Perfecting an Olympic run

Kiwi Olympic Freeskiier Nico Porteous and his support team have been using a traffic light system of their own to perfect his run for Beijing.

HPSNZ Performance and Technique Analyst Cameron Ross has worked with Nico and his coach Tommy Pyatt, designing and perfecting what Nico will deliver in his Olympic Freeski Halfpipe event in the 22-foot halfpipe in Beijing. 

“The process started almost four years ago by looking at what competitors are likely to be doing by the time Beijing comes around and developing on paper a run that can match or better that,” he says. 

“It’s about doing a gap analysis on what the athlete needs to achieve to be ready for success and agreeing on the run itself, which is the combination of all the tricks that Nico wants to perfect for Beijing.” 

Cameron explains that the analysis and supporting data at the beginning is critical as the more thorough it is from the outset, the more effectively Nico and his performance team can track and streamline the run over time. 

 Once the run is captured in a spreadsheet the traffic light system comes into play. 

Nico Porteous performs a trick in the air

“It there is a trick in there that Nico hasn’t landed yet it starts in red and will progress through amber and green as he learns, practices and perfects it. 

It does take time, but the aim is to have all the tricks tracking as green, indicating he is ready to put down his best run in competition.” 

The team work with Nico on learning and perfecting his tricks, first on the trampoline at HPSNZ and Snow Sports New Zealand’s Wanaka training base, then on the airbags and finally in the halfpipe where the combination of tricks comes together in the overall run. 

Nico is known for introducing new tricks and trick combinations in competition, becoming the first in the world to land back to back 1620s in the halfpipe at the 2021 X Games in Aspen. That was a gold medal winning run that he had been working on for 18 months. 

Cameron says competitors around the world will have noted that and learned from it. 

“Beijing is the big one and Nico is ready to push the boundaries once again.”