young bloods

“Respect your elders!”

Yeah, well, respect the kids, too. Because despite all the doom and gloom reports about how misguided this generation is because they have smartphones in fourth grade, wear flat-brim hats, don’t read literature, and consider texting “writing,” they continue to cause change by having more fun than most. And all you actual “readers” out there, let’s be frank: The world could use more fun.

The annual list of the top 20 skiers 18 and under is back with a new name—Young Bloods—and a new top dog. We queried a vast panel of coaches, former pros, and respected industry mainstays. But we didn’t just stick to kids vying for a movie segment or Winter X pipe or slope spot. We considered racers, aerialists, and mogul skiers, too, and the diversity of skiers represented in the following pages is probably the coolest part about this catalog (actually, their tween and teen responses are comedy). Because it represents how spectacular, not segmented, skiing is with its multiple genres.

This year, joining the likes of previous number-one ranked Young Bloods, Sean Pettit and Sean Jordan, is Torin Yater-Wallace. But make no mistake, the Aspen/Snowmass 16-year-old isn’t here because of an incredible pipe season. He busted his ass while filming for Level 1 and proved his light shines brightest when he’s away from the comp scene and doing his own creative project. So reign on, T.Y.W.; this year, the Young Bloods crown is yours. Because don’t think for a minute Mikaela Shiffrin, one year your senior, won’t be joining you in Sochi.— John Stifter, Mike Rogge, and John Clary Davies

PHOTO: David Malacrida

1. Torin Yater-Wallace
Age: 16
Hometown: Basalt, Colorado
Home ski hill: Aspen/Snowmass
Career highlights: 1st place, 2012 AFP Halfpipe rankings; 2nd place, 2012 AFP Overall rankings; Gold medalist, 2012 Euro X SuperPipe; Bronze medalist, 2012 Winter X Games SuperPipe; 1st place, 2012 Winter Dew Tour Halfpipe, Killington; Film segments in Matchstick Productions’ Attack of La Niña and Level 1 Productions’ Sunny

The young Teflon Don, Yater-Wallace mid-flight at Sun Valley, Idaho. PHOTO: Erik Seo/Level 1

Who is your favorite musician at the moment? Rick Ross Who are your ski idols/mentors? Candide Thovex and Andreas Håtveit What is your favorite ski movie segment? Andreås Hatveit in Poor Boyz Productions’ Reasons and Sammy Carlson in Poor Boyz Productions’ Yeah DudeFavorite book: The Hunger Games What’s your favorite subject in school? Lunch Name one thing outside of skiing most people don’t know about you: I am scared of frogs. They are so slimy. What was your first trick on skis that you were proud of? The first time I did a 540 at a mogul event at Winter Park when I was 8. Who’s your favorite skier outside of your skiing discipline? Sean Pettit What’s your favorite sports team? Manchester United

PHOTO: Jonathan Selkowitz

2. Mikaela Shiffrin
Age: 17
Hometown: Avon, Colorado
Home ski hill: Vail/Burke Mountain
Career highlights: 3rd place, 2012 F.I.S. World Cup Slalom, Levi; 1st place, 2012 U.S. National Championships Slalom; 3rd place, 2012 F.I.S. World Cup Slalom, Lienz

"We got a renegade going O.B." Shiffrin attacking gates and outrunning ski patrol at Aspen, Colorado. PHOTO: Jonathan Selkowitz

What is your favorite food? Cooked eggs What’s the most amount of trouble you’ve ever gotten in? I had my lift ticket pulled at the end of the day at Winter Park when I went under the rope about four feet off the groomed trail to get some fresh tracks. What do you ski on? Atomic GS 188, SL 158 Who is your favorite musician at the moment? The Shins Favorite ski movie segment:Bode Miller: Flying Downhill Favorite book:Harry PotterFavorite ski photographer: My dad

