Americans Alex Hall, Nick Goepper win gold, silver in slopestyle

United States' Alexander Hall competes during the men's slopestyle finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Alex Hall of the U.S. competes during the men’s slopestyle finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics Wednesday in Zhangjiakou, China.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

The pristine white snow at Genting Snow Park is more than just Alex Hall’s office for the day. To the two-time Olympic freeskier, it’s a sun-soaked, freezing-cold, blank canvas on which to paint his next picture.

He drew a masterpiece on Wednesday, winning his first Olympic gold medal in slopestyle with unique tricks that left his competitors cheering. He and silver medalist Nick Goepper, who won his third Olympic medal, added to the U.S. legacy in freeski slopestyle, where Americans have claimed six of the nine Olympic medals since the event joined the program in 2014.

Sweden’s Jesper Tjader won bronze Wednesday to round out the podium.

Where elite athletes would rely on preset routines, slopestyle riders have perfected the art of adaptation. Each course at each contest is new, and when it came to the course at Genting Snow Park, Hall thrived with his approach.


The Fairbanks, Ala., native threw down the winning score of 90.01 on his first run, punctuated with a complex double cork 1080 that started spinning one direction and then reversed to end at a 900-degree rotation. Hall drew inspiration from his varied skiing background that began in Alaska but flourished in Switzerland where he grew up skiing on anything he could find between city rails, parks or powder.

Silver medal winner United State's Nick Goepper and Gold medal winner United States' Alexander Hall celebrate.
Gold medalist Alex Hall, right, and silver medal winner Nick Goepper of the U.S. after the men’s slopestyle finals.
(Lee Jin-man / Associated Press)

“That comes from my love for skiing and my love for all the different aspects of skiing,” Hall said. “That’s what really creates me as a skier and creates these slopestyle runs like I did today, approaching skiing from all different aspects and being as well-rounded as I can be.”

Hall’s modest 2½ twists on his final jump was a stark contrast to the massive double cork 2160 he threw down to win X Games big air in January. Goepper, who added a second consecutive silver medal to his bronze from 2014, joked he can’t even count high enough to keep track of the sport’s progression.

On Wednesday, the 27-year-old was pleased to see the slopestyle course inspire a refreshing take on the sport’s future.

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“The creativity and the uniqueness are being recognized,” said Goepper, who placed second despite his largest spin being a relatively mundane 1440. “As soon as you max out what you can possibly do athletically spinning around in circles, that’s when the sport starts to get stale and standardized. It’s cool to get the athletes and the course designers on the same page so we can keep this fresh and about being creative and not about who can spin the most.”


Skiers and snowboarders alike praised the Genting Snow Park slopestyle course’s visual appeal and technical challenges. Inspired by iconic pieces of Chinese culture, the course is lined with a replica Great Wall of China built out of snow. Beautiful and functional, the wall is meant to protect riders from the mountain’s famously strong winds on the upper section of the course.

The theme continues with a tall guardhouse with a curved rail across the roof. Dubbed “the shred shed,” it immediately caught Goepper’s eye.

“It’s iconic,” the three-time Olympian said after using the house during the qualification round on Tuesday.

Workers prepare the halfpipe course at Genting Snow Park before the women's halfpipe finals.
Workers prepare the halfpipe course at Genting Snow Park before the women’s halfpipe finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb. 10 in Zhangjiakou, China.
(Kiichiro Sato / Associated Press)

When riders arrive for precompetition training, they often make it a point to explore every feature on the course. They may rely on their favorite tricks, but keep the door open for other options as necessary.

For Hall, he just looks for something “that I know will bring me joy.”

“That’s our sport: it’s a free sport,” he said. “Things are always changing … you can express yourself exactly how you want.”


Snowboard silver medalist Julia Marino called the course the most technically challenging one she’s faced. The skiers who competed a week later shared the same feelings.

“It’s really going to separate the people who are great skiers,” said Colby Stevenson, who finished seventh during Wednesday’s final.

By Hall’s account, Stevenson, a 24-year-old Olympic rookie, is “the best skier I know.”

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Stevenson already showed off his skill by winning silver in the Olympic debut of freeski big air. He called it a miracle that he earned his first big air podium at the Olympics, especially after he nearly died in a car accident six years ago.

Stevenson said he was most excited to travel the more than 130 miles northwest to Zhangjiakou, where instead of just hitting one giant jump, he could string together a whole run on the slopestyle course. “Slopestyle,” Stevenson said, “has been the love of my life since I was a kid.”

Hall praised Stevenson’s ability to handle technical challenges and show creative tricks with different grabs and spins. He tackles the rails and jumps aggressively.

Friends call Stevenson a “slopestyle wizard,” but on Wednesday it was Hall and Goepper who pulled out the winning tricks.


Skiers and snowboarders alike praised the Genting Snow Park slopestyle course’s visual appeal and technical challenges at the Beijing Olympics.