Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Adventure

The Boys of Big Mountain

The next generation of competitive big mountain skiers is, ironically, coming out of Colorado’s pipe and park mecca, Summit County.

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.


Summit Country, Colorado, is the land of much-publicized super-pipes, parks with massive hits, and Dew Tour stops; a place that creates phenoms like…

Summit Country, Colorado, is the land of much-publicized super-pipes, parks with massive hits, and Dew Tour stops; a place that creates phenoms like slopestyler Bobby Brown. The latest crop of homegrown athletes, however, is out to change that stereotype.

This season, the big mountain Junior Freeskiing World Tour—the precursor to the FWT for the under 18 crowd—has been dominated by a crew of Summit County boys.

Three Summit-based junior skiers: Drew Peterson, Ian Borgeson, and George Rodney, consistently stood on the podium this season, and a fourth, Wiley Kaupas, was often in the top ten.

The two-year-old Team Summit big mountain program, coached by former big mountain competitors and pro skiers Jason Anthony and Ryan Van Nuys, is making a strong showing, to say the least. It doesn’t hurt, of course, to have a crew of protégés that are talented, fiercely devoted to their sport and training grounds at small but steep Arapahoe Basin, and who know exactly what they want from skiing. At the tour final in Snowbird, four of the five Team Summit athletes on the tour placed in the top ten.

The ski industry is starting to take notice. There has been a fair amount of publicity surrounding young skiers from better-known big mountain areas, like Utah’s Dubsatch Collective. Until now, the guys have been getting it done quietly, but they’re not going to be under the radar for long.

“Those three kids specifically are making a big mark on the JFT,” says Jim Jack, head judge and guru of the adult and junior FWT. “They go faster and bigger off the same features that the other competitors in their age bracket, and they have the strength and skill necessary to nail it.”

 

 

While most athletes doing well on the JWT have race, mogul, or other types of ski coaching behind them, 16-year old Drew Petersen came up skiing with…

While most athletes doing well on the JWT have race, mogul, or other types of ski coaching behind them, 16-year old Drew Petersen came up skiing with his brother. “Drew was just a local shredding kid until he joined the big mountain team at the start of last season,” says Van Nuys.  He’s been blowing the doors off of the junior scene since he arrived at Crested Butte for his first competition hoping to at least make the finals. He ended up with a second place finish.

“Growing up here makes us fundamentally strong skiers,” Petersen says. “If you are hitting cliffs in technical terrain, you have to stomp the landing. Because we ski on steep terrain and hit airs to hardpack we are comfortable once we get into bigger terrain,” he says, lauding the very things that most skiers think they want to avoid.

He has set goals far beyond that of his first comp, including winning the overall JWT title, and moving on to the FWT. Plus, he has his eyes on coveted awards like the Sickbird and the North Face Young Gun, and to film with major companies. 

 

When Colin Collins landed the first-ever 720 in a FWT(read:adult) comp at Revelstoke in January, Ian Borgeson wasn’t far behind him. “I’d been…

When Colin Collins landed the first-ever 720 in a FWT(read:adult) comp at Revelstoke in January, Ian Borgeson wasn’t far behind him. “I’d been thinking about doing a cork 7 off this windlip at Crystal [a JWT stop],” he mentions when asked about the progression of freeskiing competition.  He hit it, but the landing wasn’t clean. So, he threw one at the Snowbird competition, and stomped the trick. Borgeson modestly qualifies this achievement. “It wasn’t off a natural feature. So it’s not quite as cool.”

That will most likely be the bar when the next generation of kids turn 18 and hit the FWT. “Drew and Ian see the flashy and technical lines that make their skiing shine,” says Jim Jack from the judge’s viewpoint. “They have a bright future and are making good decisions for being top contenders. They will most certainly be athletes to watch as they get older and compete on the Freeskiing World Tour.”

He took third on the tour this year, and is ready to step up his game but he still plans to ski with his Summit teammates. “I can’t think of anyone I’d rather shred with, “ he says.

A highly competitive racer until he switched to Team Summit’s big mountain program this season, Rodney can’t seem to shake his background. “Big…

A highly competitive racer until he switched to Team Summit’s big mountain program this season, Rodney can’t seem to shake his background. “Big George will simply take the entire venue,” Jim Jack says about Rodney’s style in competition.  
 
“He skis really fast and technically solid, and takes huge airs,” says Van Nuys. “But the best thing is that he’s always having fun no matter what —he doesn’t care if he crashes.”  
 
Rodney, who attends Winter School in Salt Lake City, will be graduating in the fall and heading back to Summit to continue to train for the adult tour and compete on that next year. He’s just picked up Smith and SkullCandy as sponsors, and after throwing a 60-foot back flip in the JWT event at Snowbird, he’ll be someone to watch on next year’s FWT.