Gerard, Langland return to Woodward Copper camp ahead of Winter Olympics
Their old stomping grounds at Copper Mountain Resort provided the last snowboard laps of the summer for U.S. pros Red Gerard and Hailey Langland.
The American slopestyle stars basked this week in the laid-back riding atmosphere at Woodward Copper’s summer park, which was standing — slushy, yet strong — chock-full of jumps and features despite recent rain and warm temperatures.
Gerard, a Silverthorne local, and Langland enjoyed helping campers to progress their skills throughout the week, including Gerard’s cousin Khaden. Gerard, Langland and the Woodward Copper counselors coached the 13-year-old through backflips — from landing a “wildcat” flip on the airbag adjacent to the park to landing the trick on the big jump line.
“It sort of reminds me a little bit of when I was younger, learning tricks and how it can be so scary, but then so awesome once you actually learn it,” Gerard said.
The Olympic gold medalist Gerard and multi-time X Games medalist Langland lapped the park with campers this week along with the Dust Box crew of snowboarders and pro skiers, including Lupe Hagearty and Ryan Barrick. It came more than a month after Gerard attended the first week of Woodward Copper summer camp riding with the young campers along with Burton pros and close friends like Brock Crouch, Mark McMorris and Danny Davis.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
After spending time snowboarding at Mount Hood in Oregon, Langland said returning to Copper reminded her of the laid-back vibe when she first came to the camp five years ago.
“This is what makes this time so special for us because it’s just downtime,” Langland said. “You get the chance to chill and ride with kids you’ve never met before. It’s the calm before the storm in February.”
The “calm before the storm” Langland was referring to is the process leading up to and including the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in China. Now four years older, the two 21-year-olds Gerard and Langland said they are excited for their second stab at the Olympics.
Since finishing second overall and as the top American at the Aspen Olympic qualifying event in March, Gerard has enjoyed different activities, namely surfing, during his time off snow. Come Sept. 14, he and other American riders will head to Europe for the first preseason camp at Stomping Grounds Park in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. The team will then head to a preseason camp in Stubai, Austria, later in autumn before gearing up for the start of the season. For Gerard, the season-opener will be Dew Tour from Dec. 16-19 at Copper.
In recent weeks, Gerard has seen the other side of the Olympic coin. He spent time with other winter Olympians in Orlando at the Team USA watch party event for family and friends of summer Olympians who could not go to Tokyo due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Currently sitting at the top of the American men’s snowboard slopestyle Olympic qualifying pack, Gerard is positioned to be one of the country’s stars at his second consecutive Olympics. It’ll be his first time in China in five years. He said he hopes the builders of the slopestyle course will bring creativity to the course’s design and layout and added that the jumps in China are well built from what he’s seen watching Chinese riders on Instagram.
“They are wizards and what they can do with a blank canvas is always pretty amazing,” Gerard said.
In Switzerland next month, Gerard and Langland said they will be focused on getting their fundamental tricks back before moving onto anything new. Langland said that is the case for her and some other riders after last season featured few contests and training opportunities due to cancellations and public health restrictions.
Gerard will be looking to build off his exclamation point at the end of last season, where he landed a 1620-degree trick for the first time in competition to earn second place at the Aspen Olympic qualifier.
Langland said once she feels good with the tricks already in her bag, she’d like to add two more 1080s and a backside 900 with her opposite foot forward, or switch.
Langland said Beijing 2022 could be a moment of redemption after horrid wind-tunnel like gusts quite literally threw off the 2018 women’s snowboard slopestyle contest in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In the howling winds, Langland finished sixth as the No. 3 American.
However the Olympic process plays out, Gerard and Langland will weather it together.
“Now that we are a lot older and did it already, we have so much more experience, and we can lean on each other,” Langland said.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Somewhat vanilla on the outside, relying on a heavy dose of the power run, the Basalt High School football team’s offense has always had its share of wrinkles under coach Carl Frerichs. The latest involves the twitchy arm of junior Kade Schneider, who is in his first season as the Longhorns’ QB1.