an absolute honor, I am forever grateful.

View from the peak of Rosa Khutor

View from the peak of Rosa Khutor

The Olympic halfpipe Sochi 2014

The Olympic halfpipe Sochi 2014

Angeli grabs a quick photo before departing for the closing ceremonies in Sochi.

Angeli grabs a quick “Rings” photo before departing for the closing ceremonies in Sochi.

Dew Tour 2013

The Breckenridge Dew Tour was the first of five Olympic selection events for US Olympic hopefuls like myself to make our mark. Starting off the week strong I qualified 1st on Wednesday with a score of 89.6 (results and writeup). On Friday morning it came down to the last run of Superpipe Finals, my second run and final chance to wow the judges (results and writeup). With a score of 89.0 I landed myself 2nd place and walked away with 800 points towards my Olympic ranking (ranking and writeup).

Watch my second place run here: Angeli VanLaanen 2nd place Dew Tour Superpipe run

All smiles!

To top off my exciting result, America swept the podium with Maddie Bowman in 1st and Brita Sigourney in 3rd!

Dew Tour Superpipe Podium 2013

 

I am overjoyed and grateful to start off the season on such a high note! Big thanks to my coach Luke Allen, my amazing friends and family, my sponsors AtomicOakley and LymeLight Foundation and everyone who believes in my skiing.

Next up is the Copper Grand Prix this week. Qualifying on Thursday and finals on Friday. This event is the 2nd of 5 Olympic selection events. The “Road to Sochi” rolls on.

It Was Fate

LymeLight Foundation

In the midst of fundraising for my documentary film LymeLight, a Lyme Disease awareness piece based on my story, I was contacted by the chairman of a non-profit named “LymeLight Foundation.” I remember being very surprised by this news, for I had yet to hear of the foundation and searched this name many times before choosing it for my film. As I met with LymeLight Foundation in the months following our introduction, the potential for a partnership blossomed. Not only do we share the same name, we share the same mission: “to bring support to the Lyme community.”

For over a decade I battled Lyme Disease and was challenged both physically, emotionally and financially. Through my journey back to health, I experienced the rocky road that Lyme patients must travel. From flying cross country to find a Lyme literate doctor, to paying for the majority of my treatment out of pocket, I know the burden Lyme patients carry. I am fortunate to have had the resources required to take on treatment, but the harsh reality is that many are not able to afford it. LymeLight Foundation has filled the much needed role of providing grants to young people and children battling Lyme Disease. The money they raise goes directly to patients needing support. As LymeLight Chairman Scott Bedford explains, “LymeLight Foundation aspires to bring hope for a healthy future to children and young adults struggling with the disease. The financial cost of Lyme Disease can cripple an entire family. A grant from LymeLight Foundation can help ease that burden.”

I am thrilled and honored to announce my partnership with the LymeLight Foundation. I have signed on as a spokeswoman for the coming year and will carry this cause with me throughout my competition season. Along with spreading the word about their great work, I will be donating a portion of all my winnings.

http://www.lymelightfoundation.org

 

Comeback Update #2- Finding Balance

When I was very young my mom told me that life is like a tightrope walk. If we push away the bad and only reach for the good, we will fall off the rope. The goal is to find middle ground while navigating the positive and negative experiences life presents us with. I have carried this metaphor with me through some major ups and downs in my life. With each new challenge I face, the depth of her wisdom sets in a little more. Life is not just about the good stuff. It’s about balance. Without a bad day, we would not know a good one. Without hot, we would have no concept of cold. The contrast is what gives us foundation.

That being said, let’s get into my Comeback Update #2- Finding Balance.

In Update #1 I left off just before the busy competition season began. Since November, I have competed in 3 contests, landed on 2 podiums, traveled to 1 country outside the US and sustained 1 noteworthy injury.

It all started off with a bang! The North Face Open at Copper Mountain, CO was a dream come true. I was reunited with old friends and landed myself on the podium in 3rd place.

Qualifying day at The North Face Open Copper

Qualifying day at The North Face Open Copper

Click link to see the Freeskier article on Qualifiers

Finals day at Copper.

