Local skier earns an X bib | AspenTimes.com

Local skier earns an X bib

Joelle Milholm
Post Independent staff writer

Lloyd Tucker (46), a Roaring Fork High graduate, races in Skier X at Jabra Jam in California on Jan. 13. Tucker will compete in Winter X Games 11 at Buttermilk. (Contributed photo)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” Three years ago, Lloyd Tucker gazed at X Games athletes with amazement – admiring their gravity-defying, awe-inspiring skills and tricks.

This weekend, X Games spectators will be watching him.

For the last three years, Tucker has been traveling on weekends to compete in ski races – all the while remembering the athletes he saw and his goal to join them.

“I saw everyone competing and it looked really cool and I thought it looked like something I wanted to go and do,” Tucker recalled of watching the X Games.

The Roaring Fork High School graduate earned a last-second spot in Winter X Games 11 with a victory at the Jabra Jam X at the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort in California on Jan. 13 – the only event where winners can qualify for the X Games. All other participants must receive an invitation.

Tucker, who has skied his whole life but has only been completing for the last three years, took first place in the skier X competition.

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It was his third time competing at Jabra and his first win. After taking fourth last year, Tucker was determined to go back and compete again.

“I knew I could do just as good or better,” Tucker said.

Coming back to Buttermilk to compete, Tucker will return to the mountain that hosted his first-ever competition.

“My first race was at Buttermilk for a USSA (United States Ski and Snowboard Association) competition and then from there I raced at Nationals in Taos, New Mexico, (in 2005) and took second there,” Tucker said.

Qualifying rounds for skier X begin at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. If Tucker wants a shot at a medal, he will have to race four, or maybe five times, to get to the qualifying rounds and reach Sunday’s finals, which are slated to start at noon.

“I am excited that I made it to X Games,” Tucker said. “I am not going to get hung up too much on making it to the podium, but if I do, it will just be another dream come true.”

Tucker’s high-paced climb to becoming one of the top Skier Xers in the country isn’t his only athletic achievement. The former Ram, who was a kicker for RFHS’ football team and also played soccer and ran cross country for Roaring Fork, is currently pursuing his football career at Western State College in Gunnison. When Tucker isn’t hitting the slopes, he’s playing on the gridiron as the Mountaineers’ kicker.

While the two-sport athlete is rather busy trying to do both and be a student, he says some parts of his football preparations carry over to skiing.

“I am lifting to get ready for football, as well as conditioning, so that really helps with skiing,” he said.

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