Name: Alex Schlopy
Fight Name: Rob. Just kidding. I don’t have one…Haha. (I guess he’s more of a lover…)
Location: Park City, UT
Role Model: Anyone who’s truly happy
Pet of Choice: Turtle
Theme Song: Eye of the Tiger
Partner-in-Crime: Joss Christensen
Biggest Pet Peeve: People who don’t use blinkers while driving
Annie Agle: Let’s talk next season. There’s been a lot of buzz about the newly syndicated US Freestyle team and the inclusion of more park events at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. Does this season feel bigger than last year? What are your goals for this coming winter?
Alex Schlopy: It definitely feels bigger. The Olympics will be the first showing of our sport on a global scale which is exciting! My goals are to keep doing what I love and keep loving what I do… just have fun with it and see what happens.
AA: As an outsider (particularly as someone who might feel slight pangs of big sister-esque concern), that sh*t look cray. Do you ever have moments of doubt or fear? How do you manage that much adrenaline on a regular basis? How do you deal with injuries? Do you have a low-deductible comprehensive health insurance plan? (Clearly I’m super fun.)
AS: Of course there’s always going to be doubt and fear. It comes down to being able to overpower those feelings with positivity. I focus on thinking about all the positive outcomes of doing something right, not what could happen if things go wrong. Adrenaline is basically like gasoline to a car for me–it keeps me going. Injuries? What are those? Just kidding…well yeah…the U.S. Team helps with injuries a lot which is VERY helpful, as injuries are fairly common in our line of work. Haha.
AA: You’re still only 21, but you’ve been in the game for a while and have been one of the sport’s pioneers: Are you surprised at how fast the sport has developed? Do you feel like a seasoned pro now? What have you learned and how do you hope to progress as an athlete?
AS: I’m very surprised about how fast the sport has grown: I feel like every day the bar gets raised in some way, which is why it stays so fun! Everyone has their own style and goals and it’s a privilege to witness and contribute to the development of different aspects of the sport. No, I don’t feel seasoned… I laugh even when someone refers to me as a pro skier- it seems surreal… legitimately a childhood dream come true. As far as progression, I want to reach my potential, which I’m very very positive I have not reached yet. Not even close.
AA: Many of the best park athletes like Candide Thovex and JP Auclair (to name two) have branched out into big mountain and have applied their park skills to big line backcountry skiing. Would you ever consider making that transition?
AS: I would definitely consider that transition! Who could turn down a whole new challenge?! I can’t, that’s for sure.
AA: On that same line of inquiry: do you still enjoy competing to the same extent as when you started?
AS: I’ve always liked competing, and not necessarily for the results or to beat anyone, but more for the feeling of accomplishment within. When you put down a good competition run you can’t help but smile and be proud of yourself.
AA: At last year’s X-Games, you attempted a crazy quadruple-twist, sideways-double-flippy-thing (I am obviously completely fluent in park-grom jargon) that looked epic even if you didn’t stick it. In general, you seem more dedicated to your craft than winning (which I find admirable). That’s got to be a tough balancing act: On one hand, you are being paid to compete and presumably to do well; on the other hand, you want to be progressive and stay true to the original spirit of the sport and that means trying tricks that you cannot always complete. How do you handle wanting to win but also wanting to be inventive? When push comes to shove, which is more important to you?
AS: Ha, good question!! Let’s just say that since I was little, I always wanted to do my own thing, just to see if I could do it. So, naturally that transitioned into my skiing, which is why I kind of have that go for broke attitude, cuz why not???!
AA: To people not in the know, slopestyle skiers seem like a bunch of saggy-pant-wearing hooligans who throw themselves off enormous piles of snow. What have you had to sacrifice for this sport? How hard do you train?
AS: The sacrifice is really just not leading a normal life, which I would never want to do anyways. I like training hard. I like competing and pushing myself; it’s just who I am. I like to train off hill because it makes me feel good and keeps me healthy…and for me training can be anything from the skatepark, trampolines, to intensive weight-lifting at the gym.
AA: Do you think that slopestyle skiing deserves the same respect ski racing does?
AS: I definitely think slopestyle skiing deserves the same respect, if not more. Although I may be biased, it’s pretty damn nerve-racking trying to learn all these new tricks to keep up with the pack. You have to be able to consistently throw and land a lot of combinations. There is a lot more variety in slopestyle than in racing: I mean we have rails, jibs and jumps that are never the same, which can force you to do a different trick than the one you trained to cope with the features. You’re constantly having to adapt to the unexpected.
AA: Finally, what advice would you give to future slopestylists?
AS: Go have fun, and if you aren’t having fun, don’t do it! Haha. Also, always keep a goal or dream in mind, just for giggles. You’ll be surprised at what can happen.