PHOTO: Miles Holden/Red Bull Content Pool

3. Nick Goepper
Age: 18
Hometown: Lawrenceburg, Indiana
Home ski hill: Mount Snow, Vermont; Perfect North Slopes, Indiana
Career highlights: Silver medalist, 2012 Winter X Games Slopestyle; 1st place, 2012 Winter Dew Tour Slopestyle, Snowbasin; 3rd place, 2012 Winter Dew Tour Slopestyle, Killington

Life is all blue skies and oatmeal cream pies for Goepper here at the 2012 Winter Slopestyle competition at Aspen. PHOTO: Scott Markewitz

Best ski day ever? The night I got second at [W]X Games last season. If you weren’t a professional skier, what would you want to be? A professional surfer on the ASP World Tour, or a bald eagle. What is your favorite food? Spaghetti. I also love Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies. Name your favorite book you’ve ever read:The Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. What’s your favorite all-time ski movie segment? J.P. Auclair in RevolverName something outside of skiing most people don’t know about you: I own three very expensive guitars but don’t know how to play them. I also urinate like 50 times a day, and I love to play ping pong. Best advice you’ve ever received? 10,000 hours of anything will make you an expert at it.

PHOTO: BLAKE JORGENSON

4. Logan Pehota
Age: 17
Hometown: Pemberton, British Columbia
Home ski hill: Whistler/Blackcomb
Career highlights: 6th place, 2012 Red Bull Cold Rush; 1st place, Wrangle The Chute; Film appearance in Matchstick Productions’ Superheroes of Stoke

PHOTO: BLAKE JORGENSON

What’s your favorite subject in school? Mechanics Who is the most beautiful skier of the opposite sex? Lindsey Vonn Who is your favorite musician at the moment? The Roots If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Flying Who are your ski idols/mentors? Dane Tudor influences my skiing, but I will always be mentored by my father. Name your favorite ski movie segment: Colby James West in Attack of La NiñaWhat’s your favorite website, skiing and non-skiing? Newschoolers and YouTube Who’s your favorite skier outside of your skiing discipline? Bode Miller

PHOTO: ALESSANDRO BELLUSCIO

5. Kai Mahler
Age: 17
Hometown: Zurich, Switzerland
Home ski hill: Laax
Career highlights: Silver medalist, 2012 Winter X Games Big Air; 1st place, 2012 Nine Knights Big Air; 2012 Junior World Slopestyle Champion

PHOTO: ALESSANDRO BELLUSCIO

Who are your ski idols/mentors? Mike Hornbeck What is one food you can not live without? Pasta What is your favorite non-ski movie?Forrest GumpFavorite ski photographer: Alessandro Belluscio

PHOTO: STEVE LLOYD

6. Grant Howard
Age: 16
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Home ski hill: Alta/Snowbird
Career highlights: 2nd overall, Junior Freeskiing Tour; 1st place, 2012 Junior Freeskiing Tour, Crystal Mountain; 1st place, Junior Freeskiing Nationals, Snowbird

PHOTO: ADAM CLARK

What’s your most embarrassing moment? Not doing a trick when Andrew Pollard does. Who is your favorite skier? My ski idols would have to be Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and Bobby Brown. Favorite book:Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussWho is your favorite ski photographer? Adam Clark What is your favorite ski movie segment of all time? Dane Tudor in The Grand Bizarre by Poor Boyz Productions If you could only ski at one place for the rest of my life, where would it be? Alta How do you end a first date? I ask what her name is.

PHOTO: DANIEL TENGS

7. Jesper Tjäder
Age: 18
Hometown: Östersund, Sweden
Home ski hill: Gustavsbergsbacken
Career highlights: Film appearances in Field Productions’ Side by Side and Being There, Winter Project’s Anima, Junkies on a Budget’s In Space; 2nd place, New Zealand Freeski Open Slopestyle; Best Trick, Field Productions’ Rail Jam; 6th place King of Style Big Air

PHOTO: DANIEL TENGS

Name one thing outside of skiing most people don’t know about you: I got second at the North Swedish Championships of Miniature Golf a few years ago. Who’s your favorite skier outside of your skiing discipline? Erik Roner Best advice you’ve ever received? “Don’t be a pussy!”

