Snowboard Town, USA part 2: Dierdorff has time on his side in second Olympic appearance
Time has long been the subject of lament for humans of all athletic abilities. The construct must be controlled, managed and fought.
If there is one person who has time on their side, it’s Mick Dierdorff, who’s headed to Beijing for his second Olympics.
He finished fifth in 2018 at Pyeongchang and has had excellent results since then, but he hasn’t always been on top.
Dierdorff, 30, has been snowboarding for a long time. He won his first Nor-Am event at 17 in 2009, catapulting him to the World Cup level ahead of the 2010 Olympics.
He was clearly talented, but he didn’t make the team that year. He spent the next few years at the Nor-Am level, trying to prove he was worth investing in and sending to World Cups. He won another event in 2013, which helped him start traveling to World Cups abroad in 2014. He was still too green for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, though he had some good results that season.
After another four years of hard work at the World Cup level, Dierdorff made his first Olympic team in 2018. His performance was incredible at Pyeongchang with him taking fifth.
Since then, Dierdorff has tapped into a new level of awesome and dominated the sport. In 2019, he won the individual snowboard cross title at the FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships. He also paired up with Lindsey Jacobellis to win the mixed-team title.
“Those (two years) were when I finally realized all the potential that I have,” Dierdorff said. “The amount of years that it took just grinding and giving it everything I had to finally see some big results. That feels like a very long time and a lot of effort and time put into it and gaining experience and knowledge to be able to get those big results.”
Going into his second Winter Games, Dierdorff is more confident than ever in his abilities. He’s been competing at a high level for about 15 years, and he has proven over again that he’s one of the best in the world.
“It is a sport where I think experience really goes a long way,” Dierdorff said. “It’s a pretty wild one where you’re flying down this course going really fast and you have these people right next to you.
“It’s very hard to train yourself what to do in those situations. Having miles and miles and being able to be in those situations so many times, some of those reactions that you make going down the course become more natural, and I really think making the right decisions in a race requires a lot of experience.”
His hard work hasn’t just been on the snow, though. In the offseason, Dierdorff builds custom sheds to help fund his snowboarding.
He’s one of the top competitors in the sport, so the U.S. Snowboard team funds his travel and competition expenses, but Dierdorff still must pay lifestyle expenses, such as food and personal items. Dierdorff was exposed to and got interested in construction when he was young, as his father manages Alpine Lumber.
In a less popular sport like snowboard cross, it can be difficult to acquire sponsorships, which is why Dierdorff is thankful for a recent partnership with UCHealth.
Dierdorff is familiar with the staff there, especially Dr. Adam Wilson and Dr. Alejandro Miranda, who have helped him through injuries and even traveled with the US snowboard cross team.
“I’m so excited and honored that they are now supporting me and have been a huge support for me for my whole career,” Dierdorff said. “We’ve got this awesome partnership going now. It’s such a big thing to stay healthy with this sport. I’ve been very fortunate, knock on wood, that this sport has not caused any of my large injuries.”
Dierdorff is hoping to stay tough, healthy and confident, but he’s also hoping to have fun competing in the sport he’s worked so hard at for years.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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