Remembering Chilly

BECKMANN_CHILLY_Lifestyle_Banzai_AlpineMeadows_2012
Compiled and all photos by Kyle Beckmann (unless otherwise noted.)

A true snowboarder, down to the very core that is snowboarding, passed Sunday April 7th, 2013. Chelone “Chilly” Miller, age 29, someone I don’t call an acquaintance but a friend, left the world Sunday from an apparent seizure near Mammoth Lakes, CA, where he called home.

When asked to put something together in Chilly’s memoriam, I was at a loss for words. It took me a while to figure how I would properly pay homage to a man that was nothing short of a legend. I figured the only way to truly let those who have never had the honor of meeting him know who he really was is to take stories and experiences from those who have and make them common knowledge — to bring you into his world through experience.

I knew “Chilly” for far too brief of a time. Prior to meeting him, all I knew of him was the murmurs and whispers of the snowboard industry proclaiming him as one of the gnarliest go-getters in the park realm. At first meet, off-mountain I might add, he was much more than a hype machine, he was a good guy with a good heart. Our conversation was not the same old trick based show talk, nor recycled weather forecast, it was about his dreams, aspirations and zest for life. Immediately I connected with him, and for a few years since we always hit it off on more of an individual level, rather than snowboard level. I appreciated this about Chilly. He was not just a snowboarder, he was a talented man and one that we will all miss. — NICK VISCONTI — Snowboarder

BECKMANN_CHILLY_jump_superpark15_MtBachelor_2012

I had heard about Chilly more than anything. He was near legend in the way people spoke of him, kicking off sessions and riding monster jumps on his own. So once I had the pleasure of getting to know him a little better a few years ago in Breck, I found a guy that was so unassuming, polite, genuine and just such a happy light to be around.  I feel lucky to have known him the little i did, and it truly saddens me we won’t be seeing his smiling face around for that next session. No doubt, he’ll be in my thoughts next drop in. — HANA BEAMAN — Snowboarder

I grew up riding Loon and Waterville,  and before I met Chelone I remember hearing stories about him. My friends would talk about this kid who would lap the Loon park and hit every icy jump going twice as big as everyone else. The first time I saw him ride was at the Main Event contest about 8 or 9 years ago and he more than lived up to all the stories I’d heard. A few years later, after his Super Park performance, Arbor signed him and I was filming with their team so I got to hang out with him here and there. I just remember being so psyched that this kid who was a legend to all of us from NH was making it happen as a pro rider and that I had the privilege to work with him. It turned out that not only was he a great rider but he was also a great human being. I can’t remember ever seeing him without a smile on his face. RIP Chilly! — MATT DEVINO — Arbor Team Videographer / Filmmaker

TERRY_RATZLAFF-Chilly_WINTERPARK_2009

Photo: Terry Ratzlaff

The first time I met Chelone, I was shooting at Winter Park with the Arbor team in December 2009. Most of the week it had been subzero temps during the day, so the nights were frigid. We had been staying at one of the hotels at the resort when Chelone arrived and he insisted on sleeping in his van, which he’d been sleeping in all winter. My first impression of him was bad ass. The next day we were out building jumps for Chelone to hit. The jumps were not the biggest by any means, but he charged it all afternoon, trying to get as many hits in before night fell. I will never forget the amplitude and strength he brought to the table that day and the variety of tricks he had. It was a great experience to have been able to shoot with Chelone, and I will always remember his dedication to snowboarding. — TERRY RATZLAFF — Photographer

I’ll never forget the first time I herd about Chilly, I had just moved to Mammoth and he was the talk of the town. His infamous backside rodeos over the biggest jumps in Mammoth got the whole town talking and to top it all off he would do them in the worst conditions, ice, wind, snow anything, he was always lapping main park with a huge smile on his face.  It wasn’t until a few years later that I got to ride with Chilly at my first Super Park. He was so stoked to show me the ropes, and I was so stoked to be riding with an Idol of mine. It was such a great time, reflecting back on it, it’s hard not to smile and appreciate the times we got to spend together. His positive attitude and “send all” mentality was something that people were drawn to, he truly let his riding speak for it self and that’s something we should all take note of.  It’s with heavy hearts that we say goodbye, forever a friend, legend and mentor. — MARK REININGA — Snowboarder