PHOTO: LIAM DORAN

8. Drew Petersen
Age: 18
Hometown: Silverthorne, Colorado
Home ski hill: Arapahoe Basin
Career highlights: 1st place, 2012 Junior Events Tour of the Americas; 2nd place, 2012 Junior Freeskiing Tour, Squaw Valley

PHOTO: LIAM DORAN

What’s your most embarrassing moment? I sent some flirtatious text messages to a guy, thinking that it was a girl’s number. Who are your ski idols/mentors? My dad, brother, and one of my best friends, Ian Borgeson. I also look to guys like Eric Hjorleifson, James Heim, and Lars Chickering-Ayers. What’s one thing you always travel with? Gummy bears and/or Junior Mints What’s your favorite ski movie segment? Kye Petersen in TGR’s Lost and Found. Really inspiring to see a kid that young charging like he does. What’s your favorite subject in school? My two favorite classes are writing and a foundations of business class that discusses historical, ethical, moral, and religious implications of the world of commerce. Who is your favorite musician at the moment? Marc-Andre Belliveau What’s your favorite non-ski movie? Good Will Hunting Favorite book: Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About the BikeIf you could only ski one place for the rest of your life, where would it be? I would have to say A-Basin. There’s no place like home. Who is the most beautiful skier of the opposite sex? Sarah Burke. RIP. But also, Julia Mancuso. She has the greatest Lange Girl poster. What is your favorite food? Cheese dogs.

PHOTO: MIKE SCHIRF

9. Perry Martin
Age: 18
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Home ski hill: Snowbird
Career highlights: 1st place overall, 2012 Women’s Junior Freeskiing Tour; 1st place, 2011 Women’s Junior Freeskiing Tour Overall

PHOTO: MIKE SCHIRF

Favorite book:The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald What’s your best ski day ever? April 9, 2009. Four feet of Utah powder overnight. If you weren’t a professional skier, what would you want to be? An artist or architect What was your first trick on skis that you were proud of? Spread Eagle! Who are your ski idols/mentors? Sarah Burke was a huge idol of mine. Angel Collinson is a huge influence to me just because she has always been so supportive, and we grew up being coached by the same coaches. What’s your favorite non-ski movie? Into the Wild or any Harry Potter movie What’s your favorite ski movie segment? Eric Hjorleifson in Superheroes of StokeName one thing outside of skiing most people don’t know about you: I love tattoos and artwork. I am a nerd and study my ass off. How do you end a first date? A hug and a smile

PHOTO: VILLE-PETTERI MAATA

10. Anti Ollilia
Age: 17
Hometown: Rovaniemi, Finland
Home ski hill: Ounasvaara
Career highlights: Film appearances in Legs of Steel’s Nothing Else Matters, Flatlight Films’ Hello, and Nipwitz’s One and Polar Night; 4th place, 2012 The North Face New Zealand Freeski Open Slopestyle; 1st Place, 2012 Finnish Open Slopestyle and Big Air

PHOTO: VILLE-PETTERI MAATA

What’s the most amount of trouble you’ve ever gotten in? I had some serious trouble on my way from Kaprun, Austria, to Tignes for the Euro X Games. I was traveling alone in a train. When changing the train in Innsbruck, I somehow got my bag and backpack in the train and missed the train myself, so I only had a ski bag left. I had to stay one extra night in Zurich and missed the first training day. Worst day of my life. Favorite ski movie segment:Mike Hornbeck in After DarkIf you could only ski one place for the rest of your life, where would it be? Ruka, Finland. It’s close to my hometown. The park is good, laps are fast, it has night skiing in wintertime, and I have so many friends there.

