After two years of watching his Frends and fans sport "I Ride 4 Kevin" stickers on their boards in tribute, snowboarder Kevin Pearce is asking them to join him on Tuesday at Breckenridge, where he's planning to take his first runs since the traumatic brain injury that kept him out of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Make that "I Ride with Kevin."
Now well into his recovery process, Pearce has been manning the mic at snowboard halfpipe events over the last year, and emceed the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain over the weekend (fellow Frends crew rider Luke Mitrani won it, which means Pearce may as well have been on the podium himself: As any Kevin Pearce fan will tell you, there is no "i" in Frends). He'll be at it again this week for the Winter Dew Tour's Nike Open, which gets underway with qualifiers on Thursday. But first he's going to do the one thing he's wanted to do most: Get back on board himself and take a few runs with his Frends crew while they're all in one place.
Pearce has already been back on a surfboard and says he's been working hard in physical therapy, with snowboarding again as one of his ultimate goals. He's also become an advocate for wearing helmets, and earlier this month won the National Rehabilitation Hospital's Victory Award for his efforts: His own helmet saved his life.
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To join Pearce's posse tomorrow, buckle yours up and meet him at the top of Chair 5 on Peak 8 at 1 p.m.