A Master of the Half Pipe Plants His Feet at the Altar

When Danny Davis, a professional snowboarder, married Hayley Simpson, his childhood sweetheart, on Nov. 29, it might have come as a disappointing surprise to those who have trolled the internet for years attempting to learn the dating status of the 5-foot-9-inch master of the half pipe.

“Danny is an absolute heartthrob who is known throughout his sport as someone who is always super-approachable and absolutely hysterical when it comes to his sense of humor,” Ms. Simpson said. “He’s also very good-looking, so I’m sure there are lots of girls who are jealous of me and I’m OK with that.”

But to anyone who actually knows Mr. Davis, 33, his marriage to Ms. Simpson, also 33, should not have come as a shock.

“She has always been my rock and always will be,” he said. “She has always been a pretty independent woman who brings so much joy and organization to my life — anywhere we are together feels like home.”

The couple met when both were 14, at a snowboarding event in Mountain Creek, N.J. “I’ve always been attracted to Danny,” said Ms. Simpson, who grew up in Manasquan, N.J., and is often called “Marge,” by Mr. Davis, who grew up in Highland, Mich.

“Her middle name is Margaret and her last name is Simpson, put it together with a little imagination and she’s Marge Simpson,” he said.

In those early years, Mr. Davis said, “Marge was loud and laughed a lot. She had the cutest little haircut, and yet I told her I wouldn’t see her again unless she had her braces removed — that’s the kind of punk I was back then.”

Even if he acted like a punk, Ms. Simpson said that “Danny has always had an energy about him that makes people want to be around him, and that includes me.”

Of Mr. Davis, who started competing professionally in 2006 and said his career in snowboarding began at age 9 when his parents bought him a quarter pipe and two snowboards, Ms. Simpson added, “Professionally, he is one of the hardest working and creative guys I know.”

In their early teens, Ms. Simpson and Mr. Davis never crossed a platonic line. But the two became close enough to decide together that they wanted to attend Stratton Mountain School, an independent boarding and day school in Stratton, Vt., that focuses on college preparatory academics and competitive winter sports.

After graduation they spent several years apart, though always kept in touch. Mr. Davis, at 18, began to make a name for himself on the snowboarding circuit and bought a home in Truckee, Calif., which became his base of operations. Ms. Simpson, who was then thinking about a possible career in the fashion industry, in 2007 enrolled at LIM College in New York City, from which she earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising.

The pair reconnected in 2009 at a 21st birthday party for a mutual friend in Portland, Ore., and began dating shortly after.

Mr. Davis had by then lost his punk attitude, and Ms. Simpson, her braces.

“We always knew we loved each other,” Ms. Simpson said, “but now the timing was right.”

The year before, Mr. Davis won his first Dew Tour championship. He would go on to win two more titles at the extreme sports competition by 2010, the year he suffered a serious back injury in an ATV accident that ended his aspirations to attend the Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Mr. Davis said that Ms. Simpson played an important role in his recovery.

“That time when I broke my back, she was the greatest nurse I could have ever had,” Mr. Davis said.

Four years later, Mr. Davis made the U.S. Snowboard Team for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, where he finished 10th in the halfpipe competition.

Again, Ms. Simpson was right by his side.

“Every time I reached the bottom of that half pipe, Marge was always there,” Mr. Davis said.

Ms. Simpson moved into Mr. Davis’s home in Truckee in 2017. Three years later, in September 2020, the couple became engaged at a home in Burlington, Vt., owned by Ms. Simpson, whose work as a Truckee-based freelance producer for print and digital advertising often requires her to travel to Los Angeles and New York.

As someone who rarely misses any of Mr. Davis’s performances, Ms. Simpson said that his proposal was among his worst. He did not disagree.

“I was so nervous that when I got down on one knee, I could not think of anything to say, and I just froze,” he said. “I have been interviewed a million times, but in a situation like that, I just could not find a way to string two words together.”

The couple’s Nov. 29 marriage took place at the clerk’s office of the County of Nevada in Nevada City, Calif. Carrie McReynolds, the deputy commissioner of marriages, solemnized their license.

Earlier that month, they hosted a wedding celebration on Nov. 19 at the TeiTiare Estate, a rental property in Sayulita, Mexico, during which the bride and groom exchanged personal vows before 122 mostly vaccinated guests.

For the celebration, the bride wore a Vera Wang wedding gown and veil, shoes by Prada and a diamond necklace and sapphire earrings supplied by her mother. The groom donned a custom suit and white shirt by Tailor’s Keep, and shoes by Stubbs and Wootton.

Under a full moon, Mr. Davis and Ms. Simpson partied with friends and family until midnight.

“My feet are killing me from dancing all night,” the groom said the day after the celebration.

When asked if getting married would hasten a decision to retire, Mr. Davis said he still possessed the skills that won him a U.S. Grand Prix (in 2010) and gold medals at the X Games (in 2014 and 2015). Now a bit old for a game that involves death-defying tricks in midair, he said that some of his crowd-pleasing favorites are “the 1080, the 1260, the 900, and the McTwist, among others.”

Mr. Davis, who was voted 2006 rookie of the year in the Transworld Snowboarding Riders’ Poll Awards, was also asked if he thought his best snowboarding days were behind him, or if he had plans to become snowboarding’s version of Tom Brady.

“Tom Brady?” said Mr. Davis, laughing along with Ms. Simpson at the question.

“I don’t know about that, but I will do this snowboard thing as long as my sponsors will allow me to do it,” he said. “I would hate for my career to end but if it does, I can live comfortably for the rest of my life knowing that had I not gotten involved with snowboarding, I would have never met Haley, who means the world to me.”


When Nov. 29, 2021

Where The clerk’s office of the County of Nevada in Nevada City, Calif.

Party Planner Mr. Davis said the idea for the couple’s larger celebration was inspired by Ms. Simpson’s sister’s wedding. “A couple of years ago, Hayley’s sister, Shelby, got married and everyone was having so much fun and looking so beautiful. I never had as much fun at a wedding as I did that night.”

Remembering Jerry The couple left their three-day wedding celebration in Mexico a day early, after receiving word that their 12-year-old Irish wolfhound, Jerry, who was suffering from cancer, was taken to an emergency room. He died three days later. “He was an amazing dog with a big personality,” Ms. Simpson said of Jerry, who was rescued by Mr. Davis from the Reno Humane Society when he was two years old.

Games Off Mr. Davis, citing a busy schedule, said he will not be trying out for a spot in the upcoming 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing. “My focus is elsewhere in snowboarding right now, the halfpipe event at the Olympics is quite a grind.”

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