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Nicky Johnson Wins National Slopestyle Title; Freeski Team has a Stellar Week
April 14, 2023
Coach Cody Ling

Wow! All I can say is what a week, and what a way to end the season for our BSF Freeski Comp program. We just returned from competing at the USASA Freeskiing Nationals in Copper Mountain, Colorado. We had a total of 10 athletes competing. Our competitors were Anders and Soren Fanning, Eli Irby, Rylan Messner, Miles Hundhausen, Henry DeFrance, Casper Lemley, Nicky Johnson, Keelan Gaines, and Wylie Mugaas. 

All of our athletes competed in slopestyle, and some in rail jam as well. The weather for our week was sure tough to beat. We saw highs in the 50’s and the sun was intense. The downside of this was that the snow got slow very quickly in the early afternoon. This made it tough for athletes to stick with the run they originally planned, and some had to make adjustments to deal with the speed. 

With any competition there is a component of nerves and pressure that athletes place upon themselves. This was no exception. If anything, those feelings were amplified with it being their largest competition of the season. Nationals bring the very best competitors together from across the country to compete. The added pressure, and snow conditions, made training difficult for some. Our athletes had to find a way to stay positive and focused going into comp day. 

Spinning and flipping 30 feet off the ground has a very small margin of error, and injury is always a risk. Unfortunately, both Eli and Wylie suffered injuries in training and had to pull from the competition. Everyone skied hard and put it all on the line. 

There were some great highlights from the week. Rylan Messner placed 6th overall in Open Class Rail Jam. Casper Lemley and Anders Fanning put down one of the best jump lines of their lives in Open Class Slopestyle but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to make the cut for finals. 

Henry DeFrance and Nicky Johnson put down great runs and made it to finals for the Men's 17-18 division. Henry was able to put down two great runs which put him in 7th place overall. Nicky unfortunately fell on his first run. He had the highest score going into finals so there was a lot of pressure and strategy going into his final run. To add to all the pressure, he was the last competitor to drop. Nicky took a deep breath, focused in, and put it DOWN! Nicky ended up with a score of 90.00 and took home the gold for Bridger Ski Foundation. Congratulations Nicky, for being the Men’s Junior Division National Champion, and to all of our competitors for representing BSF by having fun, encouraging your fellow competitors, and carrying yourselves like the outstanding young men that you all are!

Check out the BSF Youtube Channel for more footage from Nationals.