Weeks before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have begun and Lyman Currier already knows that win or lose, he still is going to make history. At the young age of 19, Currier will be competing in the first-ever freeski halfpipe event to enter the Olympic Games. Lyman hopes to bring home the gold.
Long before the days of Olympic medal dreaming, however, Lyman was just a feisty young kid following his dad, David Currier who competed in the 1972 Winter Olympics, around the mountain. With close family ties to the sport it was no wonder that Lyman grew up to be the skier that he is today. But Lyman had another edge, which was growing up in Boulder, CO.
“Growing up in Boulder was fucking awesome. So close to the mountains. It definitely helped having a dad who was an Olympic downhill skier, he got me on skis pretty early. But I wouldn’t be a skier if I didn’t grow up in Boulder, absolutely.” With a dad who was an Olympian you might expect that Lyman felt pressure to pursue the sport professionally but that was never the case.
“It was always just for fun when I was growing up, I never competed until I was thirteen.” But when Lyman entered his first competition something changed. “I started skiing at Winter Park a lot and began getting good at the terrain park, so I decided to enter a competition. I ended up winning. I decided that this was what I wanted to do and hopefully one day I could make a profession out of
In a perfect world Lyman’s dreams of professional skiing might have been smooth sailing, but there were some bumps along the road. As he got older he realized that making it big in the sport was just as hard as they say.
“I was questioning whether I wanted to be a skier or not because I was struggling with trying to break through, which was definitely super hard.” But then things began to change; slowly he began to gain some attention.
“I was getting big on the scene. It was the year when I was kind of blowing up, when I was starting to do well in qualifiers and getting top tens in finals.” Just when it seemed that the tides had finally turned in Lyman’s favor, his lucked changed again on the slopes.
“I tore my ACL, NCL, and meniscus. I had to have ACL reconstructive surgery, meniscal reconstructive surgery and the six month recovery put a damper on things.”
With doubts still in his mind about whether being a professional skier was really in the cards, the half-year he spent off his skis may have been a blessing in disguise.
“When I came back onto skis I just fell back in love with it. I realized that I was doing this for fun and whatever happened, happened and I just pursued my dreams from there. I knew if I worked hard and I was persistent I could come back, and come back even stronger.”
Lyman stayed true to his word and began placing in big competitions, taking first place in half pipe at 2013 North Face Park & Pipe Open Series in Northstar and 8th out of 3,000 competitors in the US Grand Prix in Copper.
In 2014, he has already made big waves getting 5th place at the U.S. Grand Prix, in Breckenridge, CO. Then, by far the highlight, getting the top spot at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City, Utah.
Because of his love for the sport, Lyman has lived a very different life than most of his friends. He took high school classes online and has put the college life of partying on hold. But he doesn’t let it bother him too much.
“When I was first trying to break through and I wasn’t big on the skiing scene yet it was hard to miss out on birthday parties and my friends going out and what-not. But I’m super glad I could pull myself away and kind of focus on what needed to be done. And now I’m going to the Olympics and I can come back and party harder than those mother fuckers.”
And it’s not like Lyman doesn’t have friends on the road. Two of the other guys on the team, Aaron Blunk and Torin Yater-Wallace, have been competing with Lyman from the start.
“We’re the three young-guns on the team and it’s really cool to be on the team with kids I’ve grown up with. They are all super awesome. I’m just stoked…it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
It’s no doubt that Lyman plans to have a good time while in Russia, when asked what's on his bucket list for Russia, he answers with complete honesty.
“The US charters a flight for us from Munich to Sochi so hopefully find a nice looking girl on the US team that I can join the mile high club with.” Lyman laughs. “That’s definitely one of the goals.” But on a more serious note Lyman goes on to say he hopes to just have a good time, enjoy every second. “And bring back some hardware!”
When it comes to the Olympics, confidence is key and Lyman has plenty of it. When asked if his shaky performance at the X-Games shook him, he brushes it right off.
“No I’m stoked! I podium-ed at three of the five Olympic qualifiers and that alone was a really big confidence booster. I’m really stoked to be going with that under my belt.”
Lyman has learned that confidence from a pioneer in the sport, Simon Dumont, who Lyman says he got close to this last year. Lyman says Dumont has been one of his bigger influences in skiing and that he is one of the people he looks up to most. Earlier this year Dumont tore his ACL in an Olympic qualifying round, ending his road to the Olympics.
“I was super sad to see him go,” says Lyman, “but he killed it and brought our sport to where it is today.”
Lyman will have his dreams become a reality on February 18th, when the men’s ski halfpipe is scheduled. His words of advice to anyone hoping to succeed in a similar situation are to just follow your dreams.
“You never know what’s going to happen or when you’ll blow up. I took a chance leaving school, and I kept at it and kept at it, after years of not doing well and thinking about quitting. But this year I put my nose to the grindstone and came out on top at a few competitions and now I’m going to Sochi!”
With the moment that Lyman has been waiting for throughout the rocky road to success only days away, Lyman is ready.
“It’s the time to huck your meat and go one hundred and ten percent. Put it all out on the table.”