Skiing bumps with Joel Hedrick
For some, the myriad of moguls found at Winter Park Ski Resort creates frustration and pain. For others it creates and opportunity to start a competitive ski career.
Winter Park Competition Center’s Joel Hedrick just won the US Ski Team’s Freestyle Mogul Selection for the D division.
The event took place at Winter Park Resort, and Hedrick, 19, was able to prove that not only is Winter Park’s terrain good enough for the US Ski Team, the athletes who ski there are too. The win secured Hedrick a spot on the team for 2017.
Qualifying for the Selections is based off points from the previous year. The Selections are used to qualify for a World Cup Start. Hedrick finished 2016 with three podiums in the NorAM event—two of which were wins. He also finished in sixth place at the US Championships in Steamboat Springs and took bronze at the Junior Worlds.
Hedrick grew up skiing in Winter Park. His father, Dan, has been on ski patrol for about 25 years and worked with the Comp Center for as long as Hedrick can remember. Hedrick grew up skiing full time. A lot of people can say they skied full time, but Hedrick may have more authority for the claim. He took online classes for his high school education in order to be able to focus every second that wasn’t involved with school on skiing. Hedrick said it was definitely different going to high school through a screen, but that he was able to stay motivated because of skiing and enjoyed his online classes. He resided full time in Winter Park throughout school while competing for the Comp Center.
Hedrick’s favorite territory at Winter Park is, you guessed it, Mary Jane—though he has to spend most of his time on the freestyle course.
He currently lives in Park City, Utah to be closer to the team’s training facilities and coaches, but he still represents the Winter Park Competition Center and comes back to train there often.
“I like Winter Park a lot,” Hedrick said.
“It is my home, and it feels like home, but it’s also good to explore other places with world-class training facilities.”
Hedrick said that Park City has the perfect setup for the training that he needs to stay competitive, including off-season training facilities used by the best snow-sport athletes in the world. Hedrick said his parents try to attend as many events as possible in the US, and have been very supportive through his skiing career.
Hedrick plans to stay in Utah for college. He is considering going to school for business marketing because he thinks he will be able to tie that into the ski industry in some way in the future. Blending his passion and his career is Hedrick’s dream, and he grew up in the perfect place to do so.
Hedrick is on the D team for freestyle moguls. The D team is where many of the greatest athletes start out and eventually move up. The teams are dived into A, B, C, and D. The D team mostly has to fund themselves, Hedrick said, for competition and travel, so it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to afford to be competitive. Hedrick said there are 11 competitors of each gender on each team.
Hedrick will be competing in Lake Placid, NY on Jan. 9, 2017 kicking off his NorAM World Cup Tour.
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