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Jack Dempsey, Associated Press
Snowboarder Kevin Pearce waves to the crowds before he hits the slopes for the first time, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, in Breckenridge, Colo. Nearly two years after an accident on the halfpipe that nearly took his life, Pearce is doing what nobody could have predicted by riding again.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — Back on the snowboard, back on the mountain, Kevin Pearce rode again Tuesday — 712 days after a devastating accident on the halfpipe nearly took his life.

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On a sunsplashed day in Breckenridge, the 24-year-old former champion took three mellow runs down the hill with friends and fans.

Pearce suffered severe head trauma during a training accident on Dec. 31, 2009. Some doctors suggested he'd never ride again. Others said he should always hold out hope.

And ride again he did. Without any trouble. Fitting for this day, those who rode with him replaced the old stickers on their snowboards — the ones that said "I Ride For Kevin" — with new ones that had the "I'' and the "For" scratched out and instead read, "Ride With Kevin."