Professional snowboarder Chelone Miller, an athlete looking to make the 2014 Olympics in snowboardcross and the younger brother of skier Bode Milller, was found dead on Sunday, April 7, in Mammoth Lakes, California. The New Hampshire native was 29. Early reports state that Miller died of an apparent seizure, which likely stemmed from a 2005 dirt bike accident that left him in a coma for 11 days.
"Chelone Miller had a purity of spirit that was contagious," said Pat Bridges, the editor of Snowboarder. "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."
Miller grew up on an Easton, New Hampshire farm without electricity or running water, started skiing soon after he could walk, and started snowboarding at nine.
He continued to go for big tricks and try new sporting events after his 2005 accident, and suffered occasional seizures while training and during competition. He once fell 25 feet off a chairlift at Mammoth Mountain after suffering a seizure. During the 2012 Arctic Man Classic—an Alaska race that partners snowboarders and skiers with snowmobile racers—he suffered a seizure on the last day of the event.
Miller's Olympic snowboardcross dream looked possible in 2013, as he finished fourth in the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Canyons, Utah, and won the Rahlves Banzai Tour overall title with a victory in Sugar Bowl, California.
Friends who remembered Miller online said he went after lines, jumps, and life with everything he had.
“I won’t forget the time I showed up for a SNOWBOARDER Mag park session at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. Chas had a jump built he called, “The Cube.” There was a wedge jump that was pretty sizable with a huge snow cube in the middle that you had to clear before making it to the landing. Chas, Pat, Lago, myself, and some more riders were there for the shoot and Chilly showed up for the day. No one had hit the jump and the whole morning we were speed testing the run in, unsure of how it would turn out. Sure as shit, Chilly shows up takes one look at the jump and hops on a sled to the top. Next thing we know Chilly is pinning it into this jump and sending the biggest back rodeo double grab I’ve ever seen. He sends the jump to the bottom and catches the last little bit of tranny. When he came back up we asked him why went back rodeo first hit. His response was “Straight air, back rodeo, same thing. If things go bad they go bad, makes no difference to me.” That’s just how he lived life. I swear it didn’t matter what he was doing he was going 100%, 100% of the time. Without a doubt, this guy lived every moment to the fullest!” —Snowboarder Ian Thorley
For more remembrances, go to "R.I.P. Chelone Miller" on Snowboarder.