Slopestyle skier Nick Goepper in photos
Going for Glory
Nick Goepper won slopestyle gold at X Games Aspen last year. He recently became one of the first American athletes to qualify for the U.S. Olympic freeskiing team; slopestyle makes its Olympic debut in February in Sochi, Russia.
After winning gold in Aspen last year, Goepper said, "I've been dreaming of this moment since I was a little kid. It's the best day of my life."
"I really have a competitive personality and I really want to be the best," Goepper says. "In slopestyle skiing, that's what I strive for."
The oldest of four children, Goepper grew up in the farm town of Lawrenceburg, Ind., and often hitchhiked to the local ski area, Perfect North Slopes.
Goepper, 19, has already had a strong season: In December, he won the Dew Tour at Breckenridge and placed second at the Grand Prix in Copper.
All He Needs
"On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being he's using every move in his bag of tricks, Nick competes at a 4 or 5," Goepper's coach, Mike Hanley, said. "Because that's all he needs."
Defending His Title
Not since Tanner Hall's three-peat in 2004 has a skier won X Games Slopestyle more than once. That means in the past nine years, there has been a new winner each event. Can Goepper pull off a repeat this month in Aspen?
After X Games, Goepper will represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games in Sochi, where he will be the favorite to win gold in slopestyle.
"I think the best route is to form a plan of your own and then take it as it comes," Goepper has said.