Monday, October 3, 2022

Snowboarding’s Barely Legal

It is sort of sad that one of the Features Future Snowboarding has on the books before it’s untimely demise was entitled “The Teenagers.” After all, these kids are supposed to be the Future of the sport. But one mags loss is Yobeat’s gain, so here are a few of the profiles I did as part of this feature.


Jamie Anderson
Age: September 13, 1990, 17
Sponsors: Billabong, Salomon, Electric, DVS, Rockstar,, Grenade, Sierra-at-Tahoe
Hometown: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Notable: 2008 TTR World Champion, 2007 and 2008 Winter Slopestyle Gold Medalist, 2007 US Open Slopestyle Champ, 2008 European Open Slope Champion, 2008 Roxy Chicken Jam USA Champion.

Contest Strength: 90%
Video Strength: 35%
Editorial Coverage: 60%

It’s hard to remember that Jamie Anderson is still a teenager. Even though she has a mantle full of gold medals, and can often be found at the bar ordering a round, she still isn’t old enough to vote. Of course, when you start your pro career at 14, and crush Shaun White’s record of the youngest athlete to medal at the Winter X Games one year later, well, these things happen. Jamie has already won most of the events people strive for their whole career including those X Games, the US Open and oh yeah, that $100,000 TTR overall prize last season. It’s not all contests for Jamie though — she’s a staple in Runway Films and has turned up on the pages of every major snowboard magazine too. Jamie isn’t ready to slow down anytime soon, she said her goal is to make it to the Olympics, even if they never add slopestyle. “I’ll go for pipe, whatever I can get in for,â€? she said. Yeah, she’s not known for her pipe riding, but hey, she’s got plenty of time. (edit: She just won her first major pipe contest. wtf)


Matt Ladley
Age: May 17, 1991, 16
Sponsors: Nike 6.0, Salomon, Bonfire, Oakley
Hometown: Steamboat, CO
Notable: 2007 Chevy Revolution Tour overall champion, 3rd at 2007 Tamarack Grand Prix, 1st 2005 US Open Junior Jam

Contest Strength: 70%
Video Strength: 10%
Editorial Coverage: 55%

Matt Ladley looks like your average pre-pubescent 16-year-old, that is, until you see him ride. Whether it’s a US Grand Prix or a regional event, such as Mt. Hood’s Vegetate, Matt can dominate the halfpipe. He boosts big, making technical tricks like back-to-back 1080s look effortless. When he was 14, his lein air was called “the best in the businessâ€? by Josh Dirksen, which makes more sense when you learn he’d already had years of practice. Matt started snowboarding at 7 (then living in Chicago, his mom schlepped him to Colorado every weekend), and now balances snowboarding with school at Lowell Whiteman in Steamboat. Matt was added to the US Snowboarding Rookie Team in 2007, and his performance last season, including a podium finish at the US Grand Prix in Tamarack prompted US coach Mike Jankowski to say he “validates the rookie team program.â€? Matt is well on his way to shedding that rookie status, as a featured athlete in Bonfire ad campaigns, a Nike 6.0 athlete and a staple on the US halfpipe circuit.

Those pesky 6.0 kids always trying to snowboard on the Nike Campus.

Ross Baker
Age: August 1, 1990, 18 years old
Sponsors: Nike 6.0, Ocean & Earth, Smith, K2, Bonfire
Hometown: Reno, NV
Notable: 6th place at 2008 US Open, 2003 USASA National Champion, 2003 US Open Junior Jam champion, 1st at 2006 Chevy Revolution tour at Killington

