This year’s Espanola Winter Carnival will be a bittersweet one for a local family.
Brandon Todd Boomhower passed away under tragic circumstances on December 9th.
The son of Todd and step son of Marcella Yusko, he started skiing at three years of age and eventually graduated to trick skiing competing with Team Ontario and at international events.
He also helped design many of the jumps and runs at Boogie Mountain in Espanola.
To honour his legacy, The First Annual Boomer Big Air Run will be held on Saturday and part of the ski trail system will be renamed Boomer Park.
His family also donated memorial funds towards the ski lift in his name including his ‘Barrie’ parents; James and mother, Trisha Smith-Boomhower.
Brandon was 21.
His father, Todd Yusko, provided this tribute to his son …
FOR WEBSITE: 100,000 jumps
By a proud father, Todd Yusko
The Big Air Event has been a great fundraiser for the local ski hill in Espanola over the last five years. This event has brought people from all over the surrounding area. This year the name has changed to ‘Boomers Big Air’.
Brandon Boomhower, born in September 1997, had been on skis since the age of three. At six years-old, he switched to snowboard, as the snowboard was the preferred choice of his two older brothers. Being on the hill was better than any other sport that he participated in and found his passion when he traded his snowboard for his first pair of trick skis.
Anything for a jump or a rail. With countless hours of watching you tube videos, hours on the hill with jumps, rails and many bruises, this boy taught himself the art of freestyle skiing. If there was a jump to be made, he made it. If he shoveled the deck, he only did it so he could pile up snow to make a ramp to ride a home-built rail. A bungee cord for Christmas meant he could now propel himself forward on level ground to practice. Borrowing Dad’s truck and dump trailer meant he could grab a few ski friends and haul snow from the hockey rink to the ski hill in October. All that effort to shovel snow so they could walk up the hill and do rails over and over. This was not labour intensive for him, it was fun. With Tom and Claudia Hutchinson’s support at the Espanola ski hill, they were thrilled with his spirit and love of skiing.
With numerous ski hill memberships from Mount St Louis, Snow Valley, and of course Boogie Mountain in Espanola, Brandon improved his skills at jumping and rails. With the grand opening of the Big Air at Boogie Mountain, Brandon was naturally attracted to this event. He also competed in North Bay and Horseshoe Valley.
These opportunities led Brandon to join Team Ontario at the age of 17. The team has trained in Australia, Quebec, Horseshoe Valley and did open water jumping during the summer months. With all this ski jumping and finally some coaching in the later years, Brandon became a talented entertainer on any ski hill that had a snow park with jumps and rails.
Brandon’s involvement with the Espanola hill was to help create jumps and rails at the snow park. He would engage with the ski hill directors and share his Ideas for the park. If he was skiing, it was not so much on the big hill, but he would spend his time at the park. You would see him giving tips to the young skiers as they were inspired to do what he could do. He became one of the judges for the Big Air event. He was also going to teach kids how to ski over the Christmas holidays. Unfortunate events did not permit.
With Brandon’s passing in early December 2018, we, his parents, decided to direct the memorial donations to the Espanola Ski Hill. We had called Tom and Claudia to first let them know of our loss and second, to tell them that the ski hill will be the recipient of the funeral donations. It was Tom and Claudia who were friends to Brandon, and they decided to honour our son with the name change this year, to Boomers Big Air.
With Brandon’s life ending short, his family and the ski hills will miss his back flips and twists as he amazed so many.