Aaron Blunck takes World Cup win at Copper

“My goal is to get that Crystal Globe”

by Than Acuff

Aaron Blunck’s quest for the Crystal Globe is off to a great start this year, as he is currently ranked first in the overall FIS World Cup halfpipe standings with a third place at the first stop in New Zealand in September and a first place last weekend in Copper.

He is currently at the Secret Garden ski area in China for the third stop of the World Cup this weekend.

Blunck had a rough go last year after falling short of expectations at the X Games in Aspen.

“I was down after not winning the X Games in Aspen last year. I didn’t even want to compete in the next event at Park City,” explains Blunck. “I went into it expecting to win and I realized I needed to change that. My mindset is a little different now. My focus is to have the most fun and the best season I’ve ever had.”

His mind shift has played out well and carried over into the 2019/2020 competition season, opening with a third place at the opening World Cup event in New Zealand.

“I was just happy to be there and stoked to be back skiing,” says Blunck. “I’m not so worried about the results. I’ve already proved what kind of skier I am.”

Blunck returned to the states with continued training and skiing for the sake of skiing and then jumped back into the World Cup circuit last week to compete at the FIS Freeski Halfpipe World Cup at Copper Mountain, Wednesday through Friday, December 11-13.

The qualifiers were a bit erratic for Blunck and the rest of the skiers, as scores seemed strangely low, shaking up the typical order of the qualifier runs.

“It was hard to tell what the judges were scoring well,” says Blunck. “I asked my coaches and they didn’t know either, so I decided to take it with a grain of salt and just ski for me.”

Blunck had no trouble pushing through and woke up Friday morning for the finals at 5:45 a.m. to 10-plus inches of new snow.

“I raced to get my gear on,” says Blunck. “I was going to get a powder day in before I competed. I was at the lift at 7:45 and caught first chair at 9 a.m. That’s how my finals day started.”

The new snow made for a tricky day in the halfpipe though, as it slowed the skiers down and left Blunck and others scratching their heads about what kind of run to put together.

“It was too slow to pull off two doubles on the run, so none of us could do the runs we wanted to do,” explains Blunck. “I just decided to throw in a couple singles I hadn’t done in a while and do the most technical run I could do without being able to do two doubles.”

Blunck scored an 87.50 on his second run and knew that was enough to put him on the podium heading into the third and final run of the day. Then, when the final skier of the third round had a hiccup in his run, Blunck’s score stuck for the win.

Thirty-six hours later Blunck was on a plane to China and is now back on snow preparing for the FIS World Cup event there and excited for the experience.

“It’s the third time they’ve hosted the event and a lot of us were hesitant to go because the pipe there isn’t that good but we heard how good the pipe is now, so a lot of us decided to go,” says Blunck. “They’re getting super into skiing in China so it’s cool to be here getting the sport going and getting people stoked.”

The finals are this Saturday—Friday here in the U.S.—and following that, Blunck will return to Crested Butte to spend the holidays with his family and get in some filming if the conditions are right in January.

Following the holiday break, things really ramp up for Blunck as he has the X Games in Aspen January 23-26, the fourth World Cup stop at Mammoth Mountain January 29-31, a Dew Tour stop back at Copper Mountain in early February, and then the last competition of the World Cup in Calgary, Canada, February 13-15. He finishes it all off with a return to China for the China X Games back at the Secret Garden resort February 21-23.

“I’ve got five events in four weeks,” says Blunck. “It’s pretty hectic but it’s pretty cool. If all goes well and I can pull off a good result here in China and in Mammoth then I may have enough points to not compete in Canada. My goal is to get that Crystal Globe. That and an Olympic medal.”

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