I started skiing when I was five years old. I grew up on a little 300-foot mountain called Perfect North Slopes. It wasn’t a great destination in the world, but it was a good enough place to learn how to do tricks.
My family has always gone to church. I like to think that faith has been a part of my life since I was a lot younger. It’s definitely a part of my athletic career. I always wear a cross on my goggles during contests when I’m doing something gnarly. It’s a reminder that I’ve got someone else helping me out.
I’m the kind of person who likes to focus on one thing at a time. I’ll focus on my skiing and then when I get to the bottom of my run and the cameras are on me, I’ll focus on what I need to say, and then I’ll focus that night on recovering and getting ready for the next day.
All the exciting contests and travel and sponsorships are cool, but I like to be able to have influence on people and on youngsters.
I think the Winter Olympics are definitely on a smaller scale than the summer games, but with the inclusion of cool new sports like slopestyle skiing and snowboarding, it is going to breathe new life into them and attract a whole new crowd.
One of the great things about the X Games and the Olympics is being on the international stage. It gives you a cool opportunity to express, not only your personal style, but also your faith and what you believe in and your values.
Most places in the Midwest, you ski on piles of trash, like retired landfills.
The inclusion of slopestyle in the Olympics is cool. I think it’s going to be a total breath of fresh air. The Olympics needs us more than we need it.
It’s never fun to do it by yourself. It’s good to have other people that are on the same path as you. It’s nice to have that in common and be able to converse with them. It’s cool to share that.
I skied on Astroturf and PVC pipe on the slope in my backyard.
I try to keep a pretty one-tracked mind.
We’ve separated from mogul and aerial skiing and we’ve built our own sport and our own tricks. And now we’re going back to the roots. But the Olympics is a world stage for athletics and it’s going to be pretty sweet to represent our sport and represent our culture and show everyone what we’re all about.
Even when there’s pressure and distractions and expectations from others or myself, it’s a good thing. It just makes me a better person. It makes me stronger.
All the athletes are individuals. This isn’t a team sport. We all have our own styles, our own clothing preferences and our own way of doing things. That’s the way I do things and I’m proud of it.
I’m pretty well-rounded. I can do most of my tricks left and right, in both directions. I try to be smooth and confident. But it’s still developing. I’m still trying to find my own personal touch in the way I ski.
The craziest thing is walking down the streets of New York and people recognizing me and asking for my photo. It has been pretty wild. I am used to getting spotted in ski towns, but I never thought it would happen in a place like this.
God helps me for sure every day and at every contest. I broke my hand and had to get surgery on it. The recovery was really frustrating because I had to skip three weeks at the beginning of the season. But I flipped it around and took it as a blessing. I said a lot of prayers and just asked God to do His thing. I did other things to compliment the recovery like getting the right sleep and taking care of my body. But I went back to the doctor after four weeks and he was ecstatic about the recovery of my hand. I take that as a tribute to my faith and my belief in doing the right things.
Contrary to popular belief, there are actually quite a few guys in the action sports community that have faith and are Christians.
I like to quote the verse, "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." I kind of envision me skiing and God is kind of like an eagle right next to me screeching in my ear that everything is going to be all good. I just try my best and that’s all I can ask for.