On Tuesday September 13th 2022 tragedy befell Adam Merriman, a snowboarding pioneer, an innovator and a patriarch of the Colorado snowboarding scene. A friend to many and inspiration to many more, Merriman was a genuine man who melded wit and charm with a charge it attitude that was infectious and hugely influential.
Adam Merriman entered the greater snowboarding psyche at the cusp of the 90’s as a hyper contorting, tweaking phenom in a Quimbola Man Kit atop a Kemper Freestyle. While other aspiring riders followed the conventional contest path Adam excelled in front of the camera being featured on the cover of Snowboarder Magazine’s Photo Annual in December of 1990 and later landing on the cover of Blunt in 1994.
As his native Colorado scene shifted away from the day-glo garb to more grungy attire Adam gravitated towards Twist and K2 and became a card-carrying member of the New School Summit County jib scene. As the rest of the skatestyle vanguard was changing the game one stairset at a time on the streets of Breck, Merriman took the more organic approach pioneering log rides and stump bonks at Copper and Vail. With his peers sporting “Powder Sucks” t-shirts Adam flew the flag for freeriding in the Rockies. His coverage in films like Kingpin’s Sexual Chocolate complete with rainbow rides and cat track gaps cemented Merriman as a style maven. At the same time Adam’s impact behind the scenes led K2 to step up for big footed boarder’s everywhere by collaborating with him on the game changing “Fat Bob” model. As Merriman moved away from the snowboarding spotlight he remained a fixture in the scene, always shredding and bringing an informed first-person perspective to events like the US Open, X Games and Vail Session as a revered competition judge.
Adam Merriman’s impact on snowboarding is immeasurable and the loss on his friends and family is inconceivable. Perhaps a sliver of solace can be found in the faith that Adam is likely laughing and conjuring new adventures on the other side alongside J2 and the rest of our snowboarding community who we have lost too soon.
A memorial for Adam is scheduled for October 1st at 4pm at the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame in Vail, Colorado.
“Adam Merriman’s passing leaves so many of us gutted. Adam was a big reason why I was drawn to snowboarding, why I moved to Vail, and why I completely bought into the hype. Whether it was the hype around being a local, resort living, log slides, side hits, flat landings, German cars, ridiculous sound systems, or coffee drinks. His friendship meant the world to me and his magnetic enthusiasm pulled our scene together in those years. He didn’t follow trends, he set them… long before social media was a thing. Adam wasn’t a self promoter, he just did what he loved and we all wanted to be a part of it. He was extremely loyal to his family and friends, he was genuinely kind, and he had so much pride for his family. My heart breaks for Jamie and Aaron as well as Adam’s parents… and all the friends who are left wishing we had more time to hang out with him and tell him how much he meant to us.” - Barrett Christy
“Adam was one of the originals. We grew up together in Boulder, and he was always ahead of his time with his riding abilities… even as a teenager. Adam helped usher in skate-style snowboarding at a time when tight stances and neon ruled. He was a true innovator, and If you have big feet and ride a wide board, think of Adam next time you don’t drag your toes. RIP my friend and say hi to Twos… - Trent Bush
“Adam Merriman was the first person I ever saw with a 21” stance. In fact, he had 21 inches written between his feet in sharpie on his K2 Dan Donnelly model. At this point in time that was a massive distance for your feet to be apart on a snowboard. Adam was also the first person I ever saw throw a powder panic. Complete and total meltdown of where to go on a pow day. It was incredible.” – Todd Richards
“Adam Merriman was without a doubt the Mayor of Vail and Beaver Creek during the 90’s, take some time today to pull up some footage of him and take notes. You don’t get the nickname Radam for being anything else but straight up Rad. We have lost yet another true legend of our sport: a rider I looked up to, a rider who helped shape me into the person I am today with his actions on and off the mountains. I can only imagine the reunion he had with J2 as they rode off into the powder and into whatever awaits us after this life. Rest easy my brother.” – Ethan “E-Stone” Fortier
“I always loved hearing old stories about snowboarders around Colorado when I moved here back in the day. Merriman car stories were some of the best. And then getting to hear them straight from him the last few years since his move back to Vail. Always seeing him at Vendettas, hitting up East Vail for a powder lap and Splitboarding around with him and Todd Franzen. He was one of the legends that showed me you could snowboard forever. Fat Bob 4 Life!” – Chad Otterstrom