December 11, 2012

Aaron Blunck takes 3rd at TNF Park and Pipe Open Series at Copper


Photo: Trent Bona | Sunday was a cold and breezy day at Copper Mountain, Colorado, but that didn’t stop some of the top pros and amateurs in the world of superpipe skiing from duking it out in the finals of stop #1 on the North Face Park and Pipe Open Series. Local West Elk shredder Aaron Blunck made it into finals, where in a best of two run showdown, Blunck skied strong enough to secure the podium with a 3rd place finish.  At sixteen years old, Blunck was half the age of the oldest competitor in the comp. That didn’t stop him from throwing down a top notch run, beating the likes of Matt Margetts, Tanner Hall, and Gus Kenworthy.  Congrats to Mike Riddle and Maddie Bowman who took the men and womens’ podiums, respectively.
After the ceremony I had a few minutes to chat with Aaron about the comp, skiing, and what is next…
Today was a big day for you, would you say it was the biggest competition of your career thus far?

It wasn’t my biggest competition I have done but it is definitely up there. Some of the top names were competing, and it was crazy to be in the mix with all of those guys. 

How did you prepare for this next step? (ie taking on pros and being a part of a big name event like the North Face Park & Pipe series)

I kind of just trained as hard as I could this year, trying to make myself do the best I could do. Every day I did something. I also realized after my qualifier result in New Zealand that I am up there with these guys. They are no different than me.  We both go up and come down so if they can do it why can’t I.

I’m sure a lot of people want to know the difference between a day in the life of junior events and an event of this caliber. Was the vibe behind the scenes any different than that of the other competitions you have been a part of in the past? 

It wasn’t a whole lot different because I thought about it as if it were any other event. I thought of it as an event I wanted to win. I go into all of my events that way so it wasn’t very different. The only difference were the people I was around and the cameras that were in my face the whole time.

What was going through your head before you dropped in on your first run today? Was it any more intense for you than other finals runs?

I mainly was thinking about how badly I wanted it and how badly I wanted to prove myself among these bigger athletes. I wanted to stomp so badly. It wasn’t that much different from other finals.  I was just probably more stoked than anything to be with these bigger athletes.

Were any of your tricks in today’s 1st run new or still in the development stages? 

They were all tricks I have done now for a while now. I just wanted to lay down a solid run and then go for a harder run my second run.

I saw Tanner hall give you a pound today after your first finals run. What was it like having a guy of Tanner’s influence and skiing caliber give you props after you had just crushed an amazingly smooth and technical run?

It was super cool. It is always such a good feeling when someone you have looked up to for your whole life give you a pound and tell you how well you are skiing. It was such a good feeling having him pump me up!

As far as what comes next, how important was it for you to be on the podium here at Copper Mountain today?

Its big for me because it was a huge confidence builder and felt so good to be up there. I now have a ton of confidence going into my next events knowing that I can make it and do well just like all of those bigger guys!

What is next? And how are you preparing for it now?

Next is the Copper World Cup. I am just going to do the same thing I always do.  Just go ski and have fun!

Do you think this means there will be added pressure on you at the next event and all events this season? How does that feel?

I think there might be a little but as a rookie I am not expecting much other than wanting to make the finals. I see I have what it takes now and am so stoked to see what happens.

What are you the most excited about right now in your life?

Definitely my skiing. It has been so fun and im just lovin it right now! And oh yea the snow coming down right now! Feels good to see those white flakes again!

About the Author

3. Trent Bona
With the mountains, mountain culture and action sports as constant inspiration, Trent Bona has earned a respected name as a commercial and editorial photographer. An experienced international traveler, he knows more than a thing or two about roughing it abroad. His expertise is venturing far into the backcountry, of any continent, to capture adventure sports in one of their true habitats: the vastness of the unconquered outdoors.