PHOTO: JORDAN HARPER

11. Andy Partridge
Age: 16
Hometown: Park City, Utah
Home ski hill: The Canyons
Career highlights: 1st Place, 2012 Gatorade Free Flow Slopestyle

PHOTO: AARON DODDS

Favorite ski movie segment: Shea Flynn’s segment in The Eighty Six gives me chills every time. Favorite book:Harry Potter 2. I read it like three times for some reason. Most Embarrassing Moment: In 4th grade I ate like 12 dandelions to make myself throw up so I could go home, and the teacher saw me eating dandelions so when I threw up he told my whole class what I did and how stupid I was. I didn’t get to leave either. Favorite subject in school: I took geometry this year and it was pretty tight. What are your future goals in skiing? I just really want to make an edit with tons of handrails and lines at PCMR. What is your favorite après-skiing beverage? Double strength Kool-Aid What is your favorite food? Eggo waffles

PHOTO: BEN GRUNROW

12. Will Hibbs
Age: 18
Hometown: Jericho, Vermont
Home ski hill: Stowe, Vermont
Career highlights: Film appearances in Meathead Films’ Prime Cut and No Matter What bonus movie; 16th place, 2012 Dew Tour Qualifier Slopestyle

PHOTO: Erik Seo/Level 1

What was your first pair of skis? Some awesome little Mickey Mouse Elans Who is your favorite musician at the moment? Jerry Garcia Favorite ski movie segment: Dave Crichton in Forward and Chris Logan in After DarkMost Embarrassing Moment: I peed myself on the chairlift once. What’s the most amount of trouble you’ve ever gotten in? I missed 65 math classes senior year of high school and somehow still graduated. What’s one thing you always travel with? A crystal What’s your favorite non-ski movie?Inception If you could only ski one place for the rest of your life, where would it be? Jackson Hole Who is the most beautiful skier of the opposite sex? Julia Mancuso Name one thing outside of skiing most people don’t know about you: I meditate

PHOTO: BEN HOWELL

13. Dara Howell
Age: 18
Hometown: Huntsville, Ontario, Canada
Home ski hill: Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area
Career highlights: Bronze medalist, Euro X Games Slopestyle; 2nd place, 2012 AFP Overall Slopestyle rankings; 6th place, 2012 WX Games Slopestyle; 2nd place, 2012 New Zealand Open Slopestyle; 3rd place, 2012 End of the World Challenge World Cup

PHOTO: TOBEN SUTHERLAND

Who are your ski idols/mentors? My ski idols are definitely Sarah Burke, my grandfather Ken Raven (he is 89 years old and still rips), and Kaya Turski, ’cause she is a boss. Favorite book: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess What’s one thing you always travel with? My pink and blue figure skating blanket Best ski day ever? The best day so far was getting third at Euro X. What is your favorite food? Kale chips, obvi What’s your favorite website, skiing and non-skiing? Newschoolers and Victoria’s Secret Who’s your favorite skier outside of your skiing discipline? Parker White How do you end a first date with the opposite sex? A long and slow handshake. Sometimes I throw in a hair tousle and pat on the back.

PHOTO: TIM LLOYD

14. Gian Ragettli
Age: 17
Hometown: Laax, Switzerland
Home ski hill: Laax/Flims
Career highlights: 1st place overall, 2012 Junior Freeride World Tour

PHOTO: GAUDENZ DANUSER

Favorite musician at the moment: Johnny Cash What’s your favorite ski movie: Old but gold, Teddybear CrisisWhat is your favorite place to ski: The Eiger Nordwand What is your favorite food: Swiss cheese fondue. What else? Who is your favorite skier outside of your discipline? Didier Cuche If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I would like to fly. Where would you like to be in 20 years? Have a nice villa with my five future huskies Favorite team: F.C. Liverpool

PHOTO: STEVE DEPINO

15. Mac Bohonnon
Age: 17
Hometown: Madison, Connecticut
Home ski hill: Bromley/Stratton
Career highlights: 3rd place, 2012 U.S. National Aerial Championships; 5th place, 2012 Junior World Championships; 2nd Place, 2012 Junior Olympics

