Red’s road: Silverthorne Olympic gold medalist Red Gerard ponders where his career goes from here
Though he became an instant superstar last year with his Olympic gold-medal winning slopestyle run, Red Gerard will not be contained to any one course.
You’ll find him with his energetic tribe of a family snowboarding in the backcountry near the sled town of Red Cliff. You can also catch him watching his fourth-grade sister, Asher, shred the Gerards’ backyard rail park until the sun sets over the Gore Range west of their Silverthorne home.
And — even if it’s a small chance — you might even find him on Saturday morning dropping into the Dew Tour’s modified superpipe competition.
Gerard is known for his even-keeled and laid-back style, on and off the snow. It influences the lines he takes through slopestyle courses, including the inventive gold medal run last February on the video game-like course in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
So, if you’re Red, why not present the Burton team manager with an atypical request: to snag an alternate spot to compete in Saturday’s modified superpipe competition. After all, if you don’t ask, there’s never the possibility.
Beyond that simple fact, there is also the following reality: that this Dew Tour superpipe is the kind of hybrid course Gerard would like to see snowboarding evolve into as his teens become his 20s.
“Something where you could include both halfpipe snowboarders and slopestyle snowboarders would be my dream way of competing,” Gerard said over breakfast at Breckenridge Ski Resort on Friday morning.
Casual fans may only know Gerard thanks to his Olympic win, which was the youngest ever by an American male at an individual event in Winter Olympic history. But there’s a lot more to the 18-year-old rider, and there’s a lot more to what he’d like to do with snowboarding moving forward.
He looks to his fellow Mountain Dew athlete Danny Davis and his Peace Park concept as inspiration. Gerard said he’s open to the idea of working with a group like Snow Park Technologies — who built the Dew Tour modified pipe and Peace Park — to conceive of his own creation.
“It’d just be cool if something stuck like that,” Gerard said of Peace Park. “Because the average halfpipe and slopestyle competition is fading, so something new could be pretty cool.”
Gerard thinks the current competition tricks in events like slopestyle are getting a little too big — massive enough to result in serious injuries for athletes like him.
Gerard also balances his snowboarding focus between competitions like Sunday’s Dew Tour slopestyle event (noon to 2 p.m.) and filming. His Instagram videos, filmed by his older brother Malachi, bring levity to what could become a high-pressure career.
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Gerard truly followed in the footsteps — or snowboard tracks — of his brothers, namely Malachi, who is five years older. Going back to when the Gerards lived in Ohio, Malachi let Red tag along and hang out with his friends. Fast forward more than a decade, and Malachi is still there with him. He films not only Red’s videos but other snowboarders as well, such as Ben Ferguson’s high-flying run through the modified superpipe this week.
When home in Summit County, the Gerard brothers find themselves often with their other siblings hanging out, snowmobiling and snowboarding out at spots like Red Cliff near Vail Pass. The more people the merrier. But when the Gerards’ father, Conrad, and mother, Jen, join them things become really fun.
“Just fun people,” Red said.
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As for little Asher, thus far in Summit’s epic snow season, Red said she’s been snowboarding at Copper Mountain Resort every weekend. When the lifts stop spinning, she returns to the backyard for lap after lap on the homemade rope-tow. She does her best to follow in the same snowboard tracks as her gold-medalist brother and the family members who influenced him when he was her age.
Following in his footsteps in terms of competition, though? That’s the last thing on Red’s mind, as he knows the most important thing about snowboarding is using the fun of the sport to feel your best.
“She really enjoys snowboarding, for sure,” Red said. “And that’s the biggest part — she really enjoys coming down the runs. She kind of makes it anywhere we go snowboarding.”
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