Finals day at Copper.

The podium at Copper.

The podium at Copper.

Click link to see the Freeskier article on Finals

The very next week was the Dew Tour at Breckenridge, CO. Training went great that week but when it came to qualification day, something was off. I was sick to my stomach and thought maybe it was just an extreme case of nerves. I pushed through and placed 7th in qualifications, just missing finals by a spot. It turns out I had unknowingly eaten scrambled eggs with milk in them that morning and I am lactose intolerant. Oops! Lesson learned, people often add dairy to fluff up scrambled eggs.

Reunion of friends at Breck Dew Tour.

Reunion of friends at Breck Dew Tour.

After a month of skiing in Colorado it was time to make the 8 hour road trip home to Salt Lake City, Utah. I happily settled back into my apartment but just long enough to fit in my first powder turns of the season. A day of shooting with photographer Re Wikstrom at Alta, one of my favorite mountains, was just what I needed! Then it was off to Green Bay, Wisconsin for some long overdue holiday family time.

Happy to be home in my favorite halfpipe. Park City with Kimmy Sharp!

Happy to be home in my favorite halfpipe. Park City with Kimmy Sharp!

After the hectic holidays I was ready to get back into a halfpipe. Park City Mountain Resort is home to my favorite halfpipe in the world! Opening day was epic! Great people, great weather and a beautiful halfpipe all to ourselves. Training progressed smooth that week until one day while working on my left 900, I caught the deck (top of the halfpipe) falling 15+ feet onto my side. I knocked myself out and sustained only a minor concussion thanks to my helmet and mouth-guard. I was restricted from skiing for 10 days, forcing me to miss the Copper Mountain Grand Prix. This was a huge let down, for the Grand Prix competitions are very highly ranked in our sport.

After 10 days off, I got back on snow and began to rebuild my confidence. With 1 day of skiing in Utah, I was off to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada for The North Face Open Whistler event. Being born and raised in Bellingham, WA (only 3 hours from Whistler), flying into Vancouver was like coming home. I was greeted outside the airport by air heavy with moisture and evergreen trees abundant. The Pacific Northwest will always have my heart. I placed 2nd at the event and my mom drove up to cheer me on!

2nd place podium in Whistler and my mom was there to cheer me on!

2nd place podium in Whistler and my mom was there to cheer me on!

Click on link to see the Newschoolers article on Finals

It was bittersweet being back in Whistler, where I first met my friend and fallen skier Sarah Burke at a summer ski camp many years ago. That summer Sarah taught me my first 360 in a halfpipe and snuck me into my first bar to go dancing. Whistler was Sarah’s home and where I fell in love with freeskiing. After her passing last January, we gathered in the Whistler halfpipe for a memorial and celebration of her life. Being back at the place where we lit candles to symbolize her light living on in all of us, brought back so many emotions. It was a roller-coaster trip for me. I am so grateful for the support of my coach, good friends and my mom!

Forever in our hearts, we miss you Sarah!

Forever in our hearts, we miss you Sarah!

“Balance” is my mantra for 2013, reminding me to embrace both the ups and the downs this year. For each is vital in knowing the other.

Next up: Park City Grand Prix January 31st. Click link for event Schedule 

The Comeback update #1

Seems fitting to start with a stroll down memory lane…

Hello from sunny Breckenridge, Colorado. It’s update time…

After returning home from New Zealand, I spent 2 months preparing for the North American winter ski season. With strategic planning, training, eating and mental preparation, I feel ready to take on the busiest competitive season I have ever had. (For example, I have 4 contests before Christmas, when in years past my first contest was mid January!)

Thanksgiving day I set out in the “Silver Bullet” (my Subaru Oakback) from my cozy home in Salt Lake City, Utah to chilly Boulder, Colorado. I was lucky enough to spend a fabulous “Friendsgiving” at the beautiful Katrina Siegfried’s home. I rolled up to her house right as dinner was being served. Katrina took on the challenge of baking a feast that stuck to my Whole30 dietary needs. In a nutshell, Whole30 eating cuts out grains, legumes, dairy and anything processed/refined. Basically I can eat meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. It was quite the treat to be able to eat everything at the table. Believe me, this NEVER happens!

