A lot of surfers, a lot of action sports talk about ‘the stoke’ - the adrenaline and just you know, living on that for your next adventure. For Anton Grimus, that is what it is all about.

Pete caught up at the XTM house with fellow Buller boy before he got the news he was selected for his second Olympics on the Australian Ski Cross team.

“Going to the Games is probably up there it is probably number one. The podium at Nikiska. Something that I want to get back to; that feeling, that stoke, that XTM moment is what I'm looking for."

One of the few Australian male Ski Cross athletes to have a World Cup podium to his name, Anton is in rare air.

It was in Rosa in Switzerland. An overcast day. He had a double header there and he was just feeling it, riding really well, flowing and overshooting things but carrying some momentum. And on the second day of qualifying, it all just came together. The track was running really well and he just centered, got down and had a killer time.

“My first Podium. It was unreal, I can't describe how good it feels to you know, be on a Podium at World Cup. Not many people, especially Australians, have done it, and to be a part of that, it's unreal.”

Growing up up on the side of the slopes the youngest of three brothers, he always had someone to compete with and chase down.

They are a big part of where I am today. Being the youngest, I always had someone better, someone older, someone a bit more mature to race against. And they set the bar high so I tried to jump over it.“

Encouraged at an early age to ‘stick to your racing, to the roots of ski racing’ Anton went through the ranks up in the race club, competed at the inter-schools and it just carried through.

“I raced as hard as I did then and as much as I do now. And I train and it's as hard as it was back then but I just probably do a bit more of it and it's different. 

But I'm still the same person, still was the same division, everything was there.

But yeah, just day in day out hard work and you just get to where you get to at the end of the day, I'm an Olympian and that's where I got to.”

Transitioning from Alpine to Ski Cross earlier in his career gave him a lot of the basics. Anton also credits training alongside teammate Scott Kneller has been key in his development into a Ski Cross athlete.

The basic fundamental turnings are there, the tucking position is there. But you just got to bring in elements from freestyle; be it the jumping and the head-to-head racing.

So those two elements that I didn't have before, were a bit hard to acquire. But over a couple of years I managed to get better alright and... still working on it.

You know, you keep... keep pushing and keep ticking away at it. But yeah, it's always a learning game.

[Scotty] was great in teaching me the lines, how to attack jumps and where I can find speed.

And I think that in conjunction with my Alpine background, I could really you know, feel that where I could get that extra couple of 10ths from throughout the track.

You can't see it when you watch it but if you can feel it, it plays a big part.

Then there is also his size: “As soon as I get it up to speed and running, it's pretty hard to stop me.”

The success of fellow Buller boy, Chumpy who was a few years older than Anton and had already started a good name for himself also left its mark.

“If Chumpy could do it, why can't anyone else do it?” He was always someone that you’d look up to and I think a lot of the winter athletes still look up to him. Back-to-back wins for the first 2 World Cups this winter, that’s not bad at all. Puts a bit of pressure on him but I think he loves it.”

Going into his second Winter Games, Anton describes the feeling that he gets from the sport he loves [complete with a cheeky shout out to his old mate, Chumpy!]

For me it's just you know, when you are out there, when it’s either a blue bird day and you get half a meter of powder at your front door or, you know, you know you won qualifying for a World Cup, that's… that's the sort of stoke levels.

And you are just like, “Yeah! Sick!” Like that. How you going Chumpy?

Coming up to Pyeongchang, Anton is setting the bar high for himself despite a less than ideal lead in. But as Anton says, “what in life is ideal? His got his spot and he can't wait to watch him get there and give it.

Mens ski cross competitions will run on Feb 21. Follow Anton on Instagram, on Twitter, on Facebook or on his website.

FOR MORE NEWS FROM THE WINTER OLYMPICS
XTM’s own Al Dower will be on the ground in Pyeongchang for the Games, cheering on Anton, Chumpy and the rest of the team and sending back all the news as it happens. Subscribe to our news for all the latest updates and interviews.

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