Flying high towards her dreams: Summit’s Alex Thisted competes at first World Cup slopestyle competition in Austria
After fulfilling her dream of competing at the 2022 Junior World Championships last winter, Summit County’s Alex Thisted has checked off another item from her bucket list.
Last week, Thisted — alongside her Team Summit coach Teddy Goggin — got the opportunity to travel to Stubai, Austria, to compete in her first World Cup freeski slopestyle competition of her young career.
The opportunity allowed Thisted to compete against some of the best freeskiers in the world, and it also served as a stepping block for the rest of her career.
Thisted began skiing when she was 3 years old before she joined her first ski development group — Summit County Freeride — at the age of 6.
At Summit County Freeride, Thisted was coached by Goggin until both decided to make the move to Team Summit in 2017. Since then, Thisted, has steadily moved up the freeskiing ranks.
As Thisted, 16, stood at the top of the slopestyle course in Austria, she admitted she was a bit shell shocked by the level of competition around her.
“It was surreal and a little bit overwhelming,” Thisted said of her experience in Austria. “It was really exciting to stand next to my idols and such talented women in skiing.”
Thisted has been looking up to some of the women she competed against in Austria since she first began skiing.
Women like two-time Olympian and 2022 Winter Olympic bronze medalist Kelly Sildaru, seven-time X-Games medalist Johanne Killi and 2018 Winter Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hoefflin.
In many ways, the athletes Thisted was competing against in Austria fueled her to get into the sport and have inspired her to keep chasing her dream.
Thisted competed in the women’s slopestyle competition in Austria. Thisted was not able to land a solid run in qualifications and finished 18th overall in the 20-athlete competition.
Thisted recorded a top score of 31.48, while the competition was won by Killi with a score of 81.24. Sildaru took silver with a score of 78.22, while Grace Henderson from New Hampshire took bronze with a score of 76.58.
Thisted was slightly disappointed with her performance, but she viewed her first world cup competition as a huge learning experience.
“Although I was not able to land the exact run I wanted to make finals, I think the experience gave me confidence for future competitions,” Thisted said. “It fired me up for this season.”
Goggin viewed Thisted’s first world cup as a moment to look back and reflect how far Thisted has come in a relatively short amount of time.
“I’ve known Alex — I think for more than 10 years now,” Goggin said. “I think she is already set up for success. She works really hard and I think this is a moment to thank the process and the work ethic because it is paying off. She has been doing this for a really long time. This is just another milestone and a testament to her.”
Thisted hopes to improve her future performances by expanding her book of tricks and bettering her “self talk” while competing .
“It’s one of the biggest lessons I am learning right now,” Thisted said. “It’s one thing to stomp an ideal run in practice, but being able to harness the adrenaline in one of the two runs that count is my biggest challenge currently. I hope that I can get in a better mindset and land my run when it counts.”
Goggin went on to say that positive “self talk” is often fundamental to succeeding or reaching that next level in snowsports.
“Putting yourself first is okay in a contest environment,” Goggin said. “With sound practice that language moves over to an event. It’s nurturing that skill the same way you would do a trick in a terrain park.”
Beyond competing, Thisted also had time to explore Austria with her fellow competitors.
“Traveling is one of the favorite parts of my sport and the opportunities it creates,” Thisted said.
Thisted got to meet new people and immersed herself in Austrian culture. One of Thisted’s favorite moments was visiting a Christmas market while in Innsbruck.
Thisted will spend the next few weeks training at Copper Mountain Resort with her fellow Team Summit teammates before competing again at the U.S. Revolution Tour’s stop at Copper Mountain Resort in January.
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