‘Nothing to lose:’ Forerunner Jackson Crockett thrust into first World Cup start at Deer Valley | ParkRecord.com

‘Nothing to lose:’ Forerunner Jackson Crockett thrust into first World Cup start at Deer Valley

Friend’s injury opens the door to debut

Park City Ski & Snowboard’s Jackson Crockett skied in his first World Cup start at Deer Valley Resort on Friday. Crockett didn’t finish his run but appreciated the opportunity.
David Jackson/Park Record

Jackson Crockett’s original plan for last week’s World Cup festivities at Deer Valley Resort was to ski as a forerunner — a skier who tests the course ahead of a competition — before everything changed in a hurry.

Among the more than 40 competitors in Thursday’s moguls event was his good friend George McQuinn, a 23-year-old skier from Durango, Colorado. McQuinn was making his third World Cup start of the season and was ranked 47th in the FIS points list at the time. He seemingly came out of nowhere to advance into the six-man super final and possibly grab a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

But on the last jump of his super final run, McQuinn hit his head and suffered a devastating accident. McQuinn’s unconscious body slid down the hill and came to a stop, and he was removed from the venue on a stretcher.

While he later posted an update on social media of a selfie captioned, “Gnarly crash today but I’m ok,” the incident opened the door for Crockett’s first World Cup start on Friday. Crockett, who skis for Park City Ski & Snowboard, had finished second and fourth in two moguls events at U.S. Moguls Selections in December in Winter Park, Colorado, and was the first alternate for the Deer Valley World Cup. With McQuinn out and fellow Parkite Nick Page pulling out after a training injury, Crockett was in.

“I was a little nervous initially, and then I was like, ‘I was one spot away, so I’m excited and I have nothing to lose,’” Crockett said. “Not the way that I wanted to earn the start, but I’m thankful that I got the start.”

In just 24 hours, Crockett went from forerunning a World Cup event for the first time to being thrust into the starting lineup. Donning the No. 53 bib, Crockett was one of the last skiers to go in the qualifying round. He then suffered his own mishap.

“The last part of the middle section heading into the bottom air, it got me,” Crockett said. “I hit a mogul, and then I was fine and then I hit another one, just got a little too forward and got bucked by it and then tried to get it back and just dropped my tips too far and flung my body into the next mogul.”

Crockett felt pain immediately and originally chalked it up to some bruised ribs. And then he started peeing blood.

The 19-year-old had suffered a laceration on his left kidney, which could keep him on the sidelines for four weeks. Crockett spent a night in the hospital as a precautionary measure but avoided having surgery.

Crockett went back and watched the footage of his crash with McQuinn, whose family was staying with Crockett’s for the World Cup. Sure enough, their accidents happened on the exact same spot.

“He’s like, “That’s the exact same mogul that (Elizabeth Lemley) hit on her finals run and had that big bobble coming into (the) bottom air and the same mogul I hit and the same mogul you hit and fell,’” Crockett said. “We all had difficulties with that one mogul heading into (the) bottom air.”

Crockett’s first World Cup start was a curse and a blessing at the same time. On one hand, skiing in a World Cup event at home was a dream come true. On the other, he could be sidelined for a few weeks, preventing him from competing on the NorAm Tour and potentially earning further World Cup starts.

But there are lessons that come from an experience that Crockett never thought he would have last week.

“I was in the perfect headset, I was so ready to ski that, I was putting down a really good run it felt like, one of my better runs, kind of a bummer, but you know, there are things you can learn from it,” Crockett said. “I learned a bunch of stuff from the World Cup. It was super fun, skiing with all those different countries, and I’d never done that before, skiing with Japan and the UK and France and Canada.”

Looking ahead, Crockett has a few different goals. The Winter Sports School graduate took a gap year this year and might take another, but he’s also applying to a few different schools. He’s hoping to get into the University of Colorado Boulder’s architecture program.

But his big goal is qualifying for more World Cup starts. Now that he’s gotten a taste for it, he’s hungry for more.

“I’m happy I didn’t tear my knee or injure my shoulder and I’m not out for the rest of the season,” he said. “Hopefully, I get to ski a couple of Europa Cups and ski nationals and maybe I’ll get a World Cup start, that would be super cool.”


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