Cooper Woods is a record breaker on a pair of skis.
He hasn’t spent Christmas at home in six years, but all his Christmases came at once last week, becoming the first Australian male to win gold at a US Freestyle Selections event.
Proud mum Katrina Woods said Cooper, 18, was “pretty grounded” and had been “taking it all in his stride”, but family and friends were thrilled by his record-setting effort on the moguls.
“He was pretty excited about the win,” Ms Woods said. “But he just takes it in his stride and moves to the next event, he’s just happy to tick that off his list of goals.
“We were truly amazed at how well he did.”
After qualifying eighth, Cooper was able to better his times to claim top spot on day one at Colorado’s Winter Park last week, then backed up to prove it was no fluke with a second place finish on day two.
Ms Woods said Cooper would now just focus on his next event, a World Cup round in Calgary on January 8.
But the win is an outstanding result for the Pambula Beach teen who has aspirations to be part of Australia’s ski team for the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.
He fell just outside qualifying for the team last year, but there is still plenty of time as he was the youngest competitor on the World Cup tour at just 17.
The tour included stops in China and Finland as well as Canada and the US.
“He was hopeful of making the Olympic team last year, he was just sitting in that outside spot,” Ms Wood said.
“But he’s got a couple of years now to prepare for 2022 and that’s what he wants to do.
“He definitely realises the opportunity he’s got and he has never taken it for granted.”
She said the family were incredibly proud of him and were just doing what they could to support his passion for the slopes.
Oddly enough, a nine-month break from competition might have provided the catalyst, returning home in 2018 to study and take on his HSC at Lumen Christi Catholic College.
“He did really well and now he wants to do a uni degree, how he will balance everything … I have no idea,” Ms Woods said with a laugh.
Ms Woods said it was great to have her son home for a bit longer than usual, while Cooper relished the chance to hit the beach and hang out with his brothers.
Since finishing his Year 12 studies, Cooper has been back on the moguls as part of the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) team training in Canada and the US.
The team heads to Calgary in Canada this week for the next stop on the World Cup circuit.
Ms Woods said Cooper and the family were extremely grateful for the ongoing support of the community, while Cooper particularly thanked Simon from the Merimbula surf shop who had provided financial sponsorship to help with his gear.