When the Winter Olympics take place in Sochi, Russia in February, southeastern Indiana will be represented by Nick Goepper.
The son of Chris and Linda Goepper, Lawrenceburg, is ranked No. 1 in a new event, skiing slopestyle, according to the Olympics Team USA Web site. “It is a lot like skateboarding. There are jumps and rail obstacles that you must do your best trick on. It involves a run filled with jumps and rails, and once you get to the bottom, you are judged on the overall impression of your run,” he says.
He has come a long way from when he put on skis for the first time. “I grew up skiing at Perfect North Slopes (Lawrenceburg), a little 300-foot hill in southeastern Indiana …. My mom got me started skiing when I was 5 years old. At first I hated it, though, because I couldn’t wiggle my feet. I was cold, and I wasn’t good at it. It was new, and I didn’t like that change.”
However, Goepper soon grew to love it. “I did my first back flip when I was 11 years old. It was at that moment that I got hooked to flipping and flying through the air. I loved the adrenaline rush that skiing gave me. It was the overcoming your fears aspect of the sport that I craved.”
The Windells Academy, Oregon, 2012 graduate says, “Getting out of Indiana to go pursue a skiing career was one of my biggest challenges. There was also dealing with the adversity of being from Indiana and trying to re-learn all my tricks to compete in the big leagues.”
Even though he has been injured in the sport – “I’ve had a few concussions, broken a few bones and had a fair amount of stitches. It comes with the territory” – he still enjoys “the creativity and the plethora of personalities and characters it produces. The ability to be creative is synonymous with freedom. The people I get to share my experiences with mean the world to me.”