Athletes, coaches and staff from all the nations competing on the ski cross World Cup circuit gathered at the ski cross track in Grindelwald on Sunday to pay their respects to Zoricic. Everyone wore blue jeans in honour of a man who showed up to one of his first ski cross World Cup races without race pants.
“Nik was one of the athletes we invited to the pre-Olympic Cypress (B.C.) World Cup as one of the prospect athletes we were hoping would come along,” Archer said. “He didn’t really have any race pants to wear and what he had was super-baggy as far as ski pants. He decided to try and get a little more aerodynamic and the best thing he could think of was putting on a pair of skinny jeans and pulling out of the start gate. “I remember him being worried and talking to me during inspection about passing the pinch test. I made him go down and talk to (FIS freestyle co-ordinator) Joe Fitzgerald and got him measured. They passed him and out he went.”
World champion and X Games gold medallist Del Bosco said the blue jeans story is just another example of Zoricic’s fun-loving spirit. “That’s just the kind of guy he was,” Del Bosco said. “He didn’t have the right tools for that race and just made it happen with blue jeans. “He was just an amazing guy – always smiling or making somebody laugh. He gave everything to the sport. He was an amazing skier. I was very fortunate to have him in my life.”
Dave Duncan, of London, Ont. – Zoricic’s longtime roommate on the road – paid tribute to Zoricic during Sunday’s conference call. “Nik and I have known each other since he was 14 and I was 15. I’ve known him for 15 years. We grew up racing together in Collingwood (Ont.),” Duncan said Sunday.
“It’s been an incredible ride, one that he’s added to tremendously. You know exactly where you stand with that guy. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He had a zest for life and competition and loved what he was he was doing – and it showed. He had a fire in his belly and he wanted to be successful. “It’s going to be hard without him. He hasn’t just been a teammate for the last four years, he was my roommate. Everything’s different now – it’s not going to be the same.”
A Facebook page has been set up in memory of Zoricic. Those wishing to post messages and comments can follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/InMemoriamNikZoricic.
Members of the Canadian team are due to start the trip back to Canada on Monday. Funeral details have not yet been confirmed.