The Mammoth Grand Prix begins Wednesday January 29 and finishes up on Saturday February 1. Skiers and snowboarders from all over will be competing in the event, looking to get some freestyle points and climb up the national rider list.
One professional skier, Cody LaPlante, is getting his skier legs backs after a year off, “Last year, I was injured (ACL) so I didn’t ski for 11 months. I decided to do two years of school and graduate.”
LaPlante grew up in Reno and would frequent Lake Tahoe to ski mountains like Boreal or Squaw. The Sheet asked LaPlante what he thought of our mountain, “Mammoth is one of my favorite resorts. I grew up skiing park so I was in a lot of competitions at Mammoth.”
Just two weeks ago, the seventeen-year-old earned his first ever World Cup podium with a third-place finish at the FIS World Cup slopestyle in Font Romeu, France.
“It was my first slopestyle back since injury and I just wanted to land a run that I knew I could do. I was stoked,” said LaPlante, reminiscing on the bronze.
While an accomplished skier, Laplante did tell the Sheet something surprising when he said, “I hate the cold.”
Still, LaPlante has been skiing since he was two when his dad would harness him up and send him down lines not meant for a two-year-old. He started competing in smaller competitions when he was seven and regional competitions at the age of nine. In his first national event, at Copper Mountain in Colorado, LaPlante went in expecting nothing and then won the slopestyle and got second in the halfpipe for his age group. On his thirteenth birthday, Laplante got sponsored by Redbull.
He was a park-rat when he was young so the natural question to ask was what he thought of big mountain freeskiing, “I grew up skiing squaw so I did a lot of backcountry. When I go to Mammoth I like to ski the cliffs and what not. But right now I am so focused on being a park skiier. As I get older, I do find more of an interest in it.”
LaPlante was grounded, humble, and extremely eloquent, so the Sheet asked what it was like to balance competitive skiing with his natural love for the sport, “I think the way I have been looking at it is me competing is the reason I get to ski year round. It does suck when you have to ski three weeks straight in bad conditions. But right now I just love it because I get to ski.”
On the creative aspect of skiing LaPlante said, “At this point in freestyle skiing, most riders can do every trick. But no one can do it how you do it.” LaPlante then talked about which riders he looks up to, “I get inspiration from other skiers for sure.. But I don’t ski like any skiier, I ski like me.”
His brother, Logan, used to film Cody and create edits for him but when asked about this LaPlante responded, “It’s funny you ask that because we obviously used to film together a lot more. But travelling for skiing is really expensive and bringing a guy to film you is nearly impossible. We’ve been working with Moment Skis (LaPlante’s sponsor who created skis for him as a kid) to get him as a moment filmer,” then LaPlante said, “We will be in Mammoth shooting three days before the competition.”
LaPlante noted that his brother needs to learn how to film while going off bigger jumps but he looks forward to working with him again. So over the weekend there is a chance of seeing Cody and his brother Logan filming like they used to when they were younger.
As the conversation was wrapping up, the Sheet asked what the future looks like for the young skier, and LaPlante responded, “Eventually I want to spend more time in one place skiing, you know, being in Jackson Hole, enjoying the feeling of waking up and, weather permitting, deciding if you want to ski,” he continued, “But I look forward to all of it, the successes and failures.”
LaPlante, after a year off, does not have many freestyle points which ranks riders and qualifies them for events. He is looking to continue his good form after his first world cup podium placing. Laplante will be competing in the skiing slopestyle at the Grand Prix which starts with qualifiers on Wednesday January 29 and ends with the finals scheduled for Friday January 31.