If you have been to a rail jam or big air competition at Murray Ridge, you have probably seen Quinn Moeller.
If you have, you probably know Moeller skis, and skis well – the man knows his way around a terrain park.
He probably skis in his sleep, spinning rodeo (upside-down) 540s in his dreams (a 540 is a spin where the skier rotates one and a half times around).
While he has won a number of big air and rail jam competitions at the local hill, he had never competed at a higher level contest with competitors from all across the province and beyond before.
But on Feb. 7, Moeller decided he would give it a try.
He worked the night shift at Conifex Mill at home in Fort St. James, got off, packed up his skis and drove to Tabor Mountain near Prince George for the Timber Tour slope style competition.
Slopestyle competitions combine rails and other obstacles with jumps.
The event was a test event for the Canada Winter Games, and teams came to compete from across the province.
The Yukon freestyle ski team was there, skiers from Whistler, the Vancouver Freestyle ski team, skiers from Apex Mountain near Penticton and more.
Arriving at the event, competitors were required to be affiliated with a ski team to enter, so Moeller approached the local Northern BC Freestyle Club in order to compete, and they signed him up.
There were over 30 competitors, and Thursday was a day for practice on the course, but Moeller did not even get that, he had only three practice runs before the judged runs on Friday.
Despite the frigid -30 C temperatures, the competition went ahead, with only a small tent at the top with a propane heater to keep the waiting skiers from freezing while they stood around.
“It did keep us a bit warm,” said Moeller. While it was a bluebird day of sunshine and bright skies, it was “just really really cold” to be standing around for a competition said Moeller.
The snow conditions were different as well, with some icy places and the super cold snow being a bit sticky in places as well.
Each skier was given two runs through, with their best score standing and the skiers were then ranked by these scores.
Moeller said the course had a flat bar rail then two options for the next section, a flat-down-flat rail or flat-down-box, then two down rails and it finished with three jumps.
On his first run, Moeller did a front 270 off the flat rail, putting him in the “switch” or backwards position for the second one, which he did a switch 270 onto then a backside 270 off.
He “skier slid” the last rail to get enough speed for the jumps, and he did a 540 tail grab off the first one, a switch rodeo 540 off the second then a 540 off of the last one.
Moeller crashed on his second run on the second rail.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking being up there with kids that have had 10-plus years training in the winter and summer,” he said.
But apparently, training only with his friends at Murray Ridge has still given him enough skills to hold his own against the other skiers.
The 21-year-old Moeller took third place overall and first in the 19 and over category with a score of 78 on his first run.
After the event, he was approached by two freestyle ski teams, and asked to come coach the younger skiers.
He said he’s thinking about it.