Teddy Knape was a skier and cinematographer born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A 2003 graduate of East Grand Rapids High School, Teddy’s life came to a tragic halt in March 2006, after rescue workers carried his body off a British Columbia mountaintop when he collapsed from a heart defect that had troubled him all his 21 years.
Not many knew of his physical problems. You had to be pretty tight with him or his family to realize the energetic young man with the flashing smile had endured two open heart surgeries, suffered from a bleeding disorder and survived more than a dozen accidents.
Teddy never let his physical troubles get in the way of living his life to the fullest. For a young man who always seemed to find a way to go skiing, his doctors’ mandate that he give up skiing for a year at only 16 should have devastated him. Instead Teddy did what he did best and found another way to be on the mountain, this time filming his friends while they skied. His passion for filming stayed with him after he was allowed back on skis.
While studying at Western Washington University, Teddy also worked as a videographer for a ski film company based in the Pacific Northwest. He was clutching a camera until the bitter end while filming an international skiing event known as the “K2 Back 9” in Whistler British Columbia. He passed away with his ski boots on his feet and his skis resting next to him, on a day he had described to a friend earlier as “perfect”.
Teddy’s passion for skiing was such that he infected everyone around him with the same enthusiasm. On his voyage from the hills of Michigan to the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, Teddy built powerful friendships with all who shared his passion. Most people struggle through their whole lives trying to find the happiness Teddy found in skiing.
After his passing, friends and family gathered at Crystal Mountain resort in Thompsonville Michigan where Teddy learned to ski and could be spotted nearly every winter weekend. Teddy’s favorite run known as the “Back Bowl” received a new name that day in “Teddy’s Turn”. It came complete with a plaque on the sign honoring Teddy’s life and legacy. With the new name came a generous donation to the local adaptive sports organization. It also brought the creation of a charitable foundation whose mission it is to bring Teddy’s passion of skiing to those with disabilities, so they too could experience the freedom and joy of skiing down a snow covered mountain and forgetting all of their troubles.