On December 8, 2005 CR Johnson suffered severe head trauma in a freak accident at Brighton Resort in Utah. Johnson went into
a coma after colliding with another skier while filming for a Bigger Picture film called Show-n-Prove. Within 10 days,
Johnson had woken up from his coma, and by the 26th day he was able to sit up in bed, talk in a whisper, and eat solid food.
He quickly began walking, and after 34 days in the hospital he returned home to Truckee, California. By the end of March,
Johnson was back on the snow at Squaw. We caught up with him for this interview on April 5, 2006.
How did your sponsors treat you after the accident?
Well, my Smith
team manager came and visited me in the hospital in Utah. They put the most energy into me. Spyder
continued to support me as they originally planned to do; theyíve shown a lot of support, as well. Smith has by far been the
According to the some online reports, Kye Peterson landed on you while you were picking up
some gear you lost after a cliff
drop. Do you know what happened?
Thatís not what happened.
We were hitting a windlip rapid fire, like really fast, just one after the other. I fell and Kye Petersonóhe was coming
behind meóand I tumbled on out to the right and lost my skis. I was picking them up, but he was only a couple seconds behind
me. He hit the windlip to the right in case I fell, but since I tumbled out to the right he landed on me.
Do you think your helmet saved your life?
Um, no. It definitely helped me, but where he impacted me, he hit me with his hip, pushed my helmet up and goggles down. I
got a cut on my forehead, I think he hit me with his belt. I got whatís called Coup-Contrecoup. Your brain is basically
whiplashed in your skull. My brain slammed the opposite side of the skull, and it had nothing to do with the helmet.
Impacting the inside of your skull kind of takes the helmet out of the equation.
Whatís your first memory after coming out of your coma?
Six weeks later. About 38 days later when I was home.
I remember a lot of the dreams I had when I was in the hospital, but I donít remember any of the reality. I just remember
getting home. My first memory was waking up, and Iíd thoughtóIíd dreamt that I had been kept in a really small shack in the
middle of the Salt Flats, and was being held captive there against my will. And I escaped it, ran across Salt Flat, and
caught a train. Just jumped on it, and I work up in Truckee thinking Iíd rode the train, and that my dad picked up at the
train station. That was the first thing I remember, even though him and I took a flight home together from Utah, but I didnít
How did you make such an incredibly fast recovery?
I donít know if it was any one specific thing that attributed to my recovery being so quick. Coming out of a coma, I was
incapable of anything: speech, movement. I started being able to move and talk a little bit. Once I started coming along, I
did really quickly. Nurses kept saying I was lucky to be young and healthy. If anything, I would have to say my youth and
health contributed to my quick recovery.
Are you still feeling any effects from the accident?
Uh, yeah. Physically the only problem I have right now is I canít fully straight my right pinky, but mentally my memory
doesnít work very well. Itís coming along, and recently itís starting to work better and better. Before, I couldnít remember
what I had for breakfast by the middle of afternoon. I still have a little memory difficulty.
Did your doctors clear you to go skiing this season, or were you doing it against their
Iíve gone skiing twice. My doctors cleared me to ski. I can ski, and I can ski at full capacity, I just canít take the risk
of falling. Iím not taking jumps and skiing lines. I can ski at full speed and full strength, but I just canít take risks.
What plans and goals do you have for next year?
My plans and goals for next year are basically Tanner Hall, Evan Raps, and myself working on our film company the Bigger
Picture. Film for a movie were making next year. For competing, Iíd like to do the X-games again.
CR Johnson is currently living in Tahoe. His sponsors include Spyder, Smith, and Grenade Gloves.