BECKMANN_CHILLY_Method_superpark15_MtBachelor_2012

Chilly, truly, I have never met someone gnarlier.  His utter passion and joy for life was so big and his heart was among the biggest of all.  I truly cannot believe he’s gone.  Every time I think about him it hits me, it’s so strange when you lose someone you cherish and love being around and the thought that you can’t just go be with them or ride with them is so tough.   There’s a story I’d like to share that I will never forget.  Chilly, Lonnie, and myself had lapped all day.  We were literally the only ones left on the mountain.  We got to the bottom of the last jump on the park chair in Mammoth and we decided to do a lap to the top.  It was 3:29 pm and it was more flat light than imaginable.  Once at the top, we started to ride down the ridge to ‘cornice’. I stopped at the top of cornice to see what they were thinking about the gnarly conditions.  The wind was howling at least 60 mph.  Lonnie stopped next to me and exclaimed “yeaaa!!!!”. Stoked.  Meanwhile Chilly flying by us never even stopping,  with his hand raised in the air with a thumbs up stoked as can be with no need to stop.  Flys by us, pointing it down the mountain in the flat light, mogul field, pinning it completely straight all the way to the bottom.  I remember Lonnie and I, we’re in silence the whole time he was bombing.  When he got to the bottom we looked at each other in silence with our jaws dropped.  Lonnie dropped into the run and I followed.  At the bottom we all yelled in celebration stoked about life.  I couldn’t stop telling that story to my friends for weeks, “chilly is so gnarly!!!”.  I am filled with so much sadness, although I am filled with so much happiness knowing how blessed I was that I recently got to spend so much time with him.  He will never earn enough credit for his triple drop off of the top of Mammoth.  He is the only snowboarder to ever hit it.  It is a 50 ft cliff to a 60 ft cliff, to a no exaggeration 120 ft cliff.  You go and look at it to this day and my jaw drops every time.  Although I was never there to witness it.  I have asked him the story almost every time we hung out.  He would say, “yea, every time I would hit it,  I never thought I was going hit it until I was literally sending it so I would tell people that I was with that I wasn’t going to hit it.  Next thing you know they see me jumping off a mountain!”.   That’s how Chilly was,  he didn’t want credit for anything, he didn’t care what people thought of him, and he definitely did NOT GIVE A FUCK.  The last time I was fortunate enough to spend time with Chilly was at a boarder-cross race.  He went from last to first passing everyone in one corner.  That personally shows me exactly what his personality was.  If there’s a chance to go for it, and lay everything on the line, why not go for it?  He is truly one of the few people I have ever met that actually lived his life like everyday was his last.  Although gone too soon, he lived millions of times more than most people on earth will ever.  To the most passionate, influencing person I have been able to spend time around. We all love you and miss you so much.  ‘Til we meet again, this side, or the other.  Shred those lines in heaven brother! — TREVOR JACOB — Snowboarder

Chilly, as every soul he touched knows, had this unreal presence about him. He was the kind of person that made you want to skip across the floor with excitement for a hug every time he was around. He had his quirky little smile that you couldn’t help but to smile back at. He was truly genuine. He opened my eyes to live life to the absolute fullest, no matter what comes in the way. I wake up and remind myself to live life like Chilly did, and it inspires me everyday to be my best. I am forever grateful for Chelone Miller. TRACI HARTLESS — Artist / Mammoth Local

BECKMANN_CHILLY_PODIUM_Banzai_AlpineMeadows_2012

While I never knew Chelone for very long, I, as many would likely say, engraved a lasting impression on me. It was the spring of 2011 and I was lucky enough to get asked to film a shoot at June Mountain with Chelone and Lonnie Kauk. While I did not know much about Chilly prior to the shoot, I left feeling like I had known him for years. He was one that was honest, upbeat and keen on just about anything. More importantly he possessed what appeared to be an innate ability to be humble, a true trait that I admire. He never spoke about his abilities, his ability spoke for himself and that is something you rarely see.

While it’s pretty customary to leave a quick story, I feel obliged to write one here. While parked at the top of the access road to June where we could unload sleds to make it up the closed ski resort there was a pretty big drop off from the road to the base area. Chilly causally took advantage of the natural terrain and grabbed a driver from his van, placed a golf ball on the road and proceeded to hit balls several hundred yards off the mountain towards town. Personally I would have felt uncomfortable hitting balls towards civilization, risking the small fate that one would strike a person or vehicle below. This didn’t even seem to phase him. While I am sure the balls never even came close to actually endangering anyone, it was just this carefree attitude that Chilly had that I thought was pretty badass. They’re not many other out there like Chilly, and there probably will not be for a long while, regardless he was a unique character and will live on through all of us.  — BEN BISHOP — P.S. Episode Videographer / Filmmaker

Chelone Miller was quite simply a bad ass. He was not afraid of anything or anyone and he lived life by his own rules. That may not have worked out for some people but that was not of his concern. What was of his concern was snowboarding and the bigger and faster the snowboarding the better. He found his rush for amplitude on the biggest jumps anyone was willing to build and if no one else would to hit it… it just meant there were more lines for Chilly. He found his rush for speed in boarder-cross and didn’t care who or what he was up against. It was balls to the walls. Strategy was out the door… it was about speed and air for Chelone Miller… win, lose or draw. Fear was not factor. His life may be over but I guarantee you that he’s just getting started wherever he is now. — BRAD FARMER — Arbor Marketing / Marketing Farmer

The snowboarding world has lost a legend of the hill, friend, companion, shred buddy, and amazing soul. May his family be at peace knowing that there is nothing holding him back from dropping the steepest, deepest, biggest lines of the afterlife, and he is stomping everything… — Kyle Beckmann – Photographer

9 replies
  1. cascadia411
    cascadia411 says:

    C.B.D.s are the cure for seizures. So sad that this medicine was not utilized by Chilly. seizures are scary and I urge anyone having bouts with them seriously consider the alternative medicine route not covered by HMOs and Insurance.

  2. Dunfee
    Dunfee says:

    Chilly was the man. Super mellow nice dude that would then send any jump SASS built in Argentina to the absolute bottom of the chopped-up landing, backside rodeos bombs. Any time you read about Superpark, he was guineaing the biggest jump. Legit dude, terrible to hear him pass at that age. RIP

Comments are closed.