Name: Nick Goepper
Country: United States
2016/17 AFP slopestyle ranking: 4th
- 2014 Olympic slopestyle bronze medalist
- 5-time X Games slopestyle medalist (3 gold, 2 silver)
- 2-time AFP slopestyle champion (2013, 2014)
At the Sochi Games in 2014, Goepper competed in the first-ever Olympic freeski slopestyle competition. He landed a technical run punctuated by a triple cork 1440 on the final jump and earned the bronze medal. Goepper was joined on the podium by U.S. teammates Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy, giving Team USA just its third-ever podium sweep at the Winter Olympics.
Qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team is still ongoing, but if he makes the team, Goepper would enter the PyeongChang Games as a strong medal contender once again and would be a threat for gold. The ski slopestyle field is deep though, with U.S. teammate McRae Williams and Norwegian skier Oystein Braaten among the many other contenders.
Not only can Goepper thrown down big triple corks on the jumps, he can also put together technical tricks in the rail sections.
Goepper, who started skiing at age 5, grew up in Southern Indiana, where the terrain is mostly flat and his local ski resort was what he has described as a “glorified bunny hill.” He entered his first big air competition when he was 11.
Eventually, Goepper’s family used PVC pipes and AstroTurf to construct a setup in their backyard, which allowed him to continue practicing year-round. But with his ability to progress limited in the Midwest, he knew that he had to move elsewhere to get the elite training he needed. In an attempt to fund his training, Goepper would perform odd jobs, such as mowing lawns, and buy candy bars in bulk to sell on the school bus at a profit. His big break came at age 15, when he was awarded a scholarship to train at Windells Academy in Oregon.
In January 2011, Goepper – then just 16 years old – earned a surprise podium result at a Dew Tour slopestyle competition in Killington, Vermont. That third-place finish served as his big introduction to the ski world.
A year later, Goepper got his first X Games Aspen invite and immediately won a silver medal in slopestyle. He then went on to win gold at X Games three consecutive years from 2013-2015 and was the back-to-back AFP (Association of Freeskiing Professionals) slopestyle champion in 2013 and 2014.
After his last X Games victory in 2015, Goepper saw his results drop off a bit. He also dealt with a series of shoulder injuries that eventually required surgery.
Goepper got back on track in 2017 though, with second-place finishes at X Games Norway in March and Dew Tour in December standing out as the highlights.
Off the snow
Growing up, Goepper tried a number of sports, including soccer, football, swimming and rollerblading. Presently, he enjoys surfing and skateboarding, two sports that he uses as a form of cross-training for skiing.
“To be completely honest, I was a bit frustrated with my result at first. I really wanted to win that day, and I went there with all the confidence in the world and the expectation to be on the top. I definitely feel like I’ve got some unfinished business at the Winter Olympics.” – Nick Goepper on finishing third at the Sochi Olympics in 2014
YouTube: Nick Goepper