Mind the Drop is a three part series featuring my perception of the varying thoughts and actions of the sports premier athletes just moments before they drop their heaviest bangers.

Part 1 – Nick Goepper dropping on the Olympic slopestyle course. Sochi, Russia.

Looking straight ahead, I can see the official listening to his radio. As he waits for the go ahead from the judge’s booth, he gazes down the course, then back at me. I wonder what he sees down there. I turn my head and in doing so catch the piercing flood lights which illuminate the course in front of me. In my field of vision lie the first two rail features and the lip of the first jump. Seeing this calms my nerves, but also reminds me of what the next 60 seconds will bring.

As I pull my iPod from my chest pocket, snippets of the last three months flash through my mind. Locking in my qualification at Copper, getting my triples dialed, and the holidays in Indiana seem so long ago. The days of lapping Perfect North seem like they may have been in another lifetime. A quick glance at the official does nothing to calm my nerves, as he seems mesmerized by the little black radio in his hand. I wish this motherfucker could give me the thumbs up and I could just drop already.

As I fumble with my iPod I take deep breaths and mentally charge through my run. Mike and I have gone through it thousands of times, debating everything from grabs to spin direction. Although I only dialed in my third triple variation last week, I feel confident in my ability to stomp my run. The months of training and tramping have done wonders for my in-air awareness, and I know I can put the triples to my feet. I finally reach the playlist I need and press play on the song I have been slapping in comps this year – Work by Gang Starr. My mind begins to clear, as I ready to put in my type of work as Gang Starr spits about his.

I slip my iPod back into my jacket and pull on my glove. As I shuffle my skis to knock the snow off the top I see the official give me the thumbs up, and I know the time has come. As I bump knuckles with the official and Mike, the background noise subsides and suddenly my skis are pointed at the first rail feature. The things I have endured to reach this point are behind me, and the future of my ski career weighs heavily upon the next minute. Despite what RedBull thinks, this is actually why I ski.

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