Contest Strength: 75%
Video Strength: 15%
Editorial Coverage: 40%

Ross Baker is one of those riders who can take a cold, icy day and turn it into the best day snowboarding ever, and not just because he hasn’t had time to get bitter. “I remember watching Ross at a Revolution tour event before I ever met him,â€? mentor Barrett Christy said. “He was having more fun than anyone, and everyone seemed to be drawn to him.â€? Ross rides like the entire mountain it’s his park, so when you put perfect manmade obstacles in front of him, the results are spectacular. At Nike 6.0’s 2008 event, the Launch, he was a definite standout and his giant 720 across the entire length of a hip will likely land him in Leeward Cinema’s film My Own Two Feet. He has definite freestyle skills, and is at home in the park and the pipe, freeriding or in competition. But he also has big mountain aspirations, listing Tom Burt as one of his heroes. Ross is basically a perfect poster boy for Nike 6.0, Windell’s Snowboard Camp, and snowboarding in general. “He has manners, he doesn’t have an attitude, and he rides anything and everything,â€? Christy said.

All Canadians look like this

Sebastian Toutant
Age: September 11, 1992, Age 15
Sponsors: Nitro, O’Neill, Smith
Hometown: L’Assomption, Quebec
Notable: 1st place at 2008 Tellus Festival Big Air, 1st at Empire Shakedown 2006, 2nd at Empire Shakedown 2008, 1st place European Open Jr. Slopestyle

Contest Strength: 85%
Video Strength: 80%
Editorial Coverage: 48%

It must be the youthful energy that comes with being 15 that enables Sebastian, more commonly known as “Seb Tootsâ€? to enter, and dominate, 10-15 contests a year and still film for multiple videos. At the wee age of 13, Toots won the slopestyle-mayhem known as the Empire Shakedown and then took second in 2008. Backside double cork 1080 to backlip on a double kink anyone? He’s been referred to as “the next French Canadian Shaun White,â€? by fellow countrywoman Dominique Vallee and at 15, has already filmed for two seasons with Alterna Films. Check him out in last year’s Apples and Oranges or this year’s Knock Out. Of course being young, and French Canadian, Seb could easily be, um, difficult to work with, but he is not. A mellow, motivated and talented kid, according to Nitro team manager Tonino Copene, Seb “is going to snowboard and snowboard good, whether he is sponsored or not.â€?

Bryn Valaika

Age: 16 06/19/92
Sponsors: Gnu, Volcom, Oakley, Nike 6.0
Hometown: Laguna Beach, CA
Notable: 2007 Overall Volcom PB &J Rail Jam Champ , 1st at 2007 San Diego Supergirl Jam, 1st in Pipe and 3rd in Slope at 2008 Burton AM Series at Bear Mountain

Contest Strength: 77%
Video Strength: 9%
Editorial Coverage: 66%

Bryn is not the kind of gal you picture when you think of Laguna Beach, nor would you expect one of Snowboarding’s best teenagers to hail from Laguna. But such is the case with Bryn. Furthermore, she is not anything like LC or Kristen, but quite the opposite. She is level headed, bright, respectful, confident, talented, and a rising star in the world of women’s snowboarding. Of her school Bryn tells us, “I’m just like everyone else. I keep my grades up to straight A’s, take a few honors classes, and participate in some school sports and activities. I probably look to be the average kid to anyone in Laguna that doesn’t know I snowboard.â€? Her older brother, pro rider Keegan Valaika, may have started forging the trail for Bryn, but it’s not the case anymore. “I have learned that I’m always going to have those few people who know me from knowing my brother. But I’ve learned to meet people and show them that I’m not just Keegan’s little sister, I’m a girl snowboarder.â€? At 16, Bryn’s almost finished paying her dues and ready to blaze trail. As her mentor Barrett Christy will tell you, “Bryn knows where this sport came from and I think she knows where she wants to take it.â€?– ARR

Brennen Swanson
Age: 18 03/13/90
Sponsors: Ride, Dakine, Smith (Bern, Kicker Audio?)
Hometown: Stillwater, Minnesota
Notable: 4 podium’s on the 2008 Chevy Revolution Tour including 1st at the Spirit Mountain Halfpipe, 7th at Tamarack Grand Prix

