Powder

SPOT YOUR LANDING

The life, many near deaths, and rehabilitation of Alex Schlopy

ALEX SCHLOPY STOOD ON A CLIFF. The edge was not an unfamiliar place for the professional skier. But this was different. He didn’t have skis on. Schlopy, then 24, was above a popular surf spot in Encinitas, California, where he was visiting with his family for his sister’s graduation from cosmetology school. It was well past midnight, and he was drunk and on his prescribed Xanax medication. Eighty feet below him, he heard waves crash, but couldn’t see the hard, sandy beach. He called a friend and told him he was going to jump to see if he should be alive. They were both sobbing.

It had been a rough year for the slopestyle skier. He’d narrowly missed the Olympics, he’d broken up with his girlfriend, and he’d lost all of his sponsors after burning out from competitions. He suffered from depression and panic attacks, and he no longer wanted to live. He looked over the edge one more time. Then he jumped.

This isn’t the Schlopy most skiers know. The Park City native, now 26, became a pro skier at 14. In 2011, at the age of 18 he won gold in X Games Big Air, gold in slopestyle at the FIS World Championships, and gold in slopestyle at Dew Tour. He filmed segments with TGR and MSP. Schlopy was always the center of attention—“the showman,” as one coach called him—and partying hard. He was young and successful, but also often anxious and not himself. Then things took a dramatic turn. In 2014, a month before the Sochi Olympics, he found

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