HELENA — Konnor Ralph may be a kid from Helena, but he’s certainly not just another kid from Helena, after vaulting himself to the top of the NorAm Cup Standings with a victory in Quebec in March. A victory that qualifies Ralph for World Cup competition in the future.
"It just felt like everything's finally starting to pay off, you know? And it's like allowing me to take it to that next big step, which is like the World Cup circuit," said Ralph in Helena.
Ralph, a member of the U.S. Freeski team, spent most of this winter in Park City, Utah honing his craft when he wasn't competing. The U.S. Olympic hopeful says being able to compete in world competitions is the next big step on his journey.
"It's finally put me up to that World Cup stage, where I can show the people that I have what it takes, I hope. So, it's like just another big step to the Olympics," said Ralph.
While the victory was certainly a welcome addition to Ralph's resume, it certainly didn't come without its trials and tribulations.
"I messed up my first run and all the stress came," said Ralph. "I dropped last out of the 18 guys that were competing in the finals and all that stress, kind of just, you get to the top and you start, and you kind of just have to like get rid of it. And I was able to get rid of that those nerves and landed my run well and scored good and, you know, walking up onto that podiums never felt better."
Following the victory, Ralph returned to Helena to spend some quality time with friends, family and on a ski hill he knows like the back of his hand; Great Divide.
"It's like, where I was raised and I skied there my whole life. So, it's super nice to kind of go back to the roots and see all these people that support me and, you know, just have fun for a little bit," said Ralph. "Usually skiing is pretty serious for me, but it's super nice to get up there and have fun with it again, you know, it's been a long time since I've had fun just, you know, messing around."
As for Ralph’s next step, staying in shape to compete on the world stage next year.
"Training all spring and summer and staying in shape and getting ready to compete at World Cups. And you know, just having fun with it, too. I want to make sure that that's part of my plan, is to have fun and enjoy what I do and I'm definitely enjoying it right now."