In the halfpipe and slopestyle course, skiers can move pretty fast.
It’s something Silverthorne, Colorado resident Steel Spence knows better than most.
He competed as a pro for eight years, has spent the last few years judging it, and has literally written the book on how to judge halfpipe and slopestyle skiing at the Sochi 2014 Olympics.
“Focused on slope and competed in that for five consecutive years, and after that moved my way into judging,” said Spence.
Now he’s been named as a judge in the biggest sporting event around, focused on ski halfpipe and slopestyle at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“I’m excited to be judging the big show for the first time,” Spence said. “I will be one of five scoring judges in Phoenix Park in Korea for the pipe and slope events.”
He’s already a busy guy, not just with Olympic responsibilities, but also with young twins.
Spence also runs an ice delivery business, and just recently got his mortgage license - fitting for a guy who works with numbers.
At the Olympics, his focus will be on the athletes who flip through the air doing a series of tricks in seconds. Judges can’t use replay or slow motion, so they have to get it right the first time.
“I’m going to block mentally out how big the Olympics are and just focus on judging it like I judge everything else,” Spence said.
That includes scribbling down notes then tallying the scores looking for technical tricks and moves that move even veteran judges.
“We all love the sport and get really excited to see new stuff,” Spence said. “We get fairly hyped up in here when we see something new.”
At the 2018 Olympics, all that excitement will have Steel racing to keep up with the best skiers in the world.
“I’ve judged for live TV and Dew Tour things like that, but it doesn’t compare to the exposure and excitement to the Olympics,” Spence said.