Herschell also participated in skiing which quenched his creative thirst and entertained weekly. He competed annually on the Ruellz Slopestyle Tour, a competitive gathering of the world’s best under fifteen skiers. It was a sapphire blue day at Breckenridge Mountain Resort, the eagles soared patriotically over the sprawling mountainous land. Herschell, drowsy after an eleven hour car ride the night before, was competing in the event that day. He awoke to the glaring light intruding into his quaint room at the Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center, a humble weekend abode. Herschell's pre competition morning routine never varied. Wake up. Check Twitter. Hobble pitifully over to the bathroom and indulge himself in an extra long shower in which he groomed his precious blonde locks. Then after drying and dressing himself adequately for the day ahead, he wandered out of the coziness of the hotel room and into the dining area. After a nutritious breakfast of the always delicious Life Cinnamon, the perfect pre-comp fuel for a growing boy, he mounted Chair 5 with three other shredders. To his immediate left was a snowboarder. Herschell did not possess a certain bias against snowboarders unlike some of his other skier counterparts. Herschell merely referred to them as snurfers, common slang for those who have one plank of wood under their feet. The boy had long, illustrious blonde hair that just peered out from the shell of his helmet, like a turtle barely sticking his nose from a cool pond to bask in the morning sun. He grinned at the sight of Herschell, and greeted him with kindness.
“Hey! You competing?” asked the snurfer.
Recognizing the person to his left side, Herschell turned and said “Yep! Course is lookin’ pretty core, and it’s a lovely Colorado day! Are you?”
“I am, yea! Yo, what’s your name?”
“Herschell, what about you?”
“My name’s Mac! But most of my friends call me Macy-J, just for laughs ya know!”
Herschell laughed at the spectacle of this, and with a quick chuckle between the two acquaintances, they turned to the other two figures on the chairlift. Herschell asked the name of the boy left of Mac ignoring the figure farthest away. The recipient of his inquiry turned lugubriously towards the duo, like a sloth awakening from a rowdy Friday party at twelve in the afternoon. His bib, 155, twisted with the rest of his matte black coat. Though his eyes were hidden behind his black goggles, any bystander could tell he was glaring viciously through his Chrome Oakley lenses. No words left his mouth. No greeting. No nothing. The aroma of haughty testosterone and rivalry clouded the fresh smell of pine and heated leather of the chairlift seat. Herschell found this glower very odd, and they departed Chair 5 onto the crisp Breckenridge slopes.
Herschell and his new friend, Macy-J, began their respective practice laps to prepare for the physical and mental pressure that competition placed on these athletes. Just as the day depicted at first sight, the Breckenridge Slopestyle Course was perfect as a puppy frolicking in a meadow of roses and fresh cut grass or when you receive an additional spicy chicken nugget in your order Wendy's. Herschell's run was coming together like a six part puzzle, each feature more stylish and superb as the last. The first feature in the slopestyle course that Herschell planned on hitting was a relatively thick down flat tube with metal so perfectly slippery that Migos' 2017 strip club anthem was certainly inspired by this wonderful rail. Herschell's K-Fed (Front 180 Switch Up to a Blind 270) was quickly followed by a 270 on continuing 270 on the box rail just lower in the course. Though Herschell's technical skill was certainly not as illustrious or complex as some of his skier peers, his style showed through as the imperative category to his success. His jump line brought together variation and personality like none other competitor. Switch left double cork 900 with a safety grab to a right cork 1080 leading cuban and finished up with a left double 1080 wobble with a safety grab was sure to bring Herschell fortune on that sunny day. However, training takes a toll on you and Herschell was assuredly in desire of some fuel, especially Breckenridge's legendary chili cheese fries. After his third and final practice run, Herschell and Mac reunited in the Breckenridge Lodge and shared a mountainous platter of gooey, pipin' hot chili cheese fries. The dish symbolized a fruitful morning on the slopes. The boys, both being unforgivably slow eaters, became infatuated with the perfectly spiced chili and equally delectable french fries. Each bite, euphoric and enamoring. Breaking the certain state of jubilation that the boys were enjoying together, Herschell came to a shocking realization. His comrade, Koa Jarlsen, had just stomped a beautiful cork 720 in the landing of the last jump which was in view because of the grand window of the lodge. Herschell, now frantic, looked down at his bib (174) and squinted to discern the bib of Koa Jarlsen, which in fact was 169. "FIVE RIDERS UNTIL I GO, F***!!" he roared into Mac's ear. Without hesitation to hear Mac's remark or time to finish off the few remaining french fries, Herschell dashed out of the lunch room and quickly got on the chairlift to the top. Every routine trick Herschell had executed this morning suddenly became a seemingly impossible feat. His feet were jittery and the high speed quad could not go any slower. He departed the chairlift with great haste and shimmied his way through the standing cluster of athletes in the starting tent to get to the forefront of the area where the starters, Tom Wallisch and Gangster Steve, stood.
By infallible luck and grace, Herschell had just managed to make his run. Still shaking from anxiety of the chairlift ride up, Herschell pounded his fists together in demonstration of his excitement and focus for the slopestyle run ahead. Skis scraping, beats bopping, Herschell dropped in. The rail section went as planned, each maneuver being stomped with authority. "Now into the jumps", Herschell thought to himself. The switch double was a soaring start to the run with the safety grab being grasped 'til the very final 180. The cork 1080 cuban followed suite. Between the second and third jump however, Herschell felt a sharp, piercing, unwarranted pain in his left leg. Fighting off the discomfort and focusing on the sleek rhythm of the Wu-tang song that was playing, he prepared himself for the concluding feature. He popped into his forward motion with solid effort, securing the grab effortlessly. The rotation was finished several feet before the landing reached the base of his skis. He had to do something. Mid air, Herschell let go of the grab and going into an almost flying squirrel position to slow down his rotation. It was to his avail and Herschell landed the double wobble with ease. As more and more competitors completed their runs, showing equal amounts of skill and poise as Herschell with the occasional slam here and there, tensions grew high as to would be crowned victor of the day. The competition ended. The results were in.
"In the bronze position, with a score of 89.00.." Wallisch, also head announcer, proclaimed. "Birk Ruud!" The cheers overflowed for the Norwegian boy, both from his local team and spectators that saw the mastery of his run. "In second place, with a score of 90.33, and also getting the award for 'I Almost Missed My Run 2017'... Herschell Hurd!!!!" The blood rushed to his frigid cheeks and Herschell grinned estatically, he did it! The pain still lingering in his thigh, he hobbled up to the podium, giving both Tom and Birk fist bumps before stepping upon the number two spot. "And our first place spot, our Ruellz Slopestyle Tour Breckenridge 2017 champion... with an astonishing score of 94.00...Crawfish Yesno!" screamed Wallisch. The mob parted as a boy dressed in all black attire made his way to the podium. Herschell noticed the jersey at first glance. Bib 155. As the boy received his trophy, he glanced at Herschell, goggles still on, and by the hand of God, Herschell swore he winked in his direction, a moment Herschell would never forget.