Willie Borm, age 12
“Last year I had a good year,” Willie says. And by good, he means he threw 1260s, rodeo 7s, and mute 9s to podium at every park event at the Junior Olympics, all while hailing from Hyland Hills, a 300-vertical-foot mound in Minnesota. His favorite part of last season was the Salomon Jib Academy, where he went bowling (and skiing) with Simon Dumont and Sammy Carlson, skiers he will perhaps be beating once he finishes middle school.
Megan Gunning, age 17
Japan. France. Utah. That’s the short list of places this Calgary, Alberta, teenager visited for halfpipe competitions last winter. And she’s a full-time student. “My school adjusts to my needs,” she says of the winter-sports academy she attends in Whistler, BC. With a second-place halfpipe finish at the 2009 FIS World Championships as well as a solid arsenal of spins, Megan is well positioned to catch up to her idol Sarah Burke.
Birk Irving, age 10
“Birk, show us all your tall Ts,” says the filmer of an online video clip showcasing a tiny kid sliding rails and hitting tables to a soundtrack of Redman
and The Game. Whatever Birk’s preferred style of dress (no Transformers shirts here), he is shockingly good. Back flips and spins are no problem for this member of Colorado’s Winter Park Freeride Team, who won almost every comp he entered
Riley Rose, age 15
Casey Rose, age 13
At a junior big-mountain competition at Stevens Pass last winter, these brothers from Alta, Utah, went one-two (Riley took first). “I always cheer for him the whole way down,” Riley says of his brother. “And of course I want him to do well, but I’m secretly praying that I’ll still kick his butt.” Riley won three out of four contests he entered last season, but he’d better watch out—Casey got two podiums and was one of the youngest competitors.
Kelly Sildaru, age 7
Wrap your mind around this: Kelly was born in 2002. She wears a pink helmet. And she can throw back flips, front flips, 540s, and slide pretty much any rail. The Tallinn, Estonia, native is about half the height of any competitor she stands next to on the podium, even when she’s on the first-place block, where she
usually is.—Hillary Procknow
Three more to watch: Leo Ahrens, Simon Ericson, Sam Cohen.