”It’s been awesome and pretty much blown away my expectations,” said McElmon. “I went in hoping to get top 10 and I’ve been to the podium in every competition.”
McElmon competed on the “B” circuit last year, for skiers up to age 16, and moved to the “A” level with competitors as old as 18-21 this year. Though the competition is tougher, he felt the increased training he’s had had helped him elevate his game and he’s certainly been up to the challenge.
At the end of competition season, the ultimate goal is to accumulate enough points to qualify for junior nationals, which is in March.
”I’ve trained quite a bit so I think it sort of equaled out,” he said. “I go in to every comp trying to do my best, and I’ve been lucky enough to do very well.”
Freestyle skiing entails aerials and jumps, and McElmon has also been taking part in slopestyle skiing, which has big air and difficult jumps. The courses out West are more expansive than those in New England and have bigger jumps.
”Jumps span 15-to-25 feet and this year the minimum jump is a 40-footer. They’re spanning 35-to-55 feet, so it’s more difficult to try things. But once you try them, it can be that much more fun and more impressive,” he said.
The ultimate goal: going pro
One of the most unique things about freestyle skiing is that every course is different, requiring different routines based on the jumps and weather conditions. Skiers have a few practice days — which always seem to have better weather than competition days, McElmon joked — to iron out their routines on each course.
“You have to go out there with an open mind. When you’re skiing it’s never going to be perfect, so you just show up and have fun and go with your best,” McElmon said.