Freestyle Snowboarder Chelone Miller, 29, Dies
Underground snowboard star Chelone "Chilly" Miller, younger brother of U.S. Ski Team star Bode Miller, died in his sleep April 7 of what appears to have been an epileptic seizure. The New Hampshire rider was 29.
Like his brother, Chilly was skiing almost as soon as he could walk. At 9, he started snowboarding. "I just immediately fell in love with it and was like, ‘I’m gonna be a snowboarder,’" he said in an interview in the 2010 Ski Channel movie The Story. "I just wanted to go bigger and bigger, and look for a bigger jump that I could hit. It feels like you’re flying for that much longer.”
And go bigger he did, earning Snowboard Magazine's “SuperPark Standout” title in 2009. He was also featured in the Warren Miller film, Playground and, most recently, won the Rahlves Banzai Tour finale last month. He also placed fourth at the snowboardcross national championships in March, and was hoping to make the U.S. Olympic team for the 2014 Sochi Games. Friends and fans know Chilly as a fearless, prorgressive freestyler who rode for the love of the mountains and the thrill of catching big air.
In 2005, a dirt bike accident left Miller in a coma for 11 straight days, and he reportedly experienced frequent seizures during his recovery. Details are still emerging, but it's currently thought that his recent seizure was related.
Already, the snowboarding community is mourning Miller's passing. Snowboarder editor Pat Bridges said: “Chelone Miller had a purity of spirit that was contagious. From sending it at Superpark to being banned from the X Games for jumping off the chair while trying to get to his heat race on time, Chilly always sent it. Watching Chelone ride could instantly right my compass as he provided a counterpoint to the predictable state of modern riding. May the snow be soft enough, the speed fast enough, and the landings long enough wherever the next chapter takes you.”
UPDATE (April 9 @ 3:21pm EDT)—The Ski Channel has posted this moving video tribute to Miller: