Olympic Alpine Race Course to Be Tended to By a ‘Magician’

Tom Johnson is a snow guru.

Tom Johnston
Tom Johnston stands near a test event for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre in Jeongseon, South Korea. (AP Photo/Andrew Dampf)

Tom Johnston is a soft-spoken Wyoming cowboy and a snow guru. He is tasked with readying the Alpine racecourse at the PyeongChang Olympics. Johnston holds the title “chief of race for ski events” and has been preparing for the Winter Games for more than two years. For the next two months, every single day starting at sunup until past sundown, will be spent making sure every inch of the course is prepared for the world’s best skiers. This doesn’t just mean making sure everything looks nice, but instead means that Johnston is in charge of molding the terrain and crafting the jumps. Steven Nyman, an American skier and three-time Olympian, told The Washington Post that “Tommy is a magician with snow.” Skier Travis Ganong said that Johnston “makes it happen no matter what” and that every course Johnston has worked on is “way better than everywhere else we go.” Johnston’s job requires an understanding of snow at the molecular level and the ever-changing weather. He also has to be tuned in to the smallest details.

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