Freestyle skier attends Junior Olympics

Amelia Raether

Half-pipes, ski tricks, and aerial flips––all in a day’s work for freshman Mitchell Forsythe, who competed in the Junior Olympics in freestyle skiing March 10 through March 14 in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.

Forsythe participated in half-pipe, slope style (which features rails and jumps), and aerial events during the competition, and skied in a team composed of all Midwest skiers. “I didn’t do as well as I hoped,” he said, “but I learned a lot about how the system works and what I need to work on for next year.”

“Slope style is my favorite, because you get to add in many different features,” said Forsythe, who skis with Nybora, a team based at Hyland Ski Area. However, his strongest event is in aerial jumping, as he is ranked 20th nationally. Aerial skiing involves propelling ones self off a jump roughly 40 feet into the air and then performing various tricks, flips, or spins.

Forsythe has two aerial routines, which feature a 900 degree spin and a 1080 degree spin. “Aerials are really thrilling, because you’re in the air for a few seconds and you feel weightless,” he said. “The first time, it’s always really scary, but I just try to go for it right away.”

“It was really different skiing on the east coast,” he said. The east coast traditionally is known as having icier slopes as opposed to Colorado’s powder, which can truly alter a skier’s ability.
However, he was surprised with the good conditions found in Wateville Valley. “The park was really nice, very different from Minnesota because it was icier, but the jumps were nicely made,” said Forsythe.

An avid skier from the beginning, Forsythe began skiing at age five, and began experimenting with the terrain park at age nine. “I started freestyle skiing three years ago, but this was my first year of competition,” he said.

He trains year-round, and is planning on training for his jumps on trampolines over the summer, as well as keeping up his skills on the slopes as well by attending a ski camp in Mount Hood, Oregon.
One can expect to see Forsythe in the Junior Olympics in the upcoming years once again, continuing his passion for competetive skiing and building on his already-impressive skills.