After the Grand Prix in Breckenridge it was time to head over to Park City, Utah for the final stop of the Grand Prix Olympic Qualifier. Due to the intense weather we had, the traveling party headed out Monday morning, and we were happily greeted with Utah sunshine.
The first day of riding for me at Park City was so good. Not only was it sunny and warm, but there was barely any wind at all. Thanks to Jeremy Cooper and the rest of the Park City crew, they built us one fantastic course with some of the best jumps I’ve hit.
Thankfully I was able to test out the jumps the day before the first practice with Wallisch, Strenio, and Stepp. After testing the jumps in the morning it was down to the 3 Kings Park to take some hot laps with the buddies before heading back for the night.
For our first day of practice I just tried to take as many laps through the park as I could. While attempting a misty off a cannon rail I popped late and crashed pretty hard. Luckily after taking a quick breather and meeting the guy who was in the bathroom stall of Anchorman. It was time to go back out and do some tricks. The jumps felt so good that my last run of the day I ended up throwing my jump run. During the second day of practice, it was going off. Everyone was getting all of there tricks, and we didn't have any wind to worry about.
On our first of two competition days, we were blessed with more sun and no wind at all. Once practice started, everyone got around 4 to 5 runs in before it was time to start the contest. My first run went smoothly except for a minor screw up on the 2nd and final rail feature. My second run was easily one of the best contest runs I’ve been able to land minus the 2nd rail feature. The 2nd rail feature was sticky for me and I wasn’t able to land very smoothly, but other than that the rest of my run was good and I was able to stay in 10th place for the event. For the buddies in the contest Alex Schlopy came home with the win and slayed super hard, with Bobby Brown and Gus Kenworthy rounding up the podium for the day
The second day unfortunately didn’t go nearly as smoothly. I had a great morning practice and was able to get my entire run down, with the exception of a clean first rail. During my first run I tried to just do a back 4 over the entire feature and crashed. On my second run I just tried to go back to what I was doing in practice and still crashed. Pretty bummed since I had improved my entire run from the day before, but kept on getting hung up on the very first feature. Frustrated I still ended up doing my jump run just to do it one more time. Every dog has his day and that day just wasn’t mine. Although I am very happy with how good I was jumping, but know I have a lot more to work on before the next contest happens in a month.
Even though I was bummed on my performance the second day, I have never been more hyped for someone to do well as I was for Joss Christiansen on Saturday. I’ve never seen Joss ski that good before, and everyone was so hyped for him the entire day. He ended up taking the win and deserved it so much.
After all the commotion during the day I went to go watch halfpipe and it was one for the history books. All of the buddies slayed so hard and pushed themselves as much as they could for the last chance to get into the Olympics. One person who pushed themselves the most was Simon Dumont. The previous night Simon had torn his knee during practice for the event, and somehow was still able to take a run. During his second run he just skied down the middle of the pipe. It’s crazy to think that I watched one of my freeskiing heroes take quite possibly their final contest run. Simon has been such a huge inspirations for every skier and truly pushed our sport to where it is today. Thank you Simon!
The rest of the pipe contest was an amazing spectacle to behold, as guys were pushing it to the limits. When it was all said and done, Lyman Currier came out on top, with Aaron Blunck coming in 2nd ,and Gus Kenworthy in 3rd. A quick shoutout to fellow Washington skier Angeli Vanlaanen for taking first for the ladies, and securing her spot in the Olympics as well.
This entire week was amazing and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to even ski in the Olympic Qualifier events. To all my buddies who made it to the Olympics, I’m so excited for you guys, and looking forward to seeing you bring home some medals for the US! Now to work on tricks and film a little bit in the next month before I start up contests again.
Special thanks to Gillian, Ashley, and Steph for letting me crash on their couch this past week. You guys are awesome!
Till the next time,