Sarah Burke’s friends took a slow ski down a darkened halfpipe at the Winter X Games on Thursday, saying goodbye to the skier who helped push their sports to the heights they are today.
Burke, who would have been the defending champion in Saturday’s SuperPipe finals, died Jan. 19, nine days after suffering an accident in the Park City halfpipe.
At the bottom of the pipe, friends embraced Burke’s family, still mourning a week after the 29-year-old Canadian freestyle skier’s death.
A touching video tribute in remembrance of Sarah played on big screens across the venue. And for the rest of the week, a celebration of her life will continue. Purple ribbons, red stickers. Her name written on the skis, boards, hands and helmets of the competitors. As X Games anchor Sal Masekela said during the tribute "if you're looking for her legacy, you'll find it in the faces of those here and all those who line the halfpipe and come down the mountain in years to come. "
Burke was a four-time X Games champion in skiing superpipe and winner of all the sport's biggest titles. She lobbied to get women's superpipe in the Olympics, where it will debut in 2014.
On the first day of WX 16, Canadian Kaya Turski won her third consecutive gold medal in Women’s Ski Slopestyle. And she did it by landing the first switch 1080 by a woman in Winter X Games history.
Needing a near-perfect third run, Turski left no doubt when she landed her switch 10. Her fellow competitors mobbed her at the bottom of the course even before her score had been posted.
After winning gold, Turski tweeted a message to fellow Canadian and her guardian angel: “Thank you Sarah for skiing with me today! Love to the skies <3.”
Burke’s spirit is strong this week in Aspen and there is not a competitor who isn’t thinking about her, her family, her infectious smile and her love of life.
It's been said the brave do not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.
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