Nico Porteous became a household name when he and teammate Zoi Sadowski Synnott claimed bronze medals at PyeongChang 2018, winning New Zealand’s first Winter Olympic medals in 26-years.
Almost four years later, and with a world title under his belt, the freeski halfpipe athlete is focussing on the process, not the outcome, as he prepares for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
“I feel great about Beijing. I don't really have my sights set on a certain result or anything. I'm just going to go there and do what I can do and ski my best. That's all I can do and that’s what I’ll focus on,” says Porteous.
“Obviously, following the medal at the last Olympics, some people could potentially expect another result, but in my eyes, I'm just heading there to ski as well as I can and whatever happens, happens.”
It’s a remarkably mature attitude from the 20-year-old, who says his main priority is to enjoy his skiing and the experience of the Winter Olympic Games.
“The reason I ski is because I love it. It's not for the results and it's not for the outcome, it's for the process and being up the mountain every day and just having a good time and being creative.”
While he’s downplaying expectations the Wānaka athlete heads into the Games as one to watch following a string of amazing results.
2021 was an incredible season for Porteous who began the year by winning gold at the prestigious Aspen X Games. It was the first time a New Zealander had ever won gold in the competition.
Six weeks later he was crowned Freeski Halfpipe World Champion in Aspen, landing a world first trick combination (back-to-back 1620s) in the process.
Porteous says the key to his success is hard work and perseverance.
“I think just a lot of practice, to be honest, and just a lot of time up the mountain skiing. People say you come down and it looks so effortless and so easy but there’s a lot of work that goes into making it look that way.
“A week of training for me would probably be five days up the mountain, three sessions in the gym and then potentially some time on the trampoline.”
Despite the success Porteous admits he does feel the nerves as he risks serious injury by hurling himself high into the air above the halfpipe.
“A lot of the time I do get scared, but it's all about overcoming those fears and moving forward because the feeling you get after that, the adrenaline release is crazy. That's part of the reason I do it, overcoming the roadblocks and challenges is all part of the process.”
Porteous has just spent a full winter training at home in Wānaka and is now in Europe for the World Cup circuit as he builds up to Beijing.
“To represent New Zealand, your family and fans, and to wear the fern on my chest is an absolute honour, it's incredible.”
Nico will compete in the Winter Olympic Freeski Halfpipe competition beginning on February 17th.