Noteworthy: 10 Skiers On The Rise
By Greg Fitzsimmons | May 16th, 2012
Had this story been written a year ago you might have seen names like Nick Goepper, Carston Oliver, Eliel Hindert, Aidan Sheahan, Logan Pehota, Leo Ahrens, and Johnny Collinson on the list. All of these guys were known at their home mountains for being full-tilt skiers, but burst onto the scene over the last 12 months with insane contest results, video segments, and photo spreads.
If I were a betting man, the following 10 skiers are the ones that I would put money on. With solid on-snow techniques and even better on-shoulder heads, odds are we’ll be talking about this crew in the near future. So, rather than making you wait, we decided to tell you about them now. Here are 10 relatively unknown shredders — six guys, four girls, in no particular order — to take note of.
Mat Jackson slashes a powder turn in the Tahoe backcountry. Photo by Josh Anderson.
1. Mat Jackson
Home Mountain: Squaw Valley
Sponsors: Völkl, Marker, The North Face, Smith Optics and Helmets
This Squaw Valley local originally reigns from Crystal Mountain, Washington. As a grom, Jackson banged plastic with the local racing program and tried to keep up with the Backstrom clan — Ingrid, Arne, and Ralph — that were a few years older than he.
At 25, Mat Jackson is older than most of the names that follow, but his consistent skiing and patience with the industry are two attributes that are starting to pay off.
“We love Mat,” says Völkl/Marker Team Manager Chris Adams . “You’ve got to wait your turn and Mat’s waited for his opportunities while skiing great all of the time. His skiing is fairly technical, big-mountain while still having the backcountry jib thing happening.”
“I definitely think that there’s a process to the ski industry that you have to embrace and be a part of,” says Mat Jackson. “I always wanted my skiing to speak for itself, for my skiing to be the vessel that took me places. My patience has paid off a ton, because I’ve had a lot of amazing opportunities come along and it’s awesome to be a part of that. I went to Japan in January filming with TwoPlank Productions. We had 10 days of perfect snow. The movie will drop this coming fall.”
Colston VB spins off a cliff in British Columbia. Photo by Dave Heath.
2. Colston VB
Home Mountain: Red Mountain Resort and Whistler Blackcomb
When the “godfather of freeskiing” vouches for someone we need to listen, and Mike Douglas only had good things to say about Colston VB.
“Colston’s a good skier and a good kid,” says Douglas. “He’s super keen and has a good attitude. I think that if he keeps on skiing and pounding he’s going to do well… He’s a confident skier and Colston is always skiing with a smile on his face — which is the best part.”
Having grown up skiing Red Mountain in British Columbia, Colston VB is now residing in Whistler. Whether he’s sled skiing in the Whistler backcountry, working in front of a camera lens, or freeskiing with his crew, Colston’s style and creativity are undeniable.
“This season I got to really push myself and ski the biggest high-alpine lines, hit the biggest drops, and do the biggest tricks I ever have,” says Colston. “Filming video is a high priority for me right now, because I like how you have to keep it together and be on-point the entire time, not just for one frame.”
Gerorge Rodney's 2011-'12 season edit.
3. George Rodney
Home Mountain: Aspen and Alta/Snowbird
Sponsors: Völkl, Marker, Dalbello, Smith, Obermeyer
George Rodney found a home on the podium this year during the Junior Freeskiing Tour en route to winning the overall tour championship. Finishing on the podium at three of the four stops this season, Rodney will immediately be a contender on the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour as he transitions from the junior circuit to the main event this summer in South America.
“George took that super solid fundamental background with racing and translated it to big-mountain terrain,” says Völkl’s Chris Adams. “He’s a big kid, he skis on the Gotama 198 — which is a big, big stick — and he charges big-mountain stuff.”
Headed to Salt Lake City to pursue an engineering degree at “the U,” a change of venue isn’t new to Rodney. “If the ski industry could have the equivalent of an ‘army brat,’ George would be one,” says Adams. “His mom has worked in the ski industry forever and George has learned first-hand how it all works by watching his mom.”
“My mom is an awesome person to help out with everything — from my skiing to school,” says Rodney. “I grew up ski racing in Aspen, and then moved down to Summit County and competed there. After finding out about the Winter Sports School in Park City I transferred there for my junior and senior years. My mom got a job at Obermeyer, so I moved back to Aspen with her after graduating and now I’m headed to Utah.”
