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[Ed. note: We came across this video of A Rob while trolling the Internet the other day. Our very own Liam Gallagher has a cameo in it (around the 2 min. mark), so we asked him to do a little write up about the trip. Because you can never have too many tributes to a fallen friend -- here's another one for Aaron Robinson.]
I was halfway around the world, and it really felt like it. I'd just spent 36 hours in a row in transit, swept up and away in the always-exhausting, but equally-inspiring act of international travel. Almost two full days of shuffling through airports, squirming in uncomfortable seats, tracking down luggage, dragging luggage, cursing the damn luggage -- I love it, but man...To to leave North American summer to land in Southern Hemi winter is always disorienting -- like being woken up while really deep in a dream.
I knew I'd made it to Chile, but I think I was still rubbing my eyes on that first chairlift ride when I heard someone call my name from the run below.
"Hey, Liam. Is that you? What's up?"
What? Who the... Is that dude talking to me?
"Liam, it's A Rob! Bienvenidos buddy! Beautiful day, huh?"
I should've known. Of course A Rob was there, half a run ahead of us, five faceshots into his day, waiting to greet us on our first run at Nevados de Chillan. And that's how it always was with Aaron. Wherever I went, he always seemed to be too. Be it some kind of cosmic connection, dumb luck or a combo of the two, I can't even count the number of times I ran into A Rob randomly around the world.
We met him mid-run, kept it going downhill, hammering as many turns as we could with our summer legs. I tried to keep up, but tomahawked twice in the waist-deep pow. We caught up on the chairlift.
|A Rob styling it out in Chile, circa 2010.|
It was late July and he'd already been in Chile for almost three weeks, and from the sounds of it he was fully immersed in the scene. He knew all the locals, was courting the cutest girl in town, had a hook up on lift tickets and his Spanish wasn't half-bad. He told me about a few wilds nights in Santiago, sketchy bus rides over the mountains, some lines over at El Colorado and his loose plan for the rest of the winter.
He was going to be down in Chile as long as he could, through the end of their season, even though as it stood he only had 10 bucks to his name. But he wasn't the least bit worried about finances.
"I've still got a board I can sell," he said. "And there's plenty of couches to crash on down in Las Trancas. Oh, and one of my new amigos loaned me a helmet cam, and the marketing department said I could keep getting lift tickets as long as I filmed some stuff around Nevados. And ... it finally dumped!"
He had it dialed. He could ride every day. And since that's all he's ever wanted to do, he didn't have a care in the world. The words "pure stoke" pretty much sum it up.
A Rob always seemed to be having the time of his life. I've never met another person who lived so wholeheartedly in the moment as he did. And that's what I admired most about the dude. So often, so many of us are so worried about what's been or what's to come, that we forget to enjoy what is. Not A Rob.
It's sure to seem crazy to most people, living like he did, always on the move, chasing storms and snow and that rush of ripping a new line. It even seemed a little crazy to those of us who do the same.
I like to think that I do what I want most of the time, but Aaron -- he did exactly what he wanted, when he wanted, always. He followed his heart every minute of every day. He lived to ride that board. He loved it. That's all. He was an inspiration to everyone he met and while he might be gone, I've no doubt that I'll still be seeing A Rob everywhere I go.