January 10th, 2011 by Conor
For reasons unknown, I as well as many people was faced with a situation that is beyond severe. What has happened to my friend Danny is tragic, devastating , and there is no way to get away around that. 7 days ago my life and perspective on life was changed. For me this trip was a struggle to begin with, I had an incredibly bad feeling a week before I left. I talked to friends about it and of course I figured it was related to Tahoe and the large amount of snow we have been getting. Being an optimistic person and a person of my word I decided to push away my feelings and continue on with the trip no matter what was inside me. When it came down to it I just wanted to be with my friends.
Fast forward to Jan 3rd 2011, a nice bluebird day, everyone was stoked to ride and just have fun. Most people have not been to Teton Pass but it has a fun homey atmosphere. By this time the feeling I felt the week prior was pushed away and I was just stoked to be with all my friends. When it comes down to it if you don’t have friends you don’t have anything. To me my friends are my family.
The run before everything changed, the lift suddenly stopped and no one thought anything of it. We joked that we might have to sack up and jump off the lift. Of course we were too scared to actually do it! I was on the lift with Danny when it stopped and it was almost nice despite the cold temps. I had not seen or really talked to Danny in almost a month and like we always do, we got right into an in depth conversation. We talked about everything from his trip to Argentina and how I was now using the same computer he took with him, to relationships with girls…more importantly we were talking about life. For reasons unknown the lift stopped and I was able to have 30 minutes to talk about everything with Danny. This was awesome since we had grown to become such good friends. Finally the lift started up, now very stoked because it was so cold! I wouldn’t realize the importance of our conversation till later.
Standing on top of the feature that ultimately wrecked Danny , I was going to be the last to drop. Danny was getting ready to drop before me and was telling me a little bit about the feature. It was a small but fun looking air, the type of thing you would hit when you’re messing around. It was a 10-foot high hill where you jump up on to an adjacent run. The main thing Danny did say to me was “Moss, be real careful when you land that you don’t go into the trees.” Of course I was stoked he told me but really didn’t think anything of it. Anyone that knows Him and his snowboarding abilities knows Danny is hands down one of the most talented riders out there. I’m stoked when Danny drops to see what he is going to pull…A nice mellow backside 180 is what he throws. I’m thinking how can I one up Danny, but before all that happens I see him stray forward on his board and then out of my line of vision. It was obvious he went down when I saw a group of trees shake. Not fearing the worst I yell to Conor that I am going to skip the feature and make sure Danny is ok. What we rolled up on was not what we neither thought nor what anyone wanted to see. All I could see was his board wedged up against the trees, face first, head buried in the snow with Danny lodged in the trees . Holy shit…. what has just happened, was the thought running in my mind. The rest of the details are intense and not fun, bottom line, brutal. To see your friend in that state is devastating but collectively we all stepped up and played very valuable rolls to get our friend out of that situation and make sure he could get to help.
It’s been 7 days since the accident and many surgeries have ensued, emotions have been high. I spent 4 days sitting in the hospital hoping, praying, and trying to figure out what the hell has just happened. Trying to come to the realization that this has actually happened to us. Danny is one of the best people out there and I trust that his stubborn east coast attitude will help him get through all of this. For reasons unknown I as well as our crew were meant to be there when this happened.
Despite his injury I have only wanted to get back on my snowboard and ride harder then ever for Danny. However from now on I will wear a helmet and be an advocate for them. It has taken this accident for me to realize this and its time for people to suck up their pride and image and use this as a lesson. Everyone will get their own lesson out of this. I just hope everyone realizes it’s not worth it to not wear a helmet. Go ahead and be too cool and think this wont happen to you or your friends and it might not, but when it does just know your never too cool for a helmet and it is only there to protect you, your friends, and your family.
Cant wait to be with you again Danny!
Words by: Moss Halladay