During a break in our filming schedule a few weeks ago, the TWS crew made a stop at Alpine Meadows. What began as one of the greatest powder missions in recent memory, the day hit a tragic bend. While coming over the far rider’s-left ridgeline from the main chair, we saw a small group of kids huddled near the bottom of a jagged rock line. We immediately rode down to check the scene, and within seconds realized the severity of our now shared situation. Some of our crew had been in life positions before, some not. Those that had began the body checks and stabilization, while trying to calm the terrified friends. The rest went to work building the ramps and run-ins for the patrol sleds, which would eventually arrive to secure the surroundings.
In fairness to the injured and his friends and family, the truly gut-wrenching details of the event won’t be shared, but suffice to say, this tragedy will surely stay with us all for a very long time. We never got his name, nor assumed we’d ever find out what happened to the young man. When he was finally helicoptered away, all that was left was a long, balanced silence.
This morning, an email came to showcase a recent celebration/fundraiser at Kingvale, “Shred For Bo Day”. After skimming the message, it quickly hit home that “Bo” was the young man we came across a month before. The memories rushed back from whatever deepness they’d be buried to.
Events like this showcase the absolute best of the snowboard community. Our thoughts are with Bo, his family and friends. Best wishes for a full and swift recovery.
On April 1st, 2010, Brennan Joseph Dekeersgieter, “BO” as his friends know him, was spending the day at Alpine Meadows. Bo was enjoying a glorious pow day shredding with a large group of his friends. Bo’s from Burlington, Vermont, but has been catching pow days in Tahoe on and off for six years. This particular pow day, however, was about to throw a real wrench in Bo’s gears.
Around 1:59 pm, while riding above Alpine Meadows Kangaroo Chair, Bo went to send it off a cliff, which dropped onto a lower pillow line. At that precise moment, as Bo went to jump the cliff, he hit some peppered rocks at the top of his line. The abrupt change of friction caused the base of Bo’s snowboard to slow down while the forward momentum in his upper body stayed constant. Thus Bo was tossed backwards over the cliff into a large section of rocks bellow.
The force of gravity slammed Bo’s body into the rocks. The fall caused trauma to his head, lungs, pelvis, and right wrist. Bo traveled from Alpine Meadows to Reno’s Renown hospital via Life Flight. A dangerous and deadly combination of swelling and bleeding inside Bo’s skull made the first couple of nights in the hospital pretty rough, to say the least. Bo had to be put into a drug-induced coma in order help calm his body thus reducing the swelling in Bo’s skull.
After stabilizing Bo’s brain the doctors have since been focusing on making Bo’s lungs strong enough to function on their own again.
On April 25th, 2010, a group of 75 friends and fellow shreds gathered at the Kingvale Terrain Park, a small spot off highway 80 in Kingvale California. After some diligent hard work and planning by a few close dedicated friends, the sun shined down on “Shred for BO Day”. There was a keg, and bottles of wine. There was BBQ food. There were prizes galore to be had by all. And as the sun beat down, and the beats pumped on, smiles and boardslides were all the eyes could see. Friends came together to get down, shred, and party in honor and proceed of a fallen Broski! It was absolutely magical. Inspiring like a Disney movie, pre-Pocahontas, I tell you!
At the end of the day most of us were half-cut and fully burnt. “I had been wanting to rent out Kingvale as a private venue for a long time. When I started putting it together it only made sense to do this for Brennan. We invited all the homies. It just went off from there.” says Elton Bonneville, a close friend of Brennan’s, and one of the masterminds behind “Shred for Bo Day”.
Brian Neri met Bo some five years ago at an awkward party in Tyrolean Village. “We’ve been sitting around kind of feeling helpless about the whole situation. We decided to create an event that would be fun for all the homies and community while spreading the word about Bo and what happened,” says Brian.
Today Bo is still at the Reno Renown Hospital and will be there for a while yet. On April 28th Brennan met with a speech therapist for the first time. It is not yet certain how long a full recovery will take but all his friends and family “are hoping for the best. All the good vibes, thoughts and prayers are truly helping, so keep it up out there!” says Neri.
“Shred for Bo Day” raised a thousand dollars for Brennan and the boys would like to thank and send their “love to everybody who showed up and supported a homie in need.”
A big thanks goes out to Alpine Meadows, Tahoe Daves, Yoshimi Sushi, 50/50, Tahoe Grow Supply.
More thanks go out to: The Mays House Kids, The Rutland and GBP Kids, Nick Kratter, Ryan Kittredge, The Ryans, Mullen, Helly Hansen, the Griffins, Matty B, Taggart, The Kingvale Guys again, Jake, Kim, and Terry thank you so much for all the help! Elton Bonneville, Brian Neri, Brian Austin, Mike V, Brandon Griffin, Mcgregor, Liz Deering, The Pavone family, and everyone who made it there to donate.
~ Jet Hawk