A new documentary about snowboarder Kevin Pearce has thrills and heroics, but forgoes the standard feel-good underdog story for a cautionary tale about head trauma in sports.
On the morning of December 31, 2009, things were going pretty well for pro snowboarder Kevin Pearce. The 22-year-old was almost certainly going to represent the U.S. at the upcoming Vancouver Olympics. He had a budding rivalry with Shaun White, the “flying tomato” king of the halfpipe and 2006 Olympic gold medalist who he had beaten in several recent competitions. He was racking up sponsorships and getting attention from journalists. And he had an established crew of buddies and a girlfriend—all snowboarders—who traveled from halfpipe to halfpipe together.