The question wasn’t if Nate Smith would tie or break the slalom world record, but when. Smith ran 41 off 20 times before finally tying Chris Parrish’s slalom world record of 2 at 43 off this past weekend at the Little Mountain Spring Pro Am record tournament, located just outside Charlotte, North Carolina, in a town called Maiden. Here’s what Smith had to say about his ride around 2 ball at 43 off:
How did it feel to finally get around 2 ball?
I was really excited. I’ve been trying to get there for two to three years now. That was the 21st time that I’ve been into 43 off in a tournament, and it was my first time getting around 2 ball at all.
It was a four-round tournament. Did you feel it coming?
Yeah, you know, I ran 41 off three out of the four rounds, and in the second round on Saturday, I even went just inside 2 ball. Then, on Sunday, I did 1/2 at 43 off. In the final round, it finally all came together.
Do you think it’s possible to run 43 off?
I don’t know; it’s pretty hard. As far as running the pass, I think that’s a long way down the road. But all the guys from 30 years ago were saying that about 39 off, that it wasn’t possible. And look where we are today. I guess anything’s possible, but at least for where we are today, I don’t think anyone’s going to run the pass. I think 3 ball, though, is possible!
Have you been to 3 ball in practice?
Yes, I’ve been to 3 ball in practice.
What are your personal goals for this year?
Coming into the season, I had two goals: to be on the podium at every tournament, in the top three, and then to tie or break the world record. Now that I’ve tied a world record, I need to move on to trying to break the world record.
Is there any specific way that you try to practice/ prepare yourself for 43 off?
I typically just keep everything the same. I don’t normally practice 43 a whole lot, but this past month I’ve been trying the pass more in practice. Obviously, a little bit of that focus paid off.
Personally, what do you think is your advantage that you have over your competitors?
Everyone says that I’m light on the line, but in the last month and a half I’ve actually bent three handles. I don’t know if it just looks that way or I’m actually light on the handle. I think that being lean probably has a lot to do with it.
Check out this video of Nate Smith’s First Look at 3 Ball.
Just for Fun:
No, not really. I just kind of go out and ski.
What’s one of your first memories of being on skis?
When I was 2 years old and we lived on a private ski lake, my dad was holding me in his arms and I would just ride on a ski with him.
Favorite song right now?
Oh, jeez. I have no idea. There’s just so much different stuff, cause I travel so much and all of it gets old. Anything new. I’m not a country person, so anything but country.
Who did you look up to as a skier growing up?
One guy that I grew up next to, his name was Cale Burdick. I got to watch him ski, and he really inspired me.
Nate Smith tied his co-world record (2 at 43 off) for the 3rd time this season at Shortline Lake in Elk Grove, California.