In any other country, Eddie Hicks would already be a member of the World Cup mogul team. He has back-to-back North American Cup crowns, and has made the most of a limited number of World Cup starts — two top fives and a 13th place result in the last three events last season.
But Hicks is also a member of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team and that means sharing a roster with the current Olympic champion, World Cup rookie of the year Mikael Kingsbury and five other athletes that have either earned World Cup podiums of their own or are close to it.
Luckily for Hicks — a Langley resident who grew up skiing for the freestyle club in Whistler and lists Whistler as his home — a spot just opened up. It was recently announced that Olympic champion Alex Bilodeau would stay at home for most of the 2011-2012 competitive season to train and improve his skills, leaving an open spot on the World Cup team. For Hicks, it's the opportunity he's been waiting for.
"Alex's decision will impact not just myself, but everyone on the tour," he said. "Despite being fourth at the last World Cup of the season in 2011, my spot at the first event in the 2012 season was in question up until recently and Alex's decision definitely played a part in that. What it really does for our team is give all the 'B' guys a little breathing room as we currently have eight World Cup skiers and a maximum of seven World Cup spots.
"It also impacts because Alex is a guy who can challenge for the podium every day, and I think his absence creates a lot more room for others to challenge for the podium."
Hicks has exceeded all of his personal goals the last two seasons. Rather than gun for wins on the North American Cup tour, Hicks was gunning for points — he wanted to earn a spot on the tour, but more importantly to post the kind of scores you need to win at the highest level. He made the best of the opportunity, and when he joined the World Cup team later in the season he showed he could compete with the top skiers in the world. When he finished fourth at Norway, it was behind Guibault Colas of France, and Canada's Mikael Kingsbury and Alex Bilodeau.
"After exceeding my goals last season, I'm simply going to raise the bar to a new level, set new goals and try to exceed them again," he said.
"This season I'm looking to hop on the podium a couple times and finish at least within the top eight on the Grand Prix."