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Remembering Sarah Burke

Sarah Burke will be remembered as a pioneer of women’s skiing after passing away recently due to injuries sustained performing practice in the sport she loved so much.

It’s so upsetting to know that such a skillful, talented and young athlete can die whilst performing the craft she is so passionate about. On January 10, 2012 whilst training on the Eagle Superpipe at the Park City Mountain Resort, Sarah suffered an horrific crash which later would be the cause of her passing at such a young age. Surprisingly, the area where she met that fateful accident was the same area where fellow freestyle skier, Kevin Pearce suffered horrific injuries previously.  Pearce suffered brain injury after the accident but survived. Burke was not so lucky.

It is reported Burke ruptured the vertebral artery that lead to an intracranial hemorrhage, putting her into cardiac arrest at the scene.  CPR was performed on her at the scene, though was immediately flown to Salt Lake City Hospital.  She was in a coma for 9 days and underwent a series of tests and operations until she finally succumbed and passed away on January 19, 2012 – 9 days after the traumatic accident.

Sarah Burke with one of her X Games medals

Sarah Burke 1982-2012 R.I.P.

Sarah and Freestyle Skiing

Born in Barrie and grew up in Midland, Ontario, Canada on September 3, 1989, Sarah started skiing at the age of 5.  She considered it as just one of those sports but later fell in love and developed her skills as she grew.  Because she passionately loves skiing – specifically freestyle, she later joined the Freestyle Club at their area, then eventually made it to the Ontario Team.  At the age of 17, she got her first sponsor and competed in various events around the world.

Sarah Burke was tagged as a fearless freestyle skier, considering her gender and thus fought for equal opportunity for women to compete in freestyle skiing.  She likewise lobbied for freestyle skiing’s inclusion in the Olympics and got the Olympic official’s approval.  By 2014, Freestyle Skiing will be included in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Sarah’s Career

Love of craft and passion in what you do is really what makes you excel in anything.  Just like Sarah Burke – her passion led her not only to becoming the best ever woman freestyle skier – but a model, a game designer and a commentator as well.

In 2001, she won first place in the US Freeskiing Open in the half pipe and second place in slopestyle. In the same year, she won the ESPN’s Award for the Female Skier of the Year.  She also was a four-time Winter X Games gold medalist in freestyle skiing (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011). Aside from that, she was the first woman to ever win the world championship in the half-pipe event.  In 2007, she was voted as the Best Female Action Sports Athlete by the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) – an accolade presented by the American Cable Television Network, ESPN.  She also was given the Best Female Action Sports Athlete Award – the first skier to be given such an award – in 2007 by BERT Awards.

Aside from being a multi-awarded sports athlete, she also:

  • Was one of the commentators at the Winter X Games 15 in January 2011
  • Featured in several magazines such as Preferred Magazine, American Fitness Magazine and Viva Magazine
  • Modeled for her sponsors – Monster Energy, Roxy, Swix, Smith Optics, Empire and Whistler Blackcomb.
  • Was voted as one of the 100 Sexiest Woman in FHM-US 2006 list.

Sarah’s Personal Life

Despite the pressures and the craziness she experienced with her sports, she still found time to enjoy her knitting, painting, cooking and baking.  She loved mountain biking and climbing.

Indeed, not only did she beautifully perform her stunts, she likewise caught the eye and the heart of fellow freestyle skier, Rory Bushfield.  On September 25, 2010, they got married in Pemberton, British Columbia.

Remembering Sarah Burke

Sadly, Sarah Burke is now in a place of unlimited powder.  She died whilst doing what she loved best – skiing.  All skiers and winter sport lovers will forever remember her globally. She was a strong contender for the 2014 Olympics – which, according to her, was her ultimate dream. Although she is no longer with us, she will be forever remembered as an advocate of equal opportunity, an epic athlete and a legend.

Supporters of Sarah Burke have created a website to help alleviate the financial plight of the family, which succeeded and now forms a legacy with donations going toward setting up a foundation in honor of such a wonderful human being.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to husband Rory, her family, friends and everyone who in some way has been touched by the life of such a wonderful human being.

Thank you Sarah Burke for the contributions, the inspiration and the memory that will forever live, despite your passing on a truly cold winters day for us all.

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Pete Kvist
Head Honcho of SRTV

Pete Kvist began skiing in Australia over 20 years ago and has been addicted to skiing and all things snow ever since. He has worked several seasons on the mountain as a lift operator and has also spent some time in ski resort media departments (so yes, he knows the tricks of the trade).

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