By Steve Hubrecht 

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Panorama resident ‘Cowboy’ Cole Carey struck gold earlier this month, winning a NorAm dual moguls competition in Deer Valley, Utah.

The 19 year old is in his third season competing on the NorAm (North American) circuit with the B.C. provincial freestyle team. He’s been getting progressively better each season, and hit a peak with a best-ever finish of ninth in the singles mogul event on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at Deer Valley. He then raised the bar even further the next day by winning the dual moguls competition on Thursday, Feb. 8.

“I’m really stoked,” Cole told the Pioneer a few days after his victory. “I was really happy with the ninth place finish. To then go out the next day and win it all, that was something else . . . it was huge.”

In freestyle mogul competitions, skiers do timed runs down a mogul-filled slope, turning at a furiously quick pace and catching air off large jumps on the course. In the single moguls event, skiers take to the course solo, one after the other. In the dual event, skiers compete on parallel courses side-by-side. Each round of the dual event involves two skiers going head-to-head, with the winner of the two progressing, knockout style, to the next round.

In all, Cole skied six rounds en route to winning the gold in the dual moguls competition on Feb. 8, winning each of those six head-to-heads.

The Deer Valley moguls course is renowned for being one of the most difficult on the continent, if not the world, which makes Cole’s victory all the more special. He is also happy that he beat out several Canadian national team moguls skiers in order to get the gold. If Cole keeps getting results like he did in Deer Valley, he could be competing with the national freestyle team instead of the B.C. provincial freestyle team.

“This win helps with that for sure, but there are still four big competitions ahead, so the job’s not done,” said Cole.

Those four other competitions are the three remaining NorAm moguls events — one at Apex Mountain Resort in B.C., another in Quebec, and the last in Vermont — as well as the Canadian nationals.

Cole grew up at Panorama Mountain Resort, where his dad has been on ski patrol for nearly three decades, and graduated from David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) in June 2022. He started skiing with the Freestyle Panorama Ski Club when he was young, and stuck with it.

“It always kind of seemed cooler than alpine racing. With freestyle, they let you hit jumps and go in the terrain park, which I really liked,” recalled Cole.

As he grew he found he got better results in moguls competitions than in slope style and park competitions, so he started focusing more on moguls.

“When you put down a clean mogul run that you’re happy with through a tough mogul course, there’s nothing else like that feeling. You’re on top of the world,” said Cole.

‘Cowboy’ Cole turns heads for more than just his on-slope results. He is serious about his ‘cowboy’ nickname, and always wears a black Smith cowboy hat at the bottom of the mogul course after he’s finished the run. The hat is also on whenever he travels between competition venues, as are cowboy boots, jeans, and button-down shirt everywhere he goes. Cole said his family has always been a ‘Western’ family. That’s not just rhetoric either — Cole’s family has been volunteering at the Calgary Stampede for four generations.