It was a brisk, clear day when Jamie Pierre rolled off a cornice on the backside of Grand Targhee, ripped a mute grab for about forty feet, and then plummeted another two hundred and ten feet before landing on his neck in a deep, untracked powder field below. The jump was Pierre’s successful attempt to set the world record for the biggest cliff jumped on skis, which he did in front of a TGR film crew. After the film crew helped dig Pierre out of his bomb hole, he emerged almost completely unscathed – a bloody lip the only injury – and skied a line of powder turns down to the camera. The year was 2006.
Jamie will forever hold an enigmatic place in skiing history. Renowned for his fearless cliff drops, he would pioneer record drops pushing 160 and then 180 feet, all without the aid of a helmet, and performed with a deep conviction and devout faith in Christianity. “Everyone’s looking at me like I’m a nutjob,” he said over the radio before his world-record cliff drop at Targhee, “But I want everyone to seriously think about God and Jesus Christ dying on the cross for you.” Even with a wife and a kid at home, Pierre was determined to hold that world record, if only for one day. His feats routinely re-wrote the book on what was possible on skis thanks to what The New York Times considered “technical prowess, near-perfect snow and weather conditions, and careful planning.”
Two years ago today, Jamie died while snowboarding the South Chute at Snowbird before the mountain opened. An avalanche swept him 800 feet over rocks and a cliff. He is survived by his wife, Amee, along with his daughter Clementine and his son Royal. “I think one of my last visuals baked in my mind will be of Jamie in a lift line in Montana, one kid on the back and his wife and other kid by his side,” said Todd Jones after Jamie’s passing. “He had the biggest shit-eating grin on his face. He was truly happy. His search was complete. It was bigger than the grin he wore the day he hit the World Record cliff at the Ghee. That’s how I will remember Jamie.”