The last slopestyle event to hit the Winter Olympics—Men’s Ski Slopstyle—took place in frigid, sunny conditions, with Americans Alex Hall and Nick Goepper placing in the top two spots. Jesper Tjader of Sweden finished in bronze medal position. While the entire list of competitors were gunning for the gold, only a select few were able to land their run clean. The venue, featuring a slew of massive features and creative new jump styles, was prime for progression—and that’s exactly what we witnessed.
Hall’s undeniably flowy style brought a noticeable flavor to the event beginning with his first run, a combination of techy tricks and impressive composure that made his extremely difficult run look… easy. On the rails, a combination of 270s up top with a 720 nose to tail tap on the final feature kicked things off; on the jumps, Hall’s unique trickery wowed the judges with a combination of creativity and difficulty, including one of the most impressive tricks of the event, a right double cork 1080 bring-back that is best appreciated in slow-motion replay.
After the event, Hall spoke to journalists at a press conference in Beijing, saying “”It definitely was the best slopestyle run I’ve ever done,” Hall said about his 90.01-scoring winner, “Mainly because it embodied everything I love about skiing and how I approach skiing. I didn’t fade away from that to try and maybe get bigger scores or something.I just kept it true to myself, and I think that’s the most important part about our sport is just doing it for the love and doing it how you want to do it and not changing that.”
Nick Geopper entered the event with a silver and bronze medal to his name, and did everything he could to earn the gold. Known for his technical rail skiing, Goepper’s experience was on full display during Wednesday’s event. Beijing marked his third Olympic appearance and known as one of the hardest workers in freeskiing and an athlete who thrives under pressure, Goepper’s experience and ability was on full display in his 86.48-scoring second run on Wednesday. Jesper Tjader, despite being celebrated for his progressive video parts, isn’t one to perform well in competitions. But that all changed yesterday as the Swede put together “the run of his life” that played out in his favor while many other competitors couldn’t land perfect runs.
When asked about his bronze medal, Tjader said, “It means a lot,” Tjader said of his bronze-medal performance, “My goal with the Olympics is to land my best run ever, and today I finally landed it. I couldn’t be more stoked. I’ve never done that switch triple on the second jump in a slopestyle run, so that was the first time. Then, with the double 16 Japan at the end, I just learned that this week. A lot of pieces came together today. It just worked out.”