Alex Schlopy is here and ready for redemption. After a long hiatus, the skier recently announced that he is aiming to complete in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on the US Big Air Team, a new addition to the Olympics.
The Park City native has been long due for a comeback. In past competitions, Schlopy's natural talent and skill has often shone through. He earned himself a reputation for spinning bangers with the best of them. In 2011, he won gold at X-Games Aspen Big Air event with a tweaked out switch 1440 as a rookie. A couple years later in 2013, he came back with an attempt at a triple cork 1980, nearly spinning into the future (he crashed). The newly instated Olympic Big Air might just be the perfect event for Schlopy to focus on in the upcoming years.
That being said, Schlopy isn’t just spinning for a chance at an Olympic medal, he's also working towards “the goal of raising awareness for drug addiction and mental illness.”
In 2014, Schlopy abruptly disappeared from the ski industry altogether, leaving only cryptic messages on social media channels for followers to decode. Then just eight months ago he came forward to explain how his career hit an unexpected halt in an eye-opening post. After Schlopy missed the cut for the 2014 Olympic Slopestyle Team by less than half a point, the skier found himself on a downward spiral both mentally and physically. For a goal-oriented athlete with a huge pressure to succeed, coming up just short of the Olympics was a huge blow. The accumulated stress of his competition career, unfortunately, led him down a path of addiction and multiple suicide attempts.
The topic of mental health is generally taboo in the ski industry and only a handful of competition skiers openly discuss the topic. Tanner Hall and Nick Goepper, for example, made successful rebounds in their careers after each hit extremely low points. Both are open to conversations about their previous addiction and mental health problems, as well as the struggle it took to overcome them. Schlopy is now among the handful of skiers open to such conversation, with a hopeful comeback in sight. Along with focusing on the Olympics, Schlopy plans on becoming an advocate for mental health, addiction awareness and more. “I am also doing this in memory of all of our fallen soldiers in the ski industry... especially one of my for best friends, Chance Wilson, who passed away in the depths of addiction,” Schlopy stated.
Schlopy has competition and skiing in his blood - if any athlete could make an Olympic comeback after a battle that intense, it would be him. Best of luck in future competitions, we're rooting for you.