(L-R) Alex Hall, Evan McEachran (Canada) and Henrik Harlaut (Sweden)celebrate on the podium in the men's ski slopestyle final at the 2018 Dew Tour on Dec. 15, 2018 in Breckenridge, Colorado.
It’s already been a special year for Olympian Alex Hall, who began 2019 by winning a slopestyle skiing world cup in early January, then went on to win X Games gold medals in both slopestyle and big air.
The gold medals — in slopestyle in January in Aspen Colorado, and big air in August in Norway — were his first at X Games and the highlights of his most successful season to date.
“Aspen was probably the biggest highlight of the year for me just because it’s always been a dream of mine to get a medal there,” said Hall, who is from Park City, Utah. “I know a lot of people who think X Games is right up there with the Olympics, so that was just a huge deal for me.”
Later in the year at X Games Norway, his runs took place in a unique venue: the Telenor Arena, which featured a through-the-roof drop-in for skiers in the big air event.
“I thought the jump was awesome,” Hall said. “Some people had mixed feelings on it, but I thought it was a really cool jump and the through-the-roof drop-in was pretty awesome, too. It was a little scary the first time — there was this beam on the in-run that was low. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to hit it, but it was definitely in the back of my head. Once I did it the first time, I didn’t even think about any of the beams.”
The results backed it up. Hall’s gold medal win was the first by an American man in X Games big air skiing since Bobby Brown won in 2012 in Aspen.
Whether that X Games Norway result counts as the end of the 2019 season or the beginning of the 2020 season, it was another line on the growing resume for the still up-and-coming star. In addition, the 2016 Youth Olympian nearly reached the world championships podium in big air, finishing fourth in the event at Canyons Village, not far from his hometown in Utah.
Not all of his favorite parts of 2019 have come in competition, though.
Prior to heading to Norway, Hall took on a different passion project: creating a ski film with a group of friends and colleagues.
“We talked about this for a long time, wanting to film a movie in the summer at Mount Hood,” Hall said of the iconic Oregon mountain. “We were just excited to try and do this video on our own. Not ‘cause we had to just purely ‘cause we wanted to.”
The feature-length film, titled “The Collective,” premiered Oct. 10. Hall says it’s geared towards the hardcore skier, but he hopes others share the excitement.
“We’re really proud of what we came up with,” he said. “Both competing and filming were huge parts of my season.”
The remaining time in his offseason has been full of travel: a surf trip to California, visiting his parents Marcus and Elena in Switzerland, traveling around New Zealand by van for two weeks, and a surf trip to Australia.
The latter coincided with his 21st birthday in September. Hall, who admits he’s “not the craziest birthday celebration person,” got to enjoy it with a friend in his preferred low-key fashion.
“We just surfed all day,” Hall said. “I remember when I found out I was going to be in Australia on a trip for my birthday, I was like, ‘I hope I just get to surf all day, that would be a perfect birthday.’ And that’s what we did. It was pretty much exactly what I had hoped for.”
Hall has been a rising star for the U.S. since the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016, where he finished second in slopestyle and fourth in halfpipe. He was still only 19 when he competed at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, placing 16th in slopestyle. The youngest member of the U.S. freeskiing team by several years, Hall said he picked up experience he can lean on in his preparation for the next Games.
Though Hall hasn’t set out specific goals for the coming season quite yet, he does have his eye on a bigger opportunity down the line.
The 2022 Winter Games in Beijing will feature the debut of big air skiing as an Olympic event. It won’t be Hall’s first competitive trip to Beijing — he’s been once before for a smaller ski competition when he was younger — but Hall is eager for the opportunity to try to win two Olympic medals.
“It should be pretty interesting, especially with big air, ‘cause I think they’re going to pick one team for both slopestyle and big air, which will make it even harder to make the team,” Hall said.
And even as the reigning X Games gold medalist in big air, he knows the global competition in big air will be fierce.
“There’s so many athletes who are really, really, really good at big air and I don’t even consider it one of my strengths since I don’t do it a ton,” Hall said. “Our sport is progressing so quickly right now that I don’t know what to expect in three years in terms of tricks. It’s going to be pretty insane.”