American slopestyle star eyes X Games win ahead of 2018 Korea medal tilt.
Nick Goepper may only be 22 years of age, nevertheless he can already boast a string of freestyle skiing medals in his chosen slopestyle discipline.
The Indiana native truly burst onto the snow scene with a gold medal at the 2013 Winter X Games in Aspen with an FIS World bronze also secured that year.He enhanced his reputation further in Sochi the following year with another assured bronze behind fellow Americans Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy. Further Aspen X Games golds in 2014 and 2015 solidified his celebrity status, a long way from the small slopes he started out on back in Lawrenceburg.
He revealed, “I didn’t get fully immersed into skiing until I was 15 years old. Thankfully the hill that I skied on in Indiana was 10 minutes away from my house and it was only 100 metres tall. It was easy to do hundreds and hundreds of laps on and entertain myself.” The X Games have come around quickly again this year with his attention fully focused on Aspen after he struggled to maintain his stellar form in 2016.He enthused, “I am looking forward to the X Games at the end of January, because last year I didn’t do too well but I feel really healthy, motivated and inspired this year to ski well.
“I have just been trying to ski every day, have fun and work on my tricks. Aspen is the biggest event on the circuit with the most media excitement and prestige.”
Next year also represents another chance to build on his classy Sochi bronze with the Games roadshow moving to Pyeongchang in South Korea.He added, “I am really excited, especially having been to one already. I will not be as naive this time. I will be more prepared mentally.
“I got a bronze medal and I was really stoked with that, but I really want to get a gold medal. Cherry on top. It has brought some incredible opportunities to my life and skiing career. It has driven the level up and the skills of all the athletes.
“All these national teams are popping up. It is a natural evolution. People take it more seriously. There is a clearer distinction between the lifestyle centric professional skiers compared to the competition centric professional skiers.”Some professional athletes take regular breaks throughout the year to avoid burn out, something Nick doesn’t find a problem with sport running through his veins.
Basketball, rollerblading, skateboarding, surfing and, arguably, his favourite trampolining all provide a welcome distraction when he is away from the slopes.
Trampolining, in particular, has helped him hone the dazzling array of tricks which have left judges, fans and competitors alike breathless with excitement.
He explained, “Trampolines help a lot. I have bounced on them for hundreds and hundreds of hours since I was a kid. They are a good training tool and fun to goof around on. Whenever you are in the air spinning around, you are training whether you are focused on a big trick or playing a game of add on with your friends.”
Even though it is clear that he prefers the company of his friends on the slopes, he attends Team USA slopestyle camps and hails the impact coaches can have.
He said, “Sometimes I find a coach helps immensely in certain situations and sometimes you need to go out and ski for fun. I always have it in my head what tricks are a priority in training and what tricks I want to learn and get better at.”