Freestyle Prodigy Nico Porteous on How to Fly
It’s difficult to describe what it’s like in a superpipe – the biggest class of halfpipe, used in professional competition – without actually standing in one. The feeling is unnerving, Nick Remsen writes for Vogue. It’s into this expanse that elite skiers and snowboarders repeatedly launch themselves, spinning, flipping, and calibrating along the way. Yet if you’re watching Nico Porteous – the 20-year-old freestyle skier from New Zealand who tool the gold in the men’s halfpipe event at the Beijing Winter Olympics – the structure doesn’t seem unnerving at all.
In 2021, he took gold at the X Games in Aspen. In 2022, he did it again. Hamilton-born Porteous also clinched the 2022 World Cup, held in California in early January, with a score of 97/100.
“The thing that really hooks me with freestyle skiing is that you’re on the edge,” Porteous says, “with not everything being in control, and then, when it all comes together, there is this euphoric feeling. It can last for an hour, or it can last for a day, or it can last longer. It’s really not just a feeling I get in competition. It’s from learning a new trick, landing that trick, maybe even just doing a photoshoot into the sunset. But it all amounts to these moments of purity. And, when that hits, you can’t control the happiness.”
Original article by Nick Remsen, Vogue, February 11, 2022.
Photo by Ross Mackay.