Jordan finished third in this years One Hit Wonder, an impressive result, the skiing this year was world class Image:: Reggae Elliss
Interview | Reggae Elliss
Even though work commitments meant he was based in Sydney this season, Jindabyne's Jordan Houghton had a great winter, not only scoring the great snow that seemed to be on offer every weekend, but also enjoying his best competition results to date. He not only won the Playstation Night-time Slopestyle series in Perisher and the big air event at Thredbo, but he also finished third in the Toyota One Hit Wonder behind Russ Henshaw and Jossi Wells. This result on a world class jump against a field that included some big international names will give Jordan a lot of confidence as he follows the world cup circuit in an attempt to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The Aussie All Stars, Russ and Jordan Image:: Reggae Elliss
Well Jordan, you've just had a pretty good weekend - third in the Toyota One Hit Wonder event and then winning the Perisher slopestyle final event and the series.
Yeah it's been unreal, having the competitions back to back was a bit worrying, but it seemed to work out for me.
With the One Hit Wonder, there was a lot of attention focused on the internationals and the fact is was an AFP Gold event - you must have been stoked with your result?
Absolutely, I went into the event with the mindset of making the finals and not expecting much more. There were some big names competing, so it was nice to go well against them.
Your double corked 12 was pretty well flawless - the jump looked perfect.
Thanks, I've been playing with a few different grabs for that trick, glad it worked out. In my opinion the jump was the best it's been in the events' four-year history. It was big, 99ft take off to knuckle, however it matched up so well, it barely felt like you left the ground.
Jordan took away top spot in Perisher's Night-time Slopestyle this year Image:: Courtesy of Perisher
What about Russ' triple 14? It must be inspiring to have someone you grew up with reaching the pinnacle of the sport and being one of the leaders of its progression.
It was insane. I know he has done them before, but to bring it back home to Australia and execute it was pretty cool. Russ works the hardest of any skier I know, it's awesome to see him at the top of the sport and manage to still stay grounded. No one deserves it more.
So, how do you rate the OHW jump and the actual event? Is it important to have that level in Australia?
I think it's the best competition to happen to Australian freeskiing, period. The OHW brings all the contributing factors together to make for a great event. Big perfect jumps, well looked after athletes and crew, appealing to international riders and massive media coverage. Tim Myers should be pretty proud of what he has created. I've been lucky enough to of been able to compete every year since its birth in 2009.
Now, you compete in the local grass-roots events, the Thredbo freeride Series and the Perisher slopestyle series - what sort of role has that level of competition had with your own skiing's development?
In the beginning it was a good chance to gain more competition experience and learn that side of the sport. These days it probably doesn't do a whole lot for my development as a skier, but with that being said the courses are ever evolving with the times of the sport, so occasionally you get the chance to practice your bigger tricks and put them to use in a competitive environment.
I know you want to compete on the World Cup slopestyle circuit in an attempt to qualify for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. What criteria is involved?
In short, basically a continuing result within the top 30 at any given F.I.S world cup will ensure a strong standing into the selection criteria.
1st place made the drive from Sydney worthwhile! Image:: Courtesy of Perisher
There's a lot of cost involved in competing at that level with all of the travel etc, will you have any support from Ski and Snowboard Australia - financial, coaching etc?
Yeah it can get quite expensive, at the moment though seeing as it's the first Olympics for skiing slopestyle, it requires athletes to be self funded until solid results are posted similar to what happened with skier X. If and when these results are obtained, ski and snowboard Australia will be looking at different financial funding initiatives and will start looking at putting a team in place.
It looks like Australia could have more athletes in the newer sports like slopestyle skiing and snowboard and the halfpipe than the traditional alpine events. Do you see that as a reflection of what's happening in resorts around Australia?
Definitely, as we all know coming from Australia we don't exactly have the most ideal terrain for Alpine events. Athletes who want to pursue an alpine career end up having to spend more time overseas in order to utilise the proper training grounds. Our sport can be done in Australia; our parks are getting better every year. Perhaps resorts can see that providing quality terrain parks/halfpipes will eventually lead to representation on a world stage (Russ and Anna) for example. Being able to train at home is a huge bonus for Australian freeskiers.
It's interesting that SSA doesn't yet have a national slopestyle championships and it's not in a big event like the Interschools - do you think that will change?
Maybe after the 2014 games we could see a national competition rolled out, have to speak with Ramone Cooper (SSA) on that one. It would be nice to see slopestyle in the Interschools, it would give little kids the choice of almost every discipline in skiing to choose from. There are some variables that would have to be looked at though such as age categories and the size of the park required. Maybe that's why it hasn't been introduced. You would possibly need three courses to cater for the different age groups.
I suppose the fact that Russ Henshaw and Anna Segal are two of the best in the world will have a growing impact as well. Over the past few years they have been won or been on the podium at the biggest freeski events in the world and will both go into the Olympics as favourites to win a medal. No doubt you plan to be in the mix as well - what do you think an Olympic medal would do for the sport in Australia?
I think it would change a few peoples perspective on Australian skiing. Some people in Australia skiing don't have the slightest clue on what we do. Seeing Russ, Anna or another Aussie podium would attract some more attention to the sport I believe. Perhaps even get companies to see supporting athletes on an Olympic path a worthwhile investment. I can see a positive outcome from 2014 though, regardless if an Aussie podiums or not.
Progressive style like this is a winning formula Image:: Andrew Fawcett
What are your plans and schedule for the northern hemisphere winter?
I plan to be at a few World Cup events in Europe and the states. That's my main goal. Otherwise will be most likely basing myself in Mammoth, Tahoe or maybe Whistler and competing as much as I can.
Thanks Jordan, and all the best in chasing down your goals.
Thanks Reggae, see you on the hill.