I have been skiing in Summit County for 9 days, 4 of which have been in Copper Mountain’s halfpipe. With it being the first halfpipe open of the season, everyone and their brother is here. It is a wonderful, yet busy reunion of old friends and new faces.

Day 1, 2 and 3 at Copper had their ups and downs, falls and triumphs. But today provided my most profound lesson yet.

“When making a comeback, you must let go of what was, what could have been, and what should be… and focus on what is.” 

My friend Tori Beattie gave me some amazing advice. She suggested I treat each trick as if I am learning it for the first time. This really resonates with my current struggle… my frustration comes when I compare my current skiing to how I used to ski 4 years ago. My plan is to calm my mind and focus on the progress I am making. Rome was not built in a day, and I WILL ski to my potential once again.

BIG shout out to my friends, family and coach Luke Allen for all the positive vibes and advice this week.

Cheers to patience, dedication and strength of character!

 

The Comeback

I traveled to New Zealand and found old friends, new friends and family, many a muddy sheep, sunny days at SnowPark, powder days at Treble Cone, trials and tribulations and greatest of all… confidence in my health.

It has been a long journey back to health for me over the past 16 years. After 2 1/2 years of intensive treatment, lifestyle food and activity restrictions and both physical and emotional turmoil, I’m happy to report I’m back doing what I love most, SKIING! My trip to New Zealand this past month solidified my triumph over Lyme Disease. After placing 2nd in the North Face New Zealand Open on September 1st, any self doubts I had about returning to competitive halfpipe skiing have vanished. This event meant far more than any in my career. Below you can check out a quick edit of my run at the NZ Open, just click the “NZ Open 2012″ link.

NZ Open 2012

My trip began with a 12 hour flight, giving me plenty of time to reflect on the past few years of my life. How much had changed, and how much was still the same. I was surprised to find butterflies in my stomach as I boarded my flight at the Los Angeles International Airport. Excitement and yes, I was nervous! This was my first trip abroad in 2 years and my first competition back in even longer. I also found myself being nostalgic. I have the fondest memories of my previous trip to NZ in 2007. I met people that are to this day some of my closest friends and won the New Zealand Open halfpipe event. Now I can add my trip this summer to those fond memories. Having only 3 weeks in a halfpipe before my comeback event, I was able to put together a run that landed me in 2nd place. To top it all off, my adopted NZ family showed up to cheer me on with signs! Check it out along with other moments from my trip in the gallery below.

A huge thanks to my family and friends for always believing in me, the Toomey family for welcoming me into their home and going above and beyond as hosts, my boyfriend Reid for being a constant support at any hour of the day/night, Peter Legnavsky for connecting me to anything I needed in Wanaka, Freeskiing NZ for the event footage, Anna Segal for being an amazing friend and the most fun partner in crime, the memory of friend and fellow skier Sarah Burke for giving me inspiration in my moments of doubt, and last but certainly not least my amazing sponsors who made this trip possible ATOMIC and OAKLEY. Also, I want to thank everyone who sent support my way throughout my recovery from Lyme. There is one word that sums up my overall sentiment, gratitude!

Cheers and see you on the slopes this winter, whoohooo!

Homemade Enlightened Lemonade

It’s that time of the year again, SUMMER! Sunny days, activities, picnics, BBQing, friends and HOT weather… perfect conditions for a glass of ice cold lemonade!

When I think of lemonade, images of children selling Dixie cups of juice on the sidewalk flash through my mind. I took part in this all American activity as a youngster, posting up with my friends on the corner and hustling overpriced diluted lemonade. For many including myself, this was our first introduction into entrepreneurship. For something so rooted in our culture, it’s interesting to learn the origins of lemonade come from medieval Egypt. The first documentations of this “sugar water and lemon” drink are in the chronicles of a Persian poet and traveler named Nasir-i-Khusraw (10th century). Also, it is documented in the Cairo Geniza (records of the medieval Jewish community in Cairo from the 10th-13th centuries) that bottles of lemon juice, “qatarmizat,” with sugar were traded locally and also exported.

