It has been a bittersweet couple of weeks for Eddie Hicks.
The 22-year-old from Langley is on an unprecedented wave of success, winning three medals, including a pair of golds, in his last four events.
And while every athlete loves to win, Hicks would prefer to do so at the World Cup level, and not the NorAm level, like he has been forced to.
“The results (at the World Cup level) have been alright, but our team is just so strong,” Hicks said on Monday. “So I had to ski (the NorAm) events and that was tough.”
Hicks, who is in his third season with the Canadian freestyle ski team, sat down with one of his coaches prior to the Calgary event and the coach laid it on the line: other skiers have gone through this before, and prospered.
“It is a personal choice how you deal with it,” Hicks said.
“You can get negative and let it affect you, nobody is immune to that.
“But I just looked at it as an opportunity.”
He has skied in three World Cup events this season, with one top 10 finish in his seven races.
Hicks used the mindset that he was going to show he didn’t belong at the NorAm level.
“I used it as motivation for myself to ski better.”
At Canada Olympic Park in Calgary for the Canada Post NorAm Freestyle Frenzy earlier this month, he overcame some struggles with the middle section of the course during training to win gold in the men’s moguls race.
“I just wanted to relax, ski my own run and let my skiing speak for itself,” he said.
Hicks scored a 24.97 to win gold.
He also qualified first in the dual moguls, but dropped to ninth place in the final standings of that event.
“Adding those difficult jumps to speed made me a little sloppy,” he explained.
And then last week, Hicks was competing at another NorAm event, this time in Park City, Utah, where he captured a gold and silver medal.
Hicks had qualified first in the moguls, but lost out for the gold medal, to his teammate, Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh. Hicks scored 25.98, while the winning score was 26.11.
“I had a really good qualification run, but unfortunately I made some small mistakes and gave away my bottom air on my run in the finals,” he explained. “I know I’m capable of better so I’ve got room to improve.”
He made up for his missed opportunity on the competition’s second day, winning with a score of 25.92.
The 0.92 margin of victory was especially impressive considering second to ninth place were separated by 0.94.
He now has three NorAm gold medals and four silvers on his resume.
Three medals in his previous two competitions leave Hicks full of confidence, especially considering he felt there were areas of improvement for him.
“It is a confidence builder when you can get on the podium even though you have things to fix,” he said. “(But) I think I made it pretty clear that I belong with the best in the world.”
“I am skiing much faster but maintaining that quality, and that is a big separator in our sport,” he added.
“I am coming out, qualifying first and giving myself a very good chance to win every day,” Hicks added.
With just a few events left in the NorAm series, Hicks has a hefty lead in the overall standings.
“A NorAm title would look good on my resume,” he said. Hicks placed third overall last season.
The World Cup season ends next month and that will be followed by the national championships.