Home / World News / Snowboarder Red Gerard vying for slopestyle, big air Olympic glory

Snowboarder Red Gerard vying for slopestyle, big air Olympic glory

SILVERTHORNE — On any given winter afternoon, Red Gerard’s backyard teems with jibbing teens sliding rails, hitting jumps and ripping laps in a hand sculpted terrain park.

“I learned so many rail tricks back there. It’s so fun. We’d just stay out there till sunset every day,” said the 17-year-old Gerard, a high-flying snowboarding phenom whose creative prowess on rails and jumps makes him one of America’s favorites for Olympic glory in South Korea come February.

Gerard’s arc toward snowboarding luminary and the late-night talk show circuit began when he was knee-high, wowing spectators and peers worldwide as one of the youngest kids ever to stomp a double-cork and riding rails in ways that inspired professionals 10 years older. The 2018 Olympics could be his coronation.

But don’t tell him that.

He’s not eyeing gold medals. He’s not thinking about standing on a podium while “The Star- Spangled Banner” plays. He’s not even thinking about the demanding slopestyle and big air pre-Olympic qualification competition this month at Copper Mountain and Breckenridge.

“That might change when I get there and maybe I’ll start feeling nervous. But I doubt that. I have not thought about it at all, really,” Gerard said recently while nibbling through a Chipotle burrito at his family’s home perched above a yet-to-be-snowy backyard terrain park with views of Dillon Reservoir.

What Gerard is thinking about is his new snowmobile tucked into a trailer in the driveway. A 2018 Ski-Doo 850 Summit X, outfitted with snowboard racks to haul his ride into the snowiest corners he can find.

“I’m so jonesing right now,” he said, looking across a largely snowless vista after fitting his Burton board into the rack.

In a couple days, as the country’s top snowboarders and freeskiers rally in Summit County to begin prepping for four halfpipe, slopestyle and big air Olympic qualification events, Gerard and his older brother Malachi are heading to Wyoming’s Teton Range to throttle their sleds through the deepest snow they can find. He’s planning to arrive back just in time to grab a day of training before the first-ever U.S. Olympic qualifiers for big air at the Dec. 7-10 Copper Mountain Grand Prix.

“I did a lot of snowboarding this summer, so I’m good,” he said.

Last month, Gerard took silver in the season opener of the big air world cup season in Milan, Italy, right behind his pal Chris Corning, the Arvada snowboarder who, like Gerard, is a double-threat for big air and slopestyle gold at the PyeongChang Olympics. Last February, Gerard locked down the FIS world cup slopestyle season title and won the first Olympic snowboarding U.S. qualification contest for slopestyle at California’s Mammoth, marking his first major victory on U.S. snow.

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