Noah Morrison and his dad Jamie drove to California three times last year, adding to the 35,000 kilometres they racked up on the family minivan.
It is the price they are willing to pay to get Morrison noticed on the world slopestyle ski scene. It seems to be working because when the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association revealed its national roster, Noah’s name was on it.
“Me and my dad travelled the world, basically,” smiled Morrison, a 17-year-old entering Grade 12 in the VSS high performance program.
“We took so many road trips for competitions. I couldn’t have got here without him. Throughout the season, we definitely put a lot of money into it and I’m just glad it’s working out.”
For the Morrisons, earning the support of the national program is a huge relief as it will help cover competition expenses. It also means Noah gets to attend national training camps, the next one going later this year in New Zealand.
Morrison was “pretty beside myself” when he learned about his selection to the Canadian team, but he was equally excited to see another name on that list – Vernon’s TJ Schiller. The 26-year-old is pretty much a legend in the sport, and has been a huge role model for Morrison.
“I was pretty stoked to see TJ Schiller’s name on the list,” he said. “He’s been my inspiration for a while and now I’m on the same team as him.”
Morrison recorded stellar slopestyle results last season, highlighted by the overall US Revolution Tour title. He was also fifth at the U.S. Open, eighth at world championships and 13th at the U.S. Grand Prix.
While Canada’s slopestyle squad boasts a few 20-something elder statesmen like Schiller, the trend is heading towards a youth movement. Morrison is part of a teen invasion in the sport, with half the national members under the age of 20.
A total of 55 athletes in four freestyle disciplines – moguls, aerial, slopestyle and halfpipe – were named to the national team, which recorded its most successful season last year, claiming 42 FIS World Cup medals and 13 podiums at Association of Freeskiing Professionals.
The association’s goal is to build on that success in the lead up to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, where ski slopestyle will make its debut along with ski halfpipe.
“That definitely made me think about it in a different way,” said Morrison, of his sport’s inclusion at the Olympics.