Canyon Critters: The Rising Star

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The Rising Star

Cody Barnhill makes a mean Caesar salad. The 22-year-old spent his inaugural season as a line cook at the upscale Rustler, where he sleeps in a sardine-can-size room in the employee section known as the Ghetto. His salad skills have improved tenfold - he's an excellent smasher of garlic.

Sadly, though, Barnhill doesn't have many salads left to make. Photographers are lining up to shoot him. People are calling him the next big mountain poster boy, the next Sage Cattabriga-Alosa - who was discovered a few years back while scrubbing pots at the Peruvian. "The kid is hot," says Utah-based photographer Will Wissman. "I shoot all the new guys, and Cody's definitely got the whole package. He's new-school but he can also make turns."

On his first qualifying run at Snowbird's U.S. Freeskiing Open in 2005 - the first big mountain competition he'd ever entered - Cody pulled a massive spread eagle off his first hit. The crowd went wild. Spectators said it was one of the most impressive runs of the day. The judges didn't agree, and Cody missed the finals. Everyone said he was robbed. But team managers at Rossignol, Smith, and The North Face, all of whom recently picked him up, know the kid's got promise. "He's not afraid to throw tricks off natural cliffs, land switch and everything," says Gabe Schroder, Smith's team manager. "Sky's the limit for him."

Later, up in Montana, during a race at Red Lodge's Winter Carnival - the first skijoring competition he'd ever entered - Barnhill fared better. "I just told the cowboy on the horse to give it all ya got, I'll hang on." He took home $500.

OCTOBER 2005