Alex Hall skis into the spotlight
Alex Hall, a 17-year-old rookie on the U.S. Slopestyle Team, has been making a name for himself from Switzerland to Utah. Hall grew up skiing in the Swiss Alps and moved to Park City after hearing about an opportunity to take his sport to the next level.
Now Hall’s summers are occupied by rigorous academics and stacks of chemistry homework, leaving him shredding mountains worldwide in the winter.
Born in Fairbanks, Alaska, Hall has always had a love for both skiing and learning. After living in Europe for 13 years, he came to Park City to enroll at the Winter Sports School with the intent to further both his passions. He loves the opportunity to focus on skiing and then focus on education. The school has benefited many athletes in the past, from freeskiers to bobsledders. Hall enjoys his home away from home, staying just outside of town with a close friend he met skiing in France one summer.
The best part of skiing for Hall is being with his friends. He values their support greatly and, in his opinion, skiing would be a hundred times less fun if it weren’t for his friends.
"Skiing is an individual team sport," he said. "I almost never go skiing alone — there’s always someone I’ll know or recognize."
Hall has skied not only all over the U.S., but on many different continents as well. Since moving to the U.S., Hall has had a lot of experience with competitions. He has travelled halfway around the globe and back for opportunities to compete. One of his most memorable ski trips was to New Zealand, a place he had always longed to visit.
"The skiing was awesome but I’d almost say I liked the sightseeing more," he said.
Along with all the fun and excitement of competitions, there is a more stressful aspect of the freeskiing world. Hall has learned how to cope with the stress that is unavoidable in a lot of competitive scenarios.
"I just think to myself, I’m doing this to have fun," he said. "I know that when I’m nervous, I’m not going to land my best possible run."
Hall will always take advantage of the two days he has to plan out his lines before the competitions to build his confidence as much as he can. His coaches, whom he greatly appreciates, help him out a lot during these situations so that when he’s up next, he knows how to keep calm. They help him to ‘"keep his head in the game."
"They’re almost like father figures," he said. "In Switzerland, I did it all on my own. [I] skied with my brother, my friends — I was never really on a team. It was pretty weird coming to a team and being coached, because I wasn’t used to that at all."
In May of 2015, Hall received an email from the U.S. Ski Team inviting him on a trip to the High Sierras. The team recognized his slopestyle skiing accomplishments — he had won several medals the previous season. There, at Mammoth Mountain, Hall showed them his outstanding slopestyle skills and was admitted onto the team. Though he already had a pretty good idea he was going to make it, he said it was a very proud moment for him.
Hall recently finished his junior year of high school and he’s diving headfirst into the snow. He was recently in Colorado, training for competitions that are only the beginning of a busy winter. He was recently nominated to the U.S. Freeskiing Team for the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Final team announcements will be made in late January.
The next Olympic Games will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018. Hall hopes to make it on to the U.S. Pro Team, increasing his chances of qualifying.
"Not even to compete, but just for the experience of going," he said. "Meeting all the different people from different countries, I think the experience itself would be worth it, not necessarily winning it."
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