Keystone Youth Freeride Team member Walter Wood has a simple goal for his skiing career: to shock the world. “I pretty much want to amaze everybody and show them how much I’ve trained,” Wood said. The 13-year-old is in the midst of what may be his busiest winter of competition yet.
Wood, who lives in Evergreen, is competing in the Sports Illustrated for Kids Next Snow Search series for the third consecutive season and he has qualified for the finals in each of those seasons. Last year’s finals were held at Keystone and this year they will be held in Killington, Vt., March 3-5. Wood has also been invited to the first Next Snow Search all-star event, which takes place Jan. 27-28 at Keystone. Although both of these events will be televised nationally, it won’t be Wood’s first time in the public eye.Along with Shaquille O’Neal and Barry Bonds, Wood appeared in the May 2005 edition of Sports Illustrated for Kids.”It was really cool knowing that kids were looking at me all around the world,” he said.
How did you first get into skiing?”I was about 3 years old. My parents were both ski patrollers at Berthoud Pass and it was full of a lot of guys who were extreme. They were going off 20-foot cliffs and I wanted to be like them. It kind of inspired me and helped get me into it.”Is it true you broke one of Tanner Hall’s records?
“Yes. It was at the Park City camp. I was there for six weeks so I got really used to the water ramps. The Mongo is the biggest jump there, it’s made for Olympic aerial athletes and it’s 27 feet high. I wanted to get more air and experience and I heard that if I hit the Mongo than I would be the youngest kid to do it since Tanner Hall. I believe he was 14 when he hit it, and I was 13.”What was it like jumping off the Mongo into a swimming pool?”I was terrified at the top and I had all my coaches walk me through it. The first time I went off I threw a rodeo 9 (an off-axis 900 degree spin) and when I landed it, I was so happy. I just wanted to do it again. Two days after that I broke my nose when I over rotated my rodeo 900 and did a rodeo 1440 instead. I landed it, but the impact on the water caused my knee to come up to my face and I broke my nose. The next day I realized I had to overcome my fear of that jump, so I hit it one more time, stuck it and I was fine.”
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