First Tracks Award
The First Tracks Award honors a young Vermonter who is contributing to and enriching skiing or snowboarding in Vermont and/or beyond. Awardees will serve to provide models for future generations to emulate.
The annual First Tracks Award is given in memory of former Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum Board Member and passionate lifelong skier, Ian Graddock, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 35. Ian was a selfless volunteer and spread his love for alpine skiing by volunteering for the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club and Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum. The First Tracks award was established in 2017.
In its inaugural year, the First Tracks Award was awarded to snowboarder Kevin Pearce. Kevin grew up snowboarding near his Hartland, Vermont home. By 18 he had turned pro, excelling in the halfpipe. In 2008, he became the first athlete to win three medals at the X Games and was crowned overall champion of the international Swatch Ticket to Ride series.
In 2009 Pearce crashed and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury while training in a half-pipe and was hospitalized for four months. The movie Crash Reel, about his injury and recovery, played at Sundance Film Festival in 2014. After two years of recovery he was able to snowboard again.
Pearce started the Love Your Brain Foundation with his brother Adam to help others with TBI's. LYB programs are designed to build community, foster resilience, and help people understnad the importance of loving your brain. He also serves as a sports ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society.
"Pearce exemplifies the spirit that Ian Graddock lived by,” says Museum co-chair Poppy Gall. “Hard-charging, thoughtful and dedicated—after surviving a horrific snowboarding accident Kevin turned his talents to helping others in a way that makes him a unique role model.”