Life of Adam Merriman celebrated in Vail
The legendary life of Adam Merriman was celebrated at the Colorado Snowsports Museum on Saturday, Oct. 1, with hundreds in attendance.
Merriman, 50, was a snowboarding pioneer in Colorado, but is better remembered in his later years as a devoted husband and father to his wife Jamie and 11-year-old son, Aaron. He died following an electric skateboard accident Sept. 13.
Evan Merriman, Adam’s nephew who was raised by Adam’s parents, considered Adam to be both a brother and an uncle, and said he plans to snowboard often with Aaron.
For Evan, snowboarding with Adam was a total sensory experience.
“The one vivid memory is the smell of Red Bull and listening to the Beastie Boys in an Audi, I knew I was going boarding with Adam,” he said. “I’m gonna have to keep that going, Aaron and I are going to tear up the mountain.”
Merriman’s father, Dan Merriman, thanked everyone in attendance.
“You’re all family,” he said. “Adam’s going to live on forever in our hearts.”
Aaron’s friend Jake Bastien, 10, shared a few stories about Merriman, as well, saying one thing that will stick with him is something everyone else who knew Merriman also knew, “how much he takes care of his car,” Bastien said.
“We went out to eat, and we took an entire pizza box, and when we were done, Adam was stuffing the pizza box in this little trash can, and he couldn’t get it through, and we walked around the corner and there was a dumpster,” Bastien said. “We all miss Adam. He was such a great person to all of us.”
The event was hosted by Vail snowboarder Rob Bak, who said he was among a movement of snowboarders who came to Colorado after seeing Merriman in magazines or videos.
Trent Bush helped put together an exhibit at the Colorado Snowsports Museum that contains some of the boards designed by Merriman, some of the magazine covers he was featured on, and other artifacts related to his snowboarding legacy.
Bush, on Saturday, thanked the Snowsports Museum and Executive Director Jen Mason for hosting the celebration of life and making space for the Merriman exhibit, which will remain on display throughout the winter.
“We pulled this all together pretty quick, and really appreciate everybody digging in and getting it done,” Bush said.
Bush said in his teenage years, before focusing on outerwear in the ski/snowboard industry, he wanted to become a professional snowboarder.
“I was really working toward that, until I found out about Adam, who was two years younger,” Bush said. “He was 14 or 15 or something like that and just kicked my ass, like so much better. My entire career kind of changed trajectory from wanting to be a rider to making clothes.”
Bush said Merriman and him enjoyed a special time in snowboarding together, growing up in Boulder in the 1980s.
“The was the best day of my life, when my teenage nemesis rival Adam Merriman started riding for Twist for our first brand,” Bush said.
Later in the evening, the crowds moved to Vendetta’s in Vail Village, where Merriman enjoyed hanging out. Friends continued to share stories about Merriman throughout the evening.
Eagle County native Rachel Nelson said she has fond memories of herself at age 10, watching Merriman and company fly out of the halfpipe, “wishing I could be as cool as all of you,” she told the crowd.
“But I was roommates with Jamie on and off for 20 years, I got to see her and Adam fall in love,” she said. “Yes, we all know him as am amazing snowboarder, I was lucky enough to see him become a husband and father, and I feel like I got to see the real Adam emerge. The love he had for his son was unlike anything in this world … the love he had for snowboarding was nothing compared to that love.”
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