Alex Schlopy wowed X Games fans as a rookie in 2011, landing a double cork 1620 to win Ski Big Air gold in Aspen. He followed it up a week later with a win at the first-ever FIS Freestyle World Championships slopestyle event, before slopestyle had been officially announced as an Olympic event to debut in Sochi. Now in his third year with the U.S. Freeskiing team, Schlopy's seen as a frontrunner to represent Team USA in this February's Olympic Games. XGames.com tracked him down after a trampoline session at Woodward at Copper in Colorado.
You opened a lot of eyes when you came out as an X Games rookie and won Big Air. How did making that statement affect what came next for you?
That X Games was just crazy for me. I wasn't really expecting anything like that but it was a turning point for sure. It made it feel more real, like maybe this could actually be a job or a career. But I still just go out and have fun, so nothing's really changed in that respect.
I want to ask you about a big number you were trying for at X Games Aspen 2013: 1980. What's it going to take to bring a spin that big around?
I just wanted to see if I could do it, just for fun. A few years ago in Sweden I accidentally almost did it, so I wanted to try it again. Not that I really think it looks cool or anything when you're spinning really fast. I just want to see if it's possible. Last time my ski brake came down and ended my trip, so I'm going to have to give it another try.
Your mom, Holly Flanders, was an Olympic alpine racer in 1980 and 1984. Had it been a hope or a dream for you to have slopestyle in the Olympics to follow that family legacy?
I guess I never really thought it would happen, having slopestyle in the Olympics. I knew they were talking about trying to get halfpipe, but slopestyle was a surprise. I'm trying to look at it as just another contest.
Are you approaching anything differently this year?
The past few years I've let myself get over-stressed out, so I've been trying to shift my mentality back to just having fun and not really thinking about it, because that's when you do your best. You can get caught in your own head and start getting lost. I just want to have fun again, and that's pretty much it. This season's so packed it's going to be fun to go from contest to contest and see what everyone brings.
Are we going to be seeing never-been-seen trick attempts like the 1980 this year in Aspen, right before the Olympics?
That's a really good question with the X Games right before the Olympics: Will people hold back or will they go for it? I think most people will still go for it. That's how it works at X Games. Once you get in that vibe you just start doing stuff. Even if I said going in that I was going to take it easy, I don't think I could or would.