The urban-park skiing community is mourning the death of pro ripper Tom Warnick, who was found dead of an undisclosed cause in his Boulder apartment around 10:50 p.m. on Sunday.
The skier, who turned 22 in October, was renowned for his fluid style in gnarly urban settings – spinning down brick walls and grinding steel handrails over concrete lightly dusted with snow. He filmed regularly with Boulder's Stept Productions, a collective of skiers and film editors who trumpet the unorthodox urban ski scene with feisty flicks of rogue skiers beating down traditional, mountaintop images of skiing. Warnick defined that skier, with an individual flair and a penchant for shenanigans that floated his popularity.
He grew up in the East – skiing Maryland's Wisp and New Hampshire's Waterville Valley – and moved to Boulder to study at CU and pursue the life of an underground urban athlete whose recent skiing mostly went down at night under handheld lights. He suffered plenty of injuries and last winter backed off several hits while filming with Stept in Boston.
In an August report about Stept's new film “Mutiny,” Warnick revealed a gift for writing, with an introspective piece that compared the movie's talented urban and terrain park skiers to gladiators putting on a show for the film-watching crowds.
“I'm sure it evokes a form of grim entertainment to the objective onlooker, but I'll be the first to admit that when your best friends are the gladiators, it can be scary as hell out there,” he wrote.
Alex Martini, the co-owner of Stept who counted Warnick as a friend for the past decade, said the tight-knit Stept crew and family are devastated but coping with “epic memories.”
“Tom was extremely intelligent and thoroughly entertaining. It was very rare that anyone would turn down an opportunity to spend time with him,” Martini said. “He was also a famous skier whose talent and perfect attitude amazed us all.”