Jake Teuton's 2011-'12 season edit.
4. Jake Teuton
Home Mountain: Revelstoke
Sponsors: Fortitude Skis, Strafe Outerwear, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Marker Bindings, Smith Optics, and Planks Clothing
Revelstoke Mountain Resort Pro team rider Jake Teuton makes the most of the incredible surroundings he gets to call home; spinning hot laps on the mountain, building backcountry booters to session with friends, and using his local knowledge to snag some of the most eye-popping photos that have come out of Revy in the last season.
The young gun put together an insane season of skiing, mixing burly lines and massive natural airs with crazy tricks off of man-made features (Teuton added a few dub tricks to his arsenal this year).
“The highlight from last season would probably be sending the 60-footer, skiing deep powder, or spring park laps with friends,” says Teuton. “I definitely want to do a few competitions next year, but I’m mainly going to focus on filming and travelling as much as I can. Hopefully, I’ll get to see more of BC, ski more places, and get into the backcountry more.”
5. Grant Howard
Home Mountain: Alta/Snowbird
Sponsors: Salomon, Gordini, Lightpole Clothing
In 2011, Grant Howard absolutely dominated the 12–14 age group of the Junior Freeskiing World Tour with a couple of first place finishes and the overall title. In 2012, the 15-year-old bumped up to compete in the 15–18 age class, and Howard didn’t miss a beat. Skiing against guys a few years older than he, Howard finished as the overall runner-up (behind George Rodney).
“This kid lives and breathes skiing,” says Rob Greener, Head Coach of the AltaBird Freeride team. “[Grant’s] father, Sam Howard, was named top 100 skiers by Powder Magazine 10 years ago; so skiing is in his DNA.”
“Grant is a natural athlete, and his approach to the mountain is very creative,” continues Greener. “Overall, Grant at age 15 is one of the most talented athletes I have worked with in Little Cottonwood Canyon.”
What’s on-tap for next year? Aside from getting a driver’s license, Grant Howard has his sights set on the overall Junior Freeskiing Tour Championship.
Matt Evans stands on the Junior Freeskiing World Tour podium. Photo by Billy Swan / JFT.
6. Matt Evans
Home Mountain: Crested Butte
Sponsors: Smith Optics and Helmets, Tecnica/Blizzard, Colorado Freeskier, and Trew Outerwear
Matt Evans has been riding the tails of his older brother Randy's and the rest of the core CB local crew’s skis for years, and everyone in Crested Butte knows about the young grom that charges. Recently, however, people outside of Crested Butte started to notice.
“This season was super awesome,” says the 16-year-old Evans. “I got sponsored by Blizzard/Tecnica, and my best result was 3rd. I am hoping to go to South America this summer, and next year I am going to compete in every Junior Freeskiing Tour competition.”
“Matt's name started to come up a lot this [season]. Ben Wheeler was the first to tell me about how this kid impressed everyone so much at the Squaw stop of the Junior Freeskiing Tour,” remembers Tecnica/Blizzard Team Manager Frank Shine. “The buzz wasn't just about Matt’s skiing, though. I kept hearing about his attitude, big smile, and good-times approach. At Snowbird he brought it all: high speed turns, spins off cliffs, and backflips. Then, he dove face-first into a pile of snow in the finish corral of the venue to get a laugh from his friends."
Tatum Monod's double backflip video.
1. Tatum Monod
Home Mountain: “Banff will always be my home, but right now I'm based out of Whistler.”
Sponsors: Monod Sports, Rossignol, Orage, Soul Poles, Smith, Icebreaker, and The Soze Group
“Like a lot of athletes her age, what stands out most about Tatum right now is her drive and genuine enthusiasm for skiing, and that's always nice to see!” says ski legend JP Auclair. “On top of that she has a good attitude and a great smile. If she stays hungry and humble, we're going to hear lots more about Tatum in the years to come.”
The first time I saw Tatum Monod ski was in 2011 at Revelstoke for the Canadian Freeskiing Championships. The event was Tatum’s first ever big-mountain competition. Her line choice, aggressive approach, and rock-solid bellied her inexperience, and stood out to everyone watching. The Subaru Freeskiing World Tour judges noticed, too, because Tatum finished on the podium.
This season ended up being another huge one for the 20-year-old from Banff. Among other things, Tatum stomped a double backflip that had lots of people talking and asking, “Who is that?”
