Park City skiers land on podium at U.S. Grand Prix
In front of about 200 hometown fans, Park City skiers Alex Schlopy and Joss Christensen braved the windy weather at Park City Mountain Resort on Wednesday evening, landing solid runs and taking home the silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the Paul Mitchell Progression Session Big Air event.
The 20-year-old Schlopy and 21-year-old Christensen are Park City natives and both attended the Winter Sports School in Park City.
Each skier performed two jumps during the slopestyle event, with the best overall score counting in the medal standings.
Schlopy scored a 92 on his second jump, besting his score of 91 in his first try, while Christensen rebounded from a 36.3 in his first jump to score 90.6 in his final attempt.
Gus Kenworthy, a 21-year-old from Telluride, Colo., took home the gold medal by scoring a 93 on his second jump.
Christensen said the weather conditions affected his decisions about what tricks to use.
"I was going to go backwards and do a switch jump," he said. "But I ended up going forward because (the slope) was so slow."
The change of plans meant he didn’t expect to finish on the podium.
"I just wanted to land at least one of my two jumps," he said. "I’m excited I ended up third. I couldn’t be happier."
He added that he didn’t get his hopes up for Wednesday, so the podium was extra sweet.
"I didn’t really expect much coming into today," he said. "I didn’t know if we were going to even be doing it or not because of the weather."
The story was quite different for Schlopy, who abandoned his conservative plans when he saw what other competitors were attempting.
"I actually did harder stuff than I was planning on doing," he said. "Once you’re in a competition, you tend to push yourself more. I just had to be careful with the wind."
Both competitors said they were happy to spend some time at home after the X Games.
"I haven’t done many contests here in Park City," Christensen said. "It’s really nice to be at home and sleep in my own bed."
Schlopy said he’ll recuperate at home this week before heading to Sochi for an Olympic preview event next week. He added that traveling to places like Russia is one of the best things about the sport.
"You’re doing something you love and you’re able to travel around," he said. "There’s nothing wrong with that."
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Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin once landed in Deer Valley Resort for the Merrill Lynch Celebrity Ski Classic races. He spoke to The Park Record during the visit in 2004 about topics like America eventually embarking on a mission much more ambitious than the moon landings – a trip to Mars.