PHOTO: DAVID BOHONNON

What’s the most amount of trouble you’ve ever gotten in? I never get caught Who are your ski idols/mentors? Eric Bergoust and Shane McConkey Favorite ski movie segment: Parker White’s segment in SunnyFavorite book you’ve ever read: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe Most embarrassing moment: Competing in moguls when I was younger, I did a back flip on the bottom air and my snowpants fell to my ankles. What’s one thing you always travel with? My ping pong paddle What are your future goals in skiing? To be a U.S. Olympic champion and do six twists in three flips If you weren’t a professional skier, what would you want to be? An attorney Who’s your favorite skier outside of your skiing discipline? The Saucer Boy

PHOTO: THOMAS KLEIVEN

16. Johan Berg
Age: 17
Hometown: Oslo, Norway
Home ski hill: Oslo Vinterpark and Varingskollen
Career highlights: 3rd place, 2012 Nissan Shogun Big Air; 7th place, 2012 Youth Olympics Halfpipe; Film appearances in Dedicated Pictures’ Been There Done That and Chaoz Productions’ Shoot Me.

PHOTO: THOMAS KLEIVEN

Who is your favorite musician at the moment? Kendrick Lamar Favorite ski movie segment: Parker White in After Dark by Level 1 Favorite book:Doppler by Erlend Loe Favorite subject: German What’s your favorite non-ski movie?AnchormanWhat was your first trick on skis that you were proud of? I was super stoked on my daffies when I first started jumping If you could only ski one place for the rest of your life, where would it be? Mammoth Name one thing outside of skiing most people don’t know about you: I did gymnastics for four years before I started skiing What is your favorite après-skiing beverage? A glass of cold milk

PHOTO: PP DE MEIJER

17. Mees Van Lierop
Age: 17
Hometown: Bergeijk, the Netherlands
Home ski hill: Montana Snowcenter (an indoor slope in the Netherlands)
Career highlights: Landing doubles indoors; 12th place after first run, 2012 Junior World Championships in Italy

PHOTO: PP DE MEIJER

Who is your ski idol? Tom Wallisch Favorite book: Never read a single book in my life Favorite subject in school: Economics What is your favorite non-ski movie? The Silence of the LambsBest ski day ever? Skiing in Laax with my friends at the Dutch Championships and landing my first double cork 1260 and switch 1440. If you could only ski one place for the rest of your life, where would it be? Breckenridge, but I’ve never been there. Name one thing outside of skiing most people don’t know about you: I game pretty much. If you weren’t a professional skier, what would you want to be? Entrepreneur How do you end a first date with the opposite sex? Get money

PHOTO: JENNY PAGE

18. Keaton McCargo
Age: 17
Hometown: Telluride, Colorado
Home ski hill: Telluride
Career highlights: Bronze medalist, 2012 U.S. National Championships Dual Moguls; 10th place, 2012 NorAm Grand Prix; 11 regional podium finishes, including five wins

PHOTO: NORI LUPFER

Favorite ski movie segment: MSP, The Way I See It, Bobby Brown, Gus Kenworthy, Russ Henshaw, Colby West hitting a huge jump in Alyeska. Favorite book you’ve ever read:The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman What’s one thing you always travel with? I always travel with my sketchbook so I can doodle and draw cool things I see. Dream trip: To go heli-skiing in Alaska with all of my idols and just huck big flips off big cliffs all day. If you weren’t a professional skier, what would you want to be? A professional stunt woman/skydiver

PHOTO: BILLY WALLER

19. Noah Morrison
Age: 18
Hometown: Vernon, British Columbia
Home ski hill: Silver Star
Career highlights: Canadian Junior National Champion Big Air and Slopestyle; 8th place, 2012 WSI Slopestyle; U.S. Revolution Tour Overall winner; 1st place, 2012 Canadian Open Slopestyle

PHOTO: ROCKY MALONEY

Who is your favorite musician? Lynyrd Skynyrd Favorite book: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton Most Embarrassing moment? Running over a parking meter during my drivers test

PHOTO: David Malacrida

20. Kelly Sildaru
Age: 10
Hometown: Tallinn, Estonia
Home ski hill: Nõmme Lumepark
Career highlights: 1st place, 2012 Polish Freeskiing Open; 1st place, 2012 Mayrhofen Freeski Open; landing a switch 900 mute; viral edits

Tween Dream

Kelly Sildaru is one of the most famous skiers in the world. Not just because she’s all over the Internet, where her video edits have been viewed nearly two million times. Or because she went undefeated in professional slopestyle contests last year at age 9, winning three events in three countries.

