Former Juneau resident Calvin Mitchell will be representing the United States in the Skier X event at this year's ESPN Winter X Games VI in Aspen, Colo.
Competition will begin Friday and continue through the weekend depending on Mitchell's results in the preliminary and final rounds.
Mitchell, 30, attended Juneau-Douglas High School briefly, but mostly attended various ski academies during his school years. He was a member of the Juneau Ski Club for several years and won the Junior Olympics in 1985 in the giant slalom.
"I competed on that level through high school then I got burnt out on it," Mitchell said from his home in Squaw Valley, Calif. "The school didn't do a lot for ski racers back then like they do now."
After high school, Mitchell traveled the country participating in various extreme skiing events including the U.S. Extreme Skiing Championships in Crested Butte, Colo., as well as the World Extreme Ski Championships in Valdez.
But it hasn't been until recently when Mitchell switch disciplines to the Skier X events.
"Skiing has been more of a part-time thing," said Mitchell, who works full-time as a carpenter in the off-season. "I'm trying to make it more full-time with help from sponsors."
Mitchell is currently sponsored by Dynastar skies, Lange boots, Look bindings and Scott poles and accessories. "The sponsor stuff helps a lot," Mitchell said. "It keeps you up to date with new technology."
The Skier X is a rather new event where six racers make their way done an obstacle-ridden course. Basically, it's a free-for-all, anything goes race with the object being just to be the first person to cross the finish line.
Mitchell is one of just 10 Americans who qualified for the 32-person field. He automatically qualified when he won the Spring Jam Skier X, one of the Skier X circuit races, in Squaw Valley earlier this year.
Mitchell is optimistic about his chances in the Skier X and if he places in the top half on Friday, he will qualify for Saturday's UltraCross where skiers and snowboarders are combined in a relay race.
"I think I have as good a chance as anyone," Mitchell said. "I know I'm not the fastest, but I'm fast enough. Anybody can win. I don't want to make a bold statement and say I'm going to win, but my goal is to medal."
ESPN2 will televise Mitchell in the Skier X from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. AST and the UltraCross will be televised on ABC's Wide World of Sports on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. AST on Sunday.
Jeff Kasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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