It is never too late to pursue your dreams. Las Vegas native, Eric Kim is living proof of that as he competed in his first competition at age 31. Kim was determined to see how he would stack up against some of the best snowboarders in the world. That dream came true for him as he was able to compete in the 2021 Copper Tour snowboarding competition held at Bear Mountain Resort.
When thinking of the bright lights of Las Vegas, you don’t think of snowboarding as one of the top sports or hobbies. Las Vegas is known for its big and fancy hotels, flashy lights, yet rarely for snowboarding. The city of Las Vegas is also located in the middle of a desert, but there are still snowboarding resorts a close drive from the city. Kim took advantage of those nearby mountains to craft himself into one of the best in his sport.
The first adversity that Kim had to face to compete in his first high-level competition was to make it as a qualifier. It was pretty clear early into the qualifying rounds that Kim was going to have a score good enough to compete in the contest. A top-20 finish would be good enough in qualifiers for Kim to advance.
Kim opened up his qualifier with a cab 270 and then a cab 270 off of a rail. He then landed a massive trick with a triple rodeo to end his qualifier. This trick was certain to impress the judges and get Kim inside the top 20. A solid qualifying run had shown that Kim could compete at this level, and he made it into the competition without any real question from anyone. Kim had done it. He had shown everyone that he was good enough to be in these top-level competitions, and no matter what was to come next in the contest, he had made it while competing against the best. Just making it this far would be enough for some, but Kim was determined to have a strong showing in this competition.
The first run of the competition started out incredibly for Kim. He looked like he fit right in with the other professionals and was even landing some of the highest difficulty level of tricks to start things off. On one of the first jumps, Kim was able to connect on a huge 1600 Weddle grab that was sure to score him big points with the judges. As the run went on, Kim lost some speed and momentum heading into the final jump of the run and was unable to execute his last trick, unfortunately. It was still a solid run that scored well with the judges, but Kim could have scored major points if he hit that final jump.
Kim still had another run to impress the judges, however. After a successful first run until the last jump, Kim looked faster and had more urgency to start out. Coming into that final jump, Kim hit it at a greater velocity than he did on his first run and was able to land a massive four full rotation trick. This was the run that Kim Was hoping to have the first time, and it appeared to be one of the best runs so far on the day. The judges agreed, and after that second run he jumped up the rankings to sixth overall.
The competition was not over though, and many more runs were still to be logged for other riders. There was no lack of high-profile riders out here as Kim was competing with some top-tier boarders such as Mark McMorris and Torgeir Bergrem. Some of these riders were able to put together some really impressive runs that ultimately bumped Kim down to 12th place at the end of the day.
Kim had turned in a really great performance in his first competition. Las Vegas does not have many professional winter sports athletes, but Kim showed that he could compete with the best neck and neck. He is one of the first from Las Vegas to compete at this level in a professional winter sport. This is just the beginning for the Las Vegas native, Eric Kim, and the city is proud to have him represent the city in future competitions.