My motivation: I am committed to cutting out refined sugars from my diet. I choose to sweeten with raw agave nectar, which is a low glycemic sweetener made from the agave cactus. This too I work to use in moderation. It has been found in recent studies that high levels of sugar in a person’s diet can cause lower brain function… among other things. Most juice in the stores are pumped full of added sugars and flash pasteurized for our safety, leaving little to no health benefit. The manufacturing process kills vital enzymes and nutrients. Buying a juicer changed my life! Not only was I able to have delicious inexpensive juice, I could feel the nourishment it gave me. This recipe reflects my lifestyle. Fresh, healthy, and healing… that’s what I’m all about.

Moving right along, here is my “Enlightened Lemonade” recipe.

  • You need:
  • *2 large mason jars (with lids)
  • *1 handful of fresh mint leaves
  • *1 handful of fresh lemon balm leaves
  • *raw agave nectar
  • *2 lemons juiced

Step 1- Wash and place mint leave in one mason jar, wash and place lemon balm leaves in the other mason jar. Muddle leaves with the end of a wooden spoon or something to that effect.

Step 2- Fill both mason jars half full of drinking water, secure with lid and place in the fridge for 24-48 hours.

Step 3- Strain leaves out of both jars. You can do this by combining the water from one jar into the other, then clean out leaves and strain into newly emptied jar. Or using another container works too. The goal is to end up with the mint water and the lemon balm water in 1 jar.

Step 4- add lemon juice to taste. I suggest going slowly, little by little. Also add agave to taste. There are so many ways to serve lemonade… tart, sweet, tart and sweet, watered down, super concentrated, etc. Play around with it to find the perfect mix for you.

Step 5- Secure jar with lid and SHAKE! Add ice and drink up.

Why mint and lemon balm leaves you may ask? Both herbs provide calming, hydrating and nurishing qualities, along with healing essential oils that are released in the infusion process. Also, it makes for a fresh, raw, tea based lemonade beverage that’s both healthy and yummy.

I encourage you to play around with this recipe. Maybe add lime juice, maybe strawberry or ginger juice. You could infuse (soak) fresh basil leaves with the mint. The possibilities are endless.

Stay tuned for more Angeli inspired summer recipes to come. 

 

May horaaay!

May has brought much more than just flowers this year! Here is a recap of what’s been going on:

  • *Lyme Disease Awareness Month began.
  • *I released a trailer and Kickstarter fundraiser for LymeLight, my Lyme awareness film.
  • *ESPN, Powder Magazine, Skiing Magazine and Grind TV wrote articles about LymeLight, creating buzz about Lyme.
  • *Friends, family and community spread the word about LymeLight and Lyme Disease awareness.
  • *My “LymeLight kits” went into production (T-shirts, wristbands and other Lyme awareness gear coming soon.)
  • *I ran my first 5K race, and dedicated my efforts to Girls On The Run (a program that promotes young girls being active), Lyme Disease awareness and the memory of Sarah Burke.

What a BIG month May has been thus far!

The second week of May marked the release of a month long fundraiser for LymeLight, the Lyme awareness documentary I am making. I have been working with Neu Productions since November 2011 to capture footage for the film. Our goal is to raise enough money to produce and complete the documentary, take it on tour to spread Lyme awareness and share my story around the world. To find out more about my project and how you can get involved and donate, visit the LymeLight Kickstarter page.

I’m blown away by the support LymeLight has received from family, friends and community! With nearly every person I know -yeah you know who you are :-)reposting, emailing, tweeting, and telling people in their lives about LymeLight, we were able to raise 25% of our goal in 7 days! Now we are at 70% on day 14! Beyond just raising money to finish LymeLight, with everyone’s help we’ve spread the word about Lyme Disease far and wide. My dream of raising awareness has already begun to come true, thanks to the support of people like you!

