Bronze ‘curse’ no barrier to award

A switch alley oop double misty 1080?

Maybe a double cork 1620?

Or even a switch double 10?

You name it and Nico Porteous has done it.

But even the 18-year-old Wanaka freeskier himself has trouble explaining exactly what those tricks involve.

Freeskier Nico Porteous takes a walk on the hills surrounding Macandrew Bay during lockdown....
Freeskier Nico Porteous takes a walk on the hills surrounding Macandrew Bay during lockdown. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Fair to say they include a large portion of athleticism and courage and even more flips and twists.

And there is nothing quite like the feeling of getting to the bottom of a halfpipe having nailed a trick or three.

Porteous is simply one of the best in the business and he had another tremendous 12 months.

It has culminated with teenager being named the PKF Junior Sportsman of the Year at the ASB Otago Sports Awards.

The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics bronze medallist got the nod ahead of New Zealand under-19 cricket all-rounder Beckham Wheeler-Greenall and cross-country skier Campbell Wright.

"It feels awesome," Porteous said.

"[I’m] coming off a real good season. Obviously it was short but sweet. And it is pretty nice to be rewarded with the award."

The Covid-19 pandemic brought a hasty end to the season for Porteous but not before he was able to add to his collection of bronze medals.

He claimed third in the superpipe at the Dew Tour in the United States in February.

It is one of the pinnacle events of the freeskiing calendar and it took his haul of bronze medals to three.

He also placed third in the superpipe at the X-Games in Aspen in January last year. That was outside the qualification period but worth noting, as he became the first person to land a double cork 1620 in competition.

"It feels pretty free [at the top of the pipe]. You feel like you can do as much as your mind can think of and handle.

"But it does get scary, it does get terrifying, to say the least. But we have ways of dealing with those feelings.

"And the feeling you get when you do achieve those [tricks] is absolutely unreal."

Breaking the bronze medal "curse" is top of the agenda for next season.

"I’d really like to break this curse of third places. [I’ll] put in a little bit more hard work and see what happens this next season."

Porteous is normally based in Wanaka with his family. But their home was being renovated and that work came to a sudden halt during the nationwide lockdown.

The family decided to rent a home at Macandrew Bay, in Dunedin, and have been based in the city for the past seven weeks.

Porteous has set up a home gym. But he was pretty thrilled when the country dropped from Covid-19 Alert Level 4 to 3 because it meant he could go surfing, so he has been carving up the waves rather than the slopes.

But he is itching to get back up the mountain.

"I can’t wait. I haven’t been skiing for three months so I’m absolutely champing at the bit to get back on snow."

PKF partner Jono Bredin said it was great to be involved in the junior category.

"As a locally owned accounting firm with a huge connection to sport, we are proud to sponsor the PKF Junior Sportsman of the year award. The finalists represent the absolute best talent our region has to offer, and we are excited to watch as their amazing careers continue to evolve."

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