After watching the Deer Valley World Cup each year as a spectator, 17-year-old Parkite Nick Page will compete in it this year
For the last decade, Nick Page has been a regular spectator at the annual World Cup moguls competition at Deer Valley Resort. Each year, he stands at the bottom of the moguls run, watching with great anticipation to see what tricks will be thrown and who will cross the finish line first.
Come next month, the 17-year-old Parkite will once again be in attendance at the FIS freestyle World Cup at Deer Valley, which runs Feb. 6-8. But rather than waiting at the bottom of the hill with suspense, Page will be strapped in at the top — this time as a competitor.
“It’s going to be really cool to be standing on front of everyone from my hometown, listening to them yell and cheer,” Page said. “Knowing they’re 3,200 meters below me, just waiting for me to cross the finish line, that’s as exciting as it gets.”
For Page, being the local kid who’s made it to the big time is only a small portion of his overall goal. Like any kid who grows up in Park City and competes seriously in winter sports, the biggest goal has always been the Olympics and winning a medal.
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But even after he first started skiing as a child at Deer Valley, and then with the Wasatch Freestyle program, it wasn’t until he watched the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver that he realized how far skiing could take him.
“I remember sitting in the living room and watching Bryon (Wilson) with my dad,” he said, referring to the moguls skier who took bronze in those Games and trains in Park City. “… My dad knew who he was, I didn’t, but my dad told me he came from my team. I remember being so excited in that moment, knowing that someone who started out like me, came from the same team I did, just won an Olympic medal. I knew at that moment that this was what I wanted to do.”
Unbeknown to Page at the time, that was only the first time Wilson would be a driving influence in Page’s career. Wilson, along with his brother Brad Wilson, have been instrumental in helping Page get to where he’s at.
Bryon was Page’s coach during his time with Wasatch Freestyle, and has stayed in his life as a mentor and friend. Brad, a two-time Olympian, is now Page’s teammate on the U.S. Moguls Team, showing him the ins and outs of the World Cup circuit and teaching him how to think, train and perform like a professional.
“When I first met him, he was a kid who loved moguls and was all smiles. … And he took that passion and went with it,” Bryon said. “I treat Nick as our youngest brother. He’s just a really good kid who’s one of the hardest-working athletes I’ve ever been around, and that’s translated to his success.”
Looking at the Wilson brothers and their backgrounds similar to his own, Page sees a path to success.
“All the things they’ve done on snow and outside of it, it’s helped shape my character into the man I want to be,” Page said. “They’ve taught me how to really work hard and become a professional, put others in front of yourself by doing that themselves. You can’t just have someone tell you to be those things, you have to be taught and shown them and that’s what they’ve done for me.”
With the support of the Wilson brothers, Page’s journey to the World Cup circuit has been accelerated.
He spent one year competing on the Freestyle NorAm Tour, the second highest level of competition in the U.S., winning a moguls event in British Columbia last March. He then placed second at the U.S. National Championships two weeks later, making the U.S. National Team and qualifying for this year’s World Cup circuit.
He’s placed in the top 25 in each of the his three World Cup events this season, following that up with a second-place finish at an open event in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, two weeks ago.
“It’s kind of crazy to think where I am now. … Skiing in World Cups and traveling all around the world,” Page said. “It’s really cool to see how far I’ve come compared to where I started. … But it’s even cooler to see how much farther I still have to go.”
That journey has now come full-circle, and it’s something Page will be thinking about as he stands atop Champion run at Deer Valley next month. He’ll look down at the course, knowing who and what will be awaiting him when he crosses the finish line.
“My family has always supported me in doing this so knowing I get to share that moment with them is something that will be the highlight of my life,” Page said. “In a way, I’ve already made it because I’m competing at the same place I grew up dreaming about, so what’s there to be nervous about? It’s just another step in the right direction for what I ultimately want.”
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It’s going to be at least another month before Summit County’s high school athletes have any chance of getting onto the field again.