C.R. Johnson Documentary Trailer from 4FRNT Skis

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We hadn’t ever heard that this documentary was being created and we are very pleasantly surprised.  It makes perfect sense.  C.R. Johnson was a skiing legend by the time he was 14 years old.  Later in life, he nearly died in from a traumatic brain injury in 2005, then came back to rip hard on skis again.  Tragically, C.R. died at Squaw Valley ski resort in 2010 after a bad fall in rocky terrain.

CR Johnson jumping a channel gap jump at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl in Government Camp, Oregon - Poor Boyz Productions
CR Johnson jumping a channel gap jump at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl in Government Camp, Oregon – Poor Boyz Productions

Skiing owes a lot to CRJ.  He was one of the first skiers to be both unbelievable in the park, and unstoppable on the big mountain.  His fluid style and ability to ski anything made park skiers get on the big mountain and big mountain skiers hit the park.  He set a new standard and showed us that it wasn’t enough to be one dimensional.

CR Johnson's comeback from a traumatic brain injury was impressive.
CR Johnson’s comeback from a traumatic brain injury was impressive.

This Fall, we’ll get to see two of our Squaw Ski Legends back on the big screen:  C.R. Johnson & Shane McConkey.

We’ve lost a lot of amazing people at Squaw over the years.  It’ll be fun to see them again, even if it’s only for a little while.

Thanks 4FRNT, for putting this together.


CR Johnson Movie Press Release:


SLC, UT –  4FRNT released the official trailer today for CRJ: The Chronicle Of A Freeskiing Icon. The film outlines CRJ’s rise to Icon status in the world of Freeskiing and documents his accomplishments and setbacks through film segments and insights into CRJ from those who knew him best.

Charles Russell Johnson III better known as CR or CRJ pioneered the Freeskiing movement. People recognized CR’s talent from a young age and at the age of 17 he rose to skiing stardom after landing a 1440. During his short career CR competed in the Slopestyle and Superpipe Winter X Games events and filmed with Matchstick Productions, Poor Boyz Productions, Level 1, and Teton Gravity Research among others and returned to the professional circuit after a life-threatening and career ending injury in 2005. Throughout his highly public skiing career CR’s passion for skiing and dedication to the sport set him apart. He couldn’t stop skiing because for CR
skiing was just too much fun.

CR passed tragically in a skiing accident at Squaw Valley on 24 February 2010. 4FRNT’s new film is dedicated to CR’s legacy and all proceeds from the film will benefit the CR Johnson Healing Center.


CR Johnson at the Summer X-Games in San Francisco in 1999.
CR Johnson at the Summer X-Games in San Francisco in 1999.


Charles Russell Johnson III (August 10, 1983 – February 24, 2010) was a professional skier and a pioneer in the freeskiingmovement.[1] He became a top competitor and a favorite in ski films and was known for his progression, fearlessness, and passion for skiing.[2] Johnson died in 2010 in a ski accident.


C.R. Johnson was born and raised in Truckee, Lake Tahoe California.[3] He grew up skiing Squaw Valley Resort, a world-class ski area that is known for its extreme terrain.[3] At Squaw Valley, Johnson spent his time lapping the terrain park and charging difficult chutes and bowls.[2] Johnson quickly developed a large range of tricks and excellent big mountain skills.[2] In addition to skiing, Johnson enjoyed surfing, fly-fishing, traveling, and spending time with close friends and family.[4]


In 1999, Johnson emerged on the freeskiing scene when he successfully landed a 1440.[1] The skiing community quickly recognized Johnson as a talented young star who could help progress free skiing.[2] Johnson was a fearless skier willing to try any tricks and ski any backcountry lines.[1] His passion for skiing and dedication to improve propelled him to become one of the best free skiers in the world.[1] In 2001, Johnson placed first at the Core Games quarter pipe in Japan and podiumed at the Big Air Winter X Games in Mount SnowVermont.[4] The following year at the 2002 Winter X Games, Johnson won silver in slopestyle.[4] In addition to his medals, ESPN Action Sports nominated Johnson for Male Skier of the Year.<[4] In 2003, Johnson won bronze at Winter X Games Superpipe.[4] If it was not for him crashing on the lip of the pipe, Johnson might have gotten Gold overCandide Thovex.[1] Regardless of the results, Johnson exemplified the future of half-pipe skiing by launching 20 feet above the pipe’s walls and landing technical tricks with many spins and intricate grabs.[1] During this period, Johnson also spent time filming and producing ski segments with action sport producers like Matchstick Productions, Poor Boyz Productions, and Teton Gravity Research.[5] From 1999 until 2004, Johnson had a significant role in many ski films.[5] Some of his most notable segments were in films called “Front Line,” “Focused,” and “WSK 106.” [5]


On December 8, 2005 Johnson was filming his latest movie, Show and Prove when he suffered a life threatening injury.[6] He was skiing at Brighton Ski Resort in Utah on a powder day, when he and Kye Peterson, along with the snowboarders Zach Siebert & Tommi Ylianttila, launched off natural features under the Millicent chair, one after another.[6] Johnson being the first one to descend stopped after landing an air to collect his gear, when Kye Peterson struck him right below his helmet.[6] The impact knocked Johnson unconscious for about three minutes.[7] When help arrived he was immediately sedated and flown to the University of Utah Hospital.[7] There he was put into intensive care but his recovery was questionable.[6] For 10 days, Johnson remained in a medically induced coma.[7] However on December 18, 2005, Johnson opened his eyes halfway.[7] Eight days later Johnson began whispering, eating, and moving both sides of his body.[7] He was then moved out of the critical care unit to a neural rehabilitation unit where he began speech, physical, and occupational therapy.[7] After being hospitalized for 34 days, Johnson was finally able to return home.[6]


Johnson was determined to start skiing again.[1] He was not going to let his life-threatening injury prevent him from doing what he loved.[8] In 2007, Johnson began the ski season with the attitude and mindset that he would return to his original form.[8] That November and December he spent six weeks in Colorado training half-pipe.[8] Unfortunately, Johnson had a hard time progressing and decided he was not strong enough to compete.[8] He then spent time traveling to different competitions, heli-skiing in British Columbia, and filming with Matchstick Productions.[8] At the end of the year, Johnson had overcome many mental hurdles and reestablished a new direction for his ski career.[8] He decided to concentrate on filming and progressing his backcountry skiing.[8] In 2008 and 2009, Johnson continued to travel and film with several ski production companies.[9] He continued to improve and in 2010 Johnson placed third at the Red Bull Line Catcher event in France.[4]


On February 24, 2010, at age 26, Johnson died skiing at Squaw Valley Ski Resort in the Light Towers area.[10] He had chosen an extreme rocky line to go down the mountain and caught an edge on an exposed rock which caused him to fall .[2] Medical assistance arrived several minutes after the incident but pronounced him dead on the scene.[2] His death had significant impact throughout the freeskiing, mountain sport, and especially in the Squaw Valley community which has lost several high profile athletes near the end of the decade.[11] A funeral service was held March 5, 2010.[12]

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