Hill to get shot at Olympics

Snowboarding turned into a full-time gig for Seth Hill immediately after college. He's since visited numerous countries, competed in countless events and, he admitted, "lives a pretty cool lifestyle."

Still, an invitation to earn a spot on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team humbled the 25-year-old Jacksonville native.

"The opportunity to represent the U.S. at the Olympics would be an unbelievable honor," said Hill, a 2006 St. Mary's High graduate.

Hill was one of eight male snowboarders to receive an invitation to Olympic Slopestyle selection events, which will take place in December and January.

The events include Colorado's Breckenridge Dew Tour and Copper Mountain Grand Prix, and California's Northstar Grand Prix and Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix. Competitors then take their top three scores from the four events, with the highest marks earning a berth on the U.S. Olympic squad.

"They're looking for a consistent rider," said Hill. "It's like any sport. One day you could be off and the next day you could be on. They want to see who's the most consistent."

Slopestyle will be making its Olympic debut this winter in snowboarding and skiing. The Games, held in Sochi, Russia, run from Feb. 7-23.

"It's obviously an awesome opportunity," said Hill. "There will be a lot of amazing snowboarders. I'm stoked to be invited."

Hill, based out of Breckenridge, Colo., received the invitation because he is ranked 21st in the world on the World Snowboard Tour. He is the sixth highest American on those rankings.

"I've seen most of these guys and have competed against them," said Hill. "At one point I've beaten them in some event. With that said, they've beaten me, too. It's kind of up in the air who's going to win."

Hill got his snowboarding start at the age of 10. By the end of his high school days he had racked up numerous prep and amateur victories, including a freestyle title at the United States Amateur Snowboarding Association National Championships in 2006 and the USASA's No. 1 ranking for amateur snowboarders.

Hill took his talents to the University of Colorado where he competed for the Buffaloes until graduating in 2010 with a degree in business.

His turn to the professional ranks didn't slow down the accolades. In 2012, Hill was named the Snowboarder Magazine Superpark Standout.

Hill made Colorado his home, although most of his time is spent on the road at various events throughout the year.

"I spend most of the early winter in Colorado then the rest is pretty much travelling around," Hill said.

Hill, who is sponsored by Sims Snowboards, Smith Optics and Drift Cameras, estimates he went to nine different countries for competitions this past year, where he also spent time filming and recording his adventures for his blog.

"Filming is a big part of snowboarding," he said. "I feel like I'm living a pretty cool life and I want to document that. This sport has a lot of great opportunities."

Including the possibility of another trip across the world — this time to Russia.

"It would be incredible to be in the Olympics for myself and my friends and family," said Hill. "I would love to go, but if I don't I'll still be happy doing what I'm doing. At this point I feel blessed being able to do what I do."

Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 541-776-4483, or email kgoff@mailtribune.com

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