I started off the 3rd week of May by running my first 5K race. This is an accomplishment that solidified my triumph over illness. It was only a few years ago that I was unable to run at all due to severe pain and arthritis.

Here are a few photos of Becca Babicz and I during the “Girls On The Run” 5K at Sugarhouse Park. We dedicated our race to the memory of Sarah Burke and Lyme Disease awareness month. Thanks to Reid Persing for his photography skills and support.

I encourage you all to get out and partake in Lyme Disease awareness month! No matter what form your support takes, every bit of energy towards this cause makes a difference. Here are a few ideas of ways to get involved and spread the word:

  • *Reposting the link to the LymeLight Kickstarter page on Facebook.
  • *Share with the people in your life why you’re motivated to spread the word about Lyme Disease. (In person, over the phone or in an email.)
  • *Wear a lime green ribbon or article of clothing to symbolize your support.
  • *Join a community event/walk/race and wear lime green.
  • *Blog about Lyme Disease awareness month, sharing what you know and feel about this illness.
  • *Instagram/tweet/facebook artistic photos of limes, with captions mentioning Lyme awareness month (Being creative by using the “play on words” to catch people’s attention.)

Thanks to everyone for your support! Let’s keep the ball rolling…

:-)

Believe in Sarah

I have written and erased sentences for days trying to find words to express my thoughts/feelings on whatSarah Burke has meant to me. I feel strongly compelled to share this story. It says it all.
When I was in high school I followed my older brother to Whistler, BC to attend a summer ski camp named “Momentum.” This camp was located on the Blackcomb glacier and specialized in moguls and park skiing. We would wake up early and take 2 chair lifts over grass and mountain biking terrain to the last bit of snow left on the mountain. There were jumps, rails, a quarterpipe and a halfpipe. I had never skied park let alone heard of hitting rails, so you can imagine how all over the place I was on my skis that week. I tried my first 360′s and slipped out on so many rails, that by the end of the week my hip was black and blue. I was a mess! But the best kind of mess there is. I was sun burnt, bruised and sore but had the biggest smile on my face. This is the week I fell in love with Freeskiing. This is also the week I found my hero, Sarah Burke.
But wait… there’s a twist in this story. Half way through the week I ran into a speed bump on my way to “falling for freeskiing.” There were many coaches at this camp, Sarah being one of them. These were talented and impressive athletes. We all looked up to them so very much.
…The speed bump came when a coach (who will remain nameless) told me to stick to just skiing, that maybe park skiing wasn’t for me. I was heart broken. I loved this new sport more then any sport I’d ever participated in (and I tried them all!) As I was hiking up to the top of the hill with tears in my eyes, Sarah came up to me and said something that changed my outlook. She told me to follow my dream no matter what anyone said. She believed in me fully! She was able to see past my tight and torn non stylish gear, my non twin tip skis, my amateur abilities, my lack of formal ski training and see the potential that lay within. She saw something in me that I had not even begun to see in myself.
I took her words to heart and 5 years later placed 3rd at the US Freeskiing Open. That day, the same coach that doubted me in Whistler years prior approached me and complemented my skiing. Everything came full circle. He now saw the potential that Sarah saw in me years before.
Frankly speaking, Sarah is the reason I am a professional skier. She not only paved the way and created a place for women in freeskiing, her friendship inspired bravery. I looked up to Sarah in every way. Her kindness and inclusion of all people lit up a room. Her dedication and drive for freeskiing is inspirational and unmatched. I will hold onto every lesson learned from her, every gift she gave me and cherish all the memories we made over the years.
Today and everyday, let us be thankful for all we have in life. Let us be thankful for life itself. Let us fill up our days with passion and dedication. Let us continue to follow in her iconic footsteps. Let us be thankful for Sarah.
With love and gratitude, rest in peace my beautiful friend.
Trennon Paynter said it best: “She’s in every snowflake, every ray of sunshine, every breeze. More than ever, now and always, I #BelieveInSarah.”