The best measurement of Sildaru’s fame is the almost mythical distinction she carries among those who have seen her ski, including the same pros she idolizes.

“We were in Tignes, France, during Winter X Europe last spring, and Kelly was going to forerun the course,” says Nike Ski Team Manager Jake Largess. “Kelly and I were walking to the snowmobiles to catch a ride up, and all the competitors were waiting for a ride, too. Right when they saw us, they just stopped and looked. You could hear some of the pros whispering: ‘No way-that’s Kelly.’ Some of the biggest names in the sport were saying that.”

Sildaru, who lives in Tallinn, Estonia, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, already wears a customized Red Bull helmet and has been on K2′s global team since she was 7. Now 10, she is the only member of the Estonian National Freeskiing Team and receives a travel budget from four companies—Red Bull, K2, Nike, and Spy—that totals $14,000, more than most adult pros. When she won the Polish Freeskiing Open last winter, she did so in a bib that hung down to her shins. When she registered for the Mayrhofen Freeski Open in Austria, event organizers posted a “breaking news” update on their website a la Paul Revere: Kelly Sildaru is coming! She later won the contest with a switch 900 mute, something only a handful of women are landing on the pro circuit.

“She’s the one skier, other than [Sean] Pettit, who seems to blow the athletes’ minds when they see the content she puts out,” says K2 Marketing Director Mike Powell.

And she has been doing that since she was 6. Back then, before she began throwing switch rodeo 540s off backcountry kickers for the French film company PVS, Sildaru was jumping off stone hut roofs and learning new park tricks on airbags. She’d already learned to spin both ways at age 7, the same year she landed her first 720. She is a model of style on rails, too, as evidenced by her “Best Jib” award at the 2011 Nine Queens big-air contest in Switzerland, where she participated as a special guest since the jump was too big for her to hit.

Most of her skiing heritage can be traced to her father, Tõnis, a diehard skier who sells roofing materials when he’s not filming and editing Kelly’s footage. Since their home resort is only 250 feet high (Estonia, a former Soviet territory, is best known for its cross-country racers), the Sildarus do much of their skiing elsewhere in Europe, including a resort in Finland that requires a three-hour ferry ride. If she can’t ski, Kelly practices tricks on her trampoline until she can land them “with my eyes closed,” she says-the required level of mastery before she tries them on snow.

“She will probably dominate women’s freeskiing in a few years,” says 2009 F.I.S. Halfpipe World Champion Virginie Faivre, who has skied with Sildaru a handful of times.

“She’s obviously very talented,” adds three-time Winter X Games slopestyle champ Kaya Turski.

Some of the pros’ comments under a recent edit—”Wanted”—speak to her promise in the years to come. “You are definitely the best female park skier I’ve ever seen,” wrote Collin Collins. Torin Yater-Wallace called the same edit “the sickest video I have ever seen.”

PHOTO: David Malacrida

All of which makes it easy to forget she’s only four-foot-seven and 66 pounds. She still plays with dolls and likes to paint her nails and wears makeup, her dad says. But she and her brother Henry, who is 5 and an impressive skier in his own right, also practice interviewing each other as if they’ve just won the Winter X Games. “That is my biggest dream and goal,” says Kelly. Looking beyond that, if you were to make a list of the 2018 Olympic slopestyle favorites, Sildaru’s name would probably be at the top. At the rate she’s going, she’ll be a seasoned veteran by then—all of 16 years old. —Devon O’Neil