Competition doesn’t start for another week, but slopestyle skier Nick Goepper can already boast quite the Olympic experience.
Goepper was a guest on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on Tuesday. This came two weeks after he met celebrities like Taylor Swift on the Golden Globe Awards red carpet.
Goepper and Letterman share a home state of Indiana. Goepper is from the Ohio River city of Lawrenceburg, population 5,000.
One of the most common questions asked of Goepper is how flat Indiana could produce a two-time Winter X Games champion skier?
“Most places in the Midwest you ski on piles of trash, like retired landfills,” he said.
But Lawrenceburg has a contrastingly menacing 350-foot hill that Goepper began skiing on at age 5. Every year, he had a precious three-month window where man-made snow could cover it.
Goepper said Lawrenceburg has an annual snowfall of “about 4 centimeters.”
He advanced out of the adversity to become a medal favorite in Sochi, where ski slopestyle will make its Olympic debut. Selling candy bars helped.
With Letterman, Goepper remembered first harboring championship dreams after nailing his first backflip on skis at 11.
“It was one of the most nerve-racking days of my life,” he said. “That was the moment I realized, hey, you know, I’m OK at this and I want to pursue this as a career.”
Goepper also talked about one of his family’s favorite post-church Sunday outings.
“We would go find an old railroad track and hike down the railroad track for a couple of miles and find old insulators,” he said.
Letterman seemed familiar with the practice.
“That’s fun in Indiana,” the host said.