There’s nothing wrong with a little bump and flight
He’s only 24, but Toby Dawson says he feels like an old man. Old compared to the rest of the U.S. Freestyle Mogul World Cup team that is.
After six years on the World Cup team,the Vail local says, for him, the hardest thing about the freestyle skiing is to stay motivated.
“I’ve become one of the old guys,” said Dawson.
However, Dawson has a lot of goals to keep him inspired. He placed fourth in Worlds last year, so he’d like to improve on that. But, his greatest current goal is to qualify for the upcoming Olympics.
Dawson is one of the lucky ones, who’ve had the opportunity to take advantage of the monstrous amount of early-season snow at Wolf Creek. He’s been training there, and plans to head to Europe right after Thanksgiving.
“I’ve been pounding in top-to-bottom runs, working on basic, competitive style since I got here,” said Dawson. “I’m working on mental control and strength, so I can stay tight and clean.”
Dawson’s main focus during his preseason training – though there isn’t really any preseason for Dawson because he trains year-round – is the first World Cup event, which is scheduled for December 6, in Ruka, Finland.
“Toby is one of a handful of guys who has the ability to help the sport progress,” said Dawson’s head ski technician and close friend, Danno Bruno. “He can help the sport not only as a mogul skier, but also with new school tricks.”
And, word of Dawson’s prowess has been spreading. He recently spent some time with ESPN for the show “A Day in the Life,” which may air on ESPN or NBC depending on which station picks up coverage of the World Cup Freestyle Mogul event in Deer Valley, Utah.
“It was pretty fun. They followed me as I cruised around Vail,” said Dawson. “I jumped on the Ski Club Vail trampolines for a while, walked around Vail and they interviewed me for a while.”
Dawson has been known to pull his fair share of unbelievable tricks. His signature trick is a Cork-720 – which involves tilting the axis of the skis during 720 degrees worth of revolutions so that the skis are pointing more perpendicular and the body runs more parallel to the ground.
Dawson spent time at a camp in Chile this year working on a variation of the trick that incorporates a tailgrab.
“It’s (freestyle moguls) probably one of the most exciting events ever to watch,” said Dawson. “There’s so much going on and a lot of new tricks.”
By mastering his fears, Dawson has developed his tricks well enough to be able to compete in a freeride event or two each year.
“Toby’s also one of a few guys capable of jumping off the World Cup circuit and into the freeride circuit and still be a player,” said Bruno. “His knowledge of new school tricks is solid.”
Dawson enjoys the freeride scene, but is not willing to let it interfere with his goals.
“The freeride scene doesn’t appeal to me much because it could stop me from going to the Olympics. Sticking with the moguls is my best chance,” said Dawson. “My goal for this season is to move up the (World Cup) ladder to prepare for the upcoming Olympics.”
So, as this potential Olympic athlete, who grew up among us in Eagle County at Red Sandstone Elementary school, Minturn Middle School and Battle Mountain High School, heads into another World Cup season, those of us who don’t yet recognize his face should consider taking a closer look at it.
Toby Dawson is a world-class athlete, who deserves to be held in the highest regard by his hometown.
Andrew Harley can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 610 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.