Contest Strength: 91%
Video Strength: 0%
Editorial Strength: 20%
For a kid who learned how to ride on a River Bluff outside of Minneapolis, Brennen Swanson has come a long way. Brennen’s a good ‘ol boy from the Mid-West who has proved himself a legitimate force on contest circuit with his pipe prowess. He knows when to dip into his bag of tricks in the clutch, effortlessly linking boosty BS to FS 9’s and capping off his runs with FS 1080’s into a Half Cab McTwist, which he consistently executes. His cool demeanor and impressive runs landed him on the podium more times than anybody else this last season on the Chevy Revolution Tour. We can be sure the U.S. Snowboard Team has been eyeballing this rookie for a few years now and expect to see him training and traveling with them more in future. When asked what riders influence him the most, Brennen modestly gave the credit to his friends. “I look up to my friends more than I look up to the pro’s. I like being able to ride with them with no stress.â€? — ARR

Photo Courtesy of Zak’s Myspace.

Zak Hale

Age: 15 11/07/92
Sponsors: Nitro, Sessions, Celsius, Monster, Big Bear (Skullcandy, Raidens, Neff, DVS?)
Hometown: Big Bear, CA
Notables: Finals at the2008 NYC Union Street Sessions, Podium at the last two years Sessions Lumberjack Log Jam (1st and 2nd respectively), Footy in this years Bozwreck, Sports Illustrated For Kids Next Show Winner

Zak Hale runs with the hyper-talented crew out of Big Bear aptly named “The Midget Mafiaâ€?, a bunch of mini rippers who have annihilated Bear’s Park day in and day out since their inception in 2002. A self proclaimed “Pipe Haterâ€?, Zak sticks to the rails and the park consistently and with mad style, but has recently discovered the glory-hole of backcountry riding and is currently salivating over sleds. Zak established himself as a prodigious talent years ago, and has backed it by keeping up with elders like Chris Bradshaw, Johnny Miller and Louie Vito. “Zak is down to ride whatever, whenever. The kid has ill style and is just stoked on Snowboarding.â€? says Vito. Although last season saw him at that awkward teen stage of stepping up his game to compete against the big boys in pro-invitational’s, Zak proved that he can take the pressure at the NYC’s Union Square Street Sessions by making it into the finals. More importantly though, Zak isn’t one of those kids who lets the competition scene burn him out when it comes to Snowboarding. “I just love to have fun. I hope I get to do this as long as possible.â€? — ARR

Photo Courtesy of Exit Real World

Alex “Lil’estâ€? Sherman

Age: 18 01/21/90
Sponsors: Rossignal, Dakine, Vans, Smith
Hometown: Park City, Utah
Notable: Goofy Vs. Regular 2008- Member of Final Goofy Team, Filmed with Turnin’ and Burnin’ 2007, Filmed with Team Thunder, The upcoming Park City Movie, and The Variety Pack 2008

Contest Strength: 0%
Video Strength: 82%
Editorial Coverage: 35%

The lil’est Sherman has been put through the ringer during his teenage snowboard career. For example, waking up in Hood to a mouth full of Easy Cheese courtesy of Scotty Arnold, or having Transworld announce it when he lost his virginity. Not to mention the fact that the nickname “Lil’estâ€? has stuck with him throughout his fragile pubescent years since he joined up with Team Manager Alex Pashley over 5 years ago. Lil’est always kept it real and never lost his cool, instead choosing to learn from the riders who bullied him, which has proved ultimately rewarding. “He is definitely a smooth character. When rolling on the mountain he has got some super smooth jibby style. (He’s) bouncing all over the mountain, it is really fun shedding around with him and his posse.â€?Rossignol TM Pashley tells FSM. Lil’est has opted out of the competition scene when it comes to proving himself. In return he’s found himself filming and shooting with some of the world’s best photographers and videographers, which is a feat within itself for such a young rider. — ARR


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Randy Nichols
August 6, 2008 5:30 pm

Great Blog post. I am going to bookmark and read more often. I love the Blog template … if you need any assistance customizing it let me know!

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