Some Thoughts on America’s Newest Slopestyle Skiing Stars


I don’t know much about Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy, or Nick Goepper other than what I’ve recently seen on TV, but in these games, populated by controversy and tinged in gray, I don’t really need to.

What I need is to remember why The Olympics, for more years than I can count, have inspired excellence in everyone from the occasional enthusiast to the lifelong athlete.

What I need is a human talisman (or three) to push me. One more rep. One more run. One more attempt to go somewhere, to get better, to reach a goal.

What I need is to believe that anything’s possible.

What I need are true role models for my children, three suddenly familiar faces smiling from a cereal box who possess an unscripted purity that can’t be calculated in an increasingly anonymous and murky digital world.

What I need is proof positive that you’re never out until you say so, and that victory is as close as you believe it to be.

What I need is to embrace second chances, to stand up when I fall down and try again.

What I need is to focus not on what I say, but what I do.

What I need is a reason to remember that any dream can come true with enough work, commitment, dedication, and sacrifice.

What I need is to unplug, tune in, and gather my family around to do something no one seems to value as much as they used to. The simple act of being together, cheering together, and yes, crying together as our flag flies high in the sky and three sets of tear-rimmed eyes smile up at the manifestation of everything they always knew could be.

What I need is to remember these names: Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy, and Nick Goepper. They’ve achieved something that won’t necessarily define their lives, but will punctuate them in a rare consortium of color that few are ever able to see.

What I need to remember is simple. Life is good.

Image via

40 responses »

  1. Amen.
    I saw that competition. One thing I also really liked is just about everyone, when they had a bad run, came to the bottom with grins on their faces, and an “oh well” shrug before going back up.

    • You know it seems to be that way with all the boarders and a lot of the slopestyle skiiers. They seem just as happy for the person who bumped them out of their medal spot as they are for themselves. I love, love, love that kind of support. Thanks for the visit and comment!

  2. Beautiful, as always, Stacie! As Gabi competes in YAGP this weekend, the winter Olympics couldn’t come at a better time as a true testament to everything you said.

  3. That slope style skiing is crazy. I don’t understand skiing backwards, let alone jumping and landing backwards. I have enough trouble walking backwards. Although my moonwalk is surprisingly solid.

  4. Stacie,
    That was a beautifully-written blog!! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the news media picked up more of the “happenings” that would positively influence the young people of today? To just realize the “I can do” of accomplishments would be great! What I also love is to see young people come out of nowhere to see success. I don’t know a thing about these three guys and that doesn’t even matter…..they did it from wherever they came and everyone is so proud!

  5. I vividly remember thinking and feeling similar things when I watched the US play the Soviet Union at the Lake Placid Olympics. I haven’t paid much attention to the Games since then, but I’m glad to know that kind of effect is still possible.

    Well-written, Stacie — no surprise there.

    • The Olympics are a little more magical in my house because both of my girls snowboard. They’re still at that age where dreaming of being a Olympian seems like it could be real. I suppose one of the beauties of living in America is that it could. Hope you’re well and thanks for the visit and comment Charles. =)

  6. We’ve watched the winter Olympics about 6 times now while on our annual ski trip to Dubuque. It’s fun to watch all of the kids on the slopes try to emulate the slick moves on the half pipe, attempt higher elevations on the ski jumps and challenge the notion that speed, weight, and gravity are somehow connected. This year our group wore red/white/blue scrunchies as arm bands on our jacket – we could’ve sold hundreds! Great fun to celebrate the simple notion that playing in winter games is fun whether or not you bring home a medal.

  7. I love this! I am sadly out of touch with the Olympics because I’ve just been too busy, so now I have to look up what these guys did. But I realized on reading this, it could have been anyone, doing anything (maybe not even achieving the goal they set out for) and it would still be perfect.
    Great chatting with you in person, sister! Hope your hike was a good one — we had a fine time preventing Velma from killing geese at Wash Park. 🙂

    • I hope she didn’t go after one in a half-frozen lake. That happened with Wrigley when we first got him. Not fun.

      So great catching up with you! I hope our great state treated you well. Can’t wait for the next potential visit…will be getting LitFest info to you as soon as it’s posted. =)

  8. Gemini girl, the Olympics are indeed a great time to celebrate the achievements and efforts of our athletes, and to find strenght and will to excel in the spectacle. Even more inspiring, but much less covered in the media, are the paralympic athletes. I had the honor of accompanying the Canadian paralympic swimming team to the World championships in Christchurch New Zealand in 1998 and I have never seen a bunch of more inspiring young men and women (all countries included). If you ever have a chance to catch a summer or winter paralympic event, it’s well worth it. Seeing someone overcome huge physical disabilities and perform at world class level in highly competitive sports certainly puts our little aches and pains in perspective.
    Always a pleasure reading you.

    • I love your comments, Phillipe. Winter Park, where our family snowboards a lot, is a mecca for paralympic skiers. They have an amazing support system of employees and volunteers who ski with and train these incredible athletes. On any given day there are dozens of paralympic skiers on the runs. It never fails to amaze and inspire me when I see them, and I agree whole-heartedly, their hard work puts our small problems in perspective. Thanks for the read and comment, I always love seeing you here and hope you’re well. =)

  9. This reminds me of something my sister-in-law, Karen, recently shared on FB. It goes like this:

    Decide what it is you want.
    Write that sh*t down.
    Make a f**king plan.
    Work on it.

    I don’t know who authored it, but it’s advice that we should all probably take if we ever want to achieve our dreams. I have a feeling that all the members of the U.S. Olympic Team probably have this tattooed on the inside of their eyelids.

    Great post. What a frickin’ surprise. 😉

    Love you, Bestie!



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