Age is just a number and these 18 and under athletes are here to prove that they can hang with the best despite their youthful handicap. They may have less time on the slopes to date and less years in the snow in general, but what they lack in years they make up for in talent and fearless determination.
Like most athletes, these shredders focus on balancing training, competition and their social lives; but these teen dynamos have the added pressure of balancing the life of a professional athlete with the woes of being a teenager.
Check out which Dew Tour athletes are balancing school, learning to drive and even fulfilling their Olympic dreams below.
Torin Yater-Wallace, Superpipe final, 2011 Dew Tour at Breckenridge, CO
Torin Yater-Wallace (18)
Torin Yater-Wallace is the future of freeskiing.
An Aspen, Colorado native, he attends Aspen High School, which at times can be tricky for such a superstar, but he somehow finds time for schoolwork between traveling the world and maintaining his title as the AFP halfpipe World Champion.
This serious shredder is no stranger to big competitions. He made history as the youngest Winter X Games medalist in 2011 and later earned his first Dew Tour victory in January 2012. Yater-Wallce is hungry and ready for another win this Dew Tour.
Yater-Wallace will compete in Superpipe and is looking to take home another win this week.
Aaron Blunck (17)
Aaron Blunck is a Crested Butte, Colorado homegrown and skiing is in his blood. Blunck’s mother and grandfather are ski instructors and had him on his first pair of skis at 18 months old. Since then, Blunck has become a regular on the Revolution Tour and another shot of energy at the Dew Tour.
Blunck recently transferred to the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy where he can better manage his studies with training and competition. This freeski phenom is going big places and not letting anything get in his way.
This week he’ll be shredding the superpipe at Breck and showing the world he is ready for his first Dew Tour podium!
Ayumu Hirano, Superpipe final, 2012 Dew Tour at Breckenridge, CO
Ayumu Hirano (15)
Ayumu Hirano is your standard definition of a prodigy — a person with exceptional talents.
Hirano isn’t legally old enough to fly on an airline to Dew Tour alone, but he has no problem flying solo through the superpipe like a full-grown professional. At only 15 years old, Hirano is being slated not just as the next Shaun White, but the one to knock Shaun White out of the coveted first place spot.
This goofy stance snowboarder is doing big things in snowboard superpipe and represents the progression of snowboarding. Hirano is currently ranked number one within the International Ski Federation, which makes us excited to see if he can scoop the win this week in Breckenridge and take his first steps to making history!
Ty Walker (16)
Before Ty Walker was 13 years old she could throw backside 720s off jumps with the style and air of anyone twice her age. This straight-A student has found a way to balance studying, friends and a serious competition schedule.
With experience competing in both slopestyle and halfpipe, Walker will take on slopestyle at Dew Tour this week as a proud member of the U.S. Snowboarding Team.
Arielle Gold, Superpipe final, 2012 Dew Tour at Breckenridge, CO
Arielle Gold (17)
Arielle Gold has been drawing some well-deserved attention and turning heads as of late. With the newly earned title of 2013 FIS World Snowboarding champion in the halfpipe, Gold’s skillset has been cemented into the minds of her competition making her the biggest threat to take all in the pipe.
Gold has been snowboarding since she was 7 years old, when her older brother inspired her to switch from skis to a snowboard. The two now compete in halfpipe competitions around the world.
Gold is one to watch this season as she could very likely knock some Dew Tour legends off the superpipe podium and out of the U.S. Olympic team running.
Kyle Mack (16)
Before he was legally allowed behind the wheel of a car, Kyle Mack was the first person to land a triple cork in competition. Who needs a license when you can do that?
At 15 years old, Mack was already taking podiums around the world, from Switzerland to Canada. This Michigan native started out on a custom snowboard at just 3 years old. Nowadays Mack can be spotted competing with professionals more than twice his age in both halfpipe and slopestyle.
Kyle Mack is a small kid with huge tricks. This ripper has already proved his longevity by returning to the podium each season and we can’t wait to watch him throw down something huge in slopestyle at Breck!