ARTICLE | JUNE 15, 2020 | BY CAITLIN CROFT
One-on-One with Bella: The Bacon Family heads to Park City where Bella begins a new chapter in her slopestyle career
About two years ago, SNOWED-IN caught up with our local spinning sensation Bella Bacon. At that time, she had recently been awarded the 6th Annual ‘Spirit of Sarah Scholarship’ and qualified for the US Revolution Tour.
Fast forward to 2020 and the Bacon family has packed up and made the trek to Park City, Utah (just last month!) as Bella has been invited to join the US Rookie Team. While chatting with both Bella and her mother, Christine, they gave me a peek into what it takes to uproot from our close knit community and head to the Rockies.
CAITLIN: So catch me up on the last two years of competition; how did we go from training in Canada to an invite on the US Rookie Team?
BELLA: Last year, I met Ryan Wyble (currently Bella’s US Rookie Team coach) and he approached my former Canadian coach, Geoff Lovelace. Wyble asked if I was Canadian or American, and was happily told I was American. Then, this year came around and I ended up traveling around and competing pretty well, earning the invitation.
CAITLIN: So what happened next?
CHRISTINE: The US Team approached us and extended the invite; we then had some big decisions to make. The last few times we had been in Park City we were fortunate to spend time with Ellicottville transplant and two-time Olympian Jillian Vogtli. Before even asking the kids, we had to see if my husband, William, could arrange to work from the other side of the country. Once we got the green light, we asked the kids and it was an overwhelming Yes! Because of Jillian, we knew the high school in Park City is highly rated and it made the decision a little easier. It was important to keep the family together.
Jillian also spent 13 years on the US Mogul Team and is the only woman to perform the Cork 720 in the Olympic Games. Doesn’t hurt to have someone like that showing the Bacons the ins and outs of US Ski Team Life in Park City. Seeing as how women in the Slopestyle world is still relatively uncommon, from an outsider’s point of view, having a trailblazing woman like Jillian will be a great advantage and mentor for Bella.
One of Bella’s first coaches, Kevin McClory, who discovered her affinity for rails, had this to say: “The thing that really excites me about Bella is her determination. I would see her on the slopes at all hours hiking rails and embarrassing the boys. Her fearlessness and talent are definitely special, but it’s her unbridled passion for the sport that clearly sets her apart. It’s rare to find anyone with that level of commitment, especially for a young person. I’m really excited to watch her career progress. The Freestyle Factory (Holiday Valley) is overdue for another Olympian.”
CAITLIN: Last time we chatted, you told me all about the cool off-season training technology. What does Park City have to offer that you can’t get around here?
BELLA: Instead of flipping into water or onto “composite snow,” there is an airbag for you to bail out into or there is composite to ski away on if you are able to land. It is great to have the option.
CAITLIN: So tell me more about what it felt like to get the call from the US Rookie Team?
BELLA: I was completely shocked and wasn’t expecting it, but excited cause I had so much fun on the trips I took to Park City.
CAITLIN: What gear are you repping these days?
BELLA: I got the “hook up” from Faction, a ski company that focuses on promoting women in Slopestyle skiing. Now, as a member of the Rookie Team, I will be wearing Spyder, the US Ski Team’s official outerwear company.
CAITLIN: What is your favorite trick to throw? Two years ago it was a backflip … has that changed?
BELLA: I love to do a 270 on to a rail and throw a Big Backie or 540 Blunt off a jump.
CAITLIN: What kind of music gets you in the right state of mind to perform your best?
BELLA: I really like Rap because it pumps me up and I feel a bit “gangster-ish” like any trick I throw will be perfect.
CAITLIN: What is your favorite post-ski session meal?
BELLA: My other friends on the team and I would go get Spaghetti and Meatballs after training. It isn’t the fanciest meal but I loved the time with friends.
CAITLIN: This next question I asked you two years ago, and I am curious to see if your answer has changed. If you had one superpower, what would it be?
BELLA: This is a hard one, you asked me before, hmm … I would have to say to fly.
I asked her if she wanted to know her answer previously and of course Bella said yes; it was to read minds. She laughed and said, “I almost picked that one.”
CAITLIN: So last question … If you could tell a young girl who is interested in the Park and Slopestyle, what would it be?
BELLA: Never stop trying or dreaming. Girls belong in the park too.
CAITLIN: Christine, any closing thoughts?
CHRISTINE: I just want to thank Holiday Valley and Ellicottville for everything they have done for us. Ellicottville will always be in our hearts as we move on to this next chapter. We are forever grateful.