“I'm stoked to say that last season was my best season yet,” says Monod. “My highlights were my first ever first descent in Bella Coola, shooting with Robin O'Neil and an amazing group of women in Revelstoke, and, to top it all off, an unforgettable trip to Retallack with Orage where I threw my first ever double backflip.”
Emilia Wint slides a rail while competing in the Dew Tour.
2. Emilia Wint
Home Mountain: Breckenridge
Sponsors: Breckenridge, Volkl, Marker, US Freeskiing
It was a busy season for Emilia Wint, who skis at Breckenridge when she’s not traveling to compete in Slopestyle events.
“When I’m in Breck I ski with a team called Hawks Freeride, run by Chris Hawks (1999 X Games Champion). I also ski with Anna Segal and Kerrie Herman a lot,” says Emilia Wint.
Wint seems destined to follow in the footsteps of the company she keeps at Breckenridge: The Breckenridge shredder logged some serious time atop the Slopestyle podiums in 2012. Third overall on the Dew Tour, Champion at the Aspen Open, third at the US Freeskiing Grand Prix in Mammoth, and second at WSI in Whistler. The highlight, however, of Wint’s incredible season was when she was named to the US Freeskiing Team.
“She’s hardly under the radar because she had a bit of a breakout season, but 17-year-old park ripper Emila Wint is definitely one to watch,” says Chris Adams from Volkl and Marker. “She skis with a style that not a lot of women park skiers have. We think she’ll take women’s park skiing to a whole new level.”
With a high school graduation ceremony coming up soon and the Olympics on the horizon, Emilia Wint’s future is bright.
3. Perry Martin
Home Mountain: Alta/Snowbird
Alta and Snowbird seem to have been a factory that specializes in churning out cool, smart, ripping female skiers recently. Rachael Burks and Angel Collinson are two examples, and on their coattails is 18-year-old Perry Martin.
“Perry is an incredible athlete; she is a powerful, fast, and graceful skier,” says AltaBird FreeRide Head Coach Rob Greener. “Her technique has allowed her to dominate the IFSA Junior Freeskiing Series.”
Perry did absolutely dominate the tour, too, winning two stops on the tour and taking third on the other two while amassing a 100+ gap between the runner-up.
“Perry is really a smart young women, who is sensible and pragmatic. Her hard work both on and off the hill is what sets her apart from her peers,” says Tecnica/Blizzard Team Manager Frank Shine. “What I love about Perry's skiing is that she’s aggressive and drives straight down the fall line. When you see Perry ski, she is not going to waste any time showing why she is the JFT overall champion. The girls on the Freeskiing World Tour better be ready for a new batch of ladies to arrive and shake things up on the big kid tour—Perry is going be knocking on that door first.”
Yuki Tsubota slides a rail. Photo by Nadia Samer.
4. Yuki Tsubota
Home Mountain: Whistler
Sponsors: 4Frnt, The North Face, Skull Candy, Giro, Zett, TMC Freeriderz Pro Shop
“Yuki’s getting better all the time, and she’s a cool girl,” says Mike Douglas about the 18-year-old Whistler native Yuki Tsubtoa. “I’ve been watching her for a long time and she’s been working her way up through the freestyle program at Blackcomb. She has a good chance of making it to the Olympics and she’s super fun to watch.”
With three consecutive slopestyle wins on The Canadian Shield Tour, Tsubota dominated the pro women’s field and earned the overall title. Then, a third place finish (behind Anna Segal and Emilia Wint who finished in first and second, respectively) at WSI/AFP World Championships during the TELUS Ski & Snowboard Festival in her hometown of Whistler, BC thrust Yuki into the big-time.
“When we first were introduced to Yuki we thought her jumping was what stood out from everyone,” says Toben Sutherland, Head Coach of the Canadian Slopestyle Team. “But, at WSI this year one of the rail features was pretty burly, a lot of the guys were even talking about how gnarly it was. Yuki had no problem going 450-on which was pretty impressive for anyone to do, let alone a young girl from Whistler that no one had heard of yet.”
“I think in one word what sticks out about Yuki’s skiing is her determination. She skis pretty hard and if she takes a hit she won’t back down. The Olympic Games are 20 months out and it’s definitely not too late for Yuki. Hopefully, we can roll into the games with her and hopefully she’ll be in the finals and on the podium in Russia.”
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