[Above: Mons Røisland at the Air+Style Innsbruck. Photo: Sami Tuoriniemi]
Check out 10 snowboarders aged 20 or under who we're predicting will make an impact on snowboarding over the next couple of years...
After a long, somewhat weird season on the Grand Old Continent of Europa, we now have the time to lay back and take stock of the past winter. And seeing as – like in all walks of life - kids are the future we thought it would be worth flagging up some young European rippers with the potential to make an impact on Euroboarding and beyond over the next couple of years.
So we set out to present 10 Euros aged 20 or under who've popped on our radar recently who have the potential to firmly establish themselves in the mix. We consciously avoided pre-teens like Nico Bondi, Marcy Grassis and Anniina Perhovaara here because, as full of talent as these kids are, it will be a good few years before their impact could be felt. But '10 Euro Young Bucks Under 20 and Post Growth Spurt' doesn't quite have the same ring to it...
So here you go: 10 young 'uns we predict we'll be seeing more from over next couple seasons. No pressure, kids!
Fridtjof Tischendorf - 20 - Norway
[The Fridge in action last year.]
As one of the invited rookies at our inaugural Send Off Session, we've known for a while what Fridtjof has in his locker. Since then he had a couple of years bossing it kinda under the radar, until this winter when he's really started to blow up. For reasons best known to himself Fridtjof tends to ride with a backpack full of Smirnoff Ice (even in his contest runs) and gloves hanging off his waistband - but it sure seems to be working. He's also adept at not only pulling off fancy fast spins and flips, but doing stuff that makes snowboarding look fun - see his knuckle tricks from a couple years back, his bellyflop McTwist, and his backflip chairlift bonk as just a couple of examples. Recently The Fridge rolled into Superpark, turning up as Halldor's unknown li'l homie, and lit the place up departing as the Rookie of the Week.
[Below: Rowan Coultas sending it in Sölden last season. Photo: Roland Haschka/QParks]
Rowan Coultas - 19 - UK
This British kid has been bubbling around on the European scene for a while due to his parents relocating to Mayrhofen when he was a kid. The skills he honed lapping the Penken Park and trying to keep up with his big brother-of-another-mother Jamie Nicholls paid dividends as he regularly was regularly winning Grom division contests in and around Austria as a nipper, though hitting the big features tended to be tricky as he was just too damn small. Once he'd eaten some pies and shot up, though, he quickly stepped to the big stuff, locking in a variety of slow styled and big tech spins, developed a strong jib game and even got himself in the triple cork club. Now recognised as a talent on man-made terrain, last year he scored an invite to the Air+Style Innsbruck and acquitted himself admirably - making the finals, putting down a flawless Cab double 12 and ending up a respectable fifth in a strong field. He'll also be flying the flag for Blighty when the Olympics rolls around.
Mons Røisland - 20 - Norway
[Mons getting creamy with fellow Norseman Torgeir Bergerm]
Another ripper straight off the Norwegian conveyor belt, Mons has been on our radar since he turned up as a young kid at a DC Team Week and blew minds. Now a fully formed adult, after becoming another winning graduate of the World Rookie Finals he's established himself as a regular on the contest circuit and has a couple of major podiums under his belt already. But refreshingly, like a few of his peers, he's not just content to spin the spinniest Mute grab ever; he's been stoking us out experimenting with things like back 12s in DC's Hit&Run banked slalom race, Cab butter to back 12s, and no-grab double Rippey flips off side hits. He has edge skills, too, as witnessed by his recent win at the Riks Banked Slalom. The boy is a machine.
Katie Ormerod - 19 - UK
Scouted out as a kid with potential by current GB Park & Pipe programme manager Lesley McKenna, Katie progressed steadily through her early teens, but it was when she became the first girl to stomp a back double 10 at a mere 16-years-old that made the world sit up and take notice. She also bagged a World Rookie crown that year, and since then has received invites to the more prestigious events out there. Case in point, Katie was in the pack of girls selected to take part in the first women's Big Air at Air + Style last year, where she held her own against the best in the game and finished up second. She's tough as nails too - not shy of taking a beating when learning tricks, and at the World Champs this year she broke her back, but is already jumping again. Beast!
[Below: Kids hyped on watching Marcus Kleveland boost at the Laax Open. Photo: Sam Oetiker]
Marcus Kleveland - 19 - Norway
There's no brainers and no brainers, and Kleveland getting in here is a no brainer. This Norwegian prodigy has been double corking since 12, triple corking since 13, quad corking since 16, but he has the good decency to keep us entertained with his equally wizardly knuckle tricks and funtime home mountain laps. In the contest arena, after a couple years of threatening, this season was when he finally got the monkey off his back and won the Air+Style Beijing, quickly backed up by a win in the X Games Slopestyle and a silver in X Games Big Air, where he became the first person to drop a quad at a contest. Filming-wise, in addition to having a gram fulled with madness, he's shot with his Nitro homies for their team videos, and he's already dipped his toes in Japanese powder a couple of years back with senseis Ettala and Sorsa.
Kasper de Zoete - 18 - Netherlands
Unlike most of the rest of the riders here, Kasper de Zoete isn't spending half the year bouncing from continent to continent on the World FIS Dew Tour of X Games tip. He mainly stays home in the Netherlands, hits up indoor slopes and makes edits with his flatland homies. But he's damned tasty on indoor rails and has been producing the well-received DomeTrash webisodes over the past couple of summers, feeding us with an alternate look at summer shredding from the regular onslaught of glacier edits. Should he get the opportunity to get into the streets more, we reckon he could certainly do some damage – or he might choose to stay holed up in his fridges. As long as he keeps producing his edits, we'll be seeing more of this kid.
[Below: Rene Rinnekangas makes sure his seatbelt is buckled. Photo: Tatu Toivanen]
Rene Rinnekangas - 17 - Finland
Finland has a solid history of not only churning out talented young riders but of them banding together in crews to get shit done off their own backs. So when the 292 Crew came on the scene three years back with their DIY movie, Haloo, they were continuing this fine tradition – which we're always stoked on – and Rene had us super hyped as a tiny 14-year-old mini-man with legit street and park footage, and a slick style to boot. Since then 292 Crew has grown, as has Rene, and he's been hooked up with Rome while holding down a succession of tasty parts. He's also bagged a creamy cameo in Ruka Cream, and been keeping his Gram game on point with goods like this.
Birkir Georgsson - 17 - Iceland
[Birkir and his buds bossing it in Tirilparken]
From the island that birthed the Helgasons, Birkir has beaten the same odds as his established countrymen (after all, there's only 332,529 people in Iceland) and gotten damn good on a snowboard. He's already snagged himself a World Rookie Fest crown earlier this year (a reliable baromoter of impending talent - Ståle Sandbach, Roope Tonteri and Christian Haller are previous winners of World Rookie Tour events), but we were even more stoked to see him hit the road without a bib, link up with the Norwegians in Tirilparken and shred the spring slush like a G.
[Below: Max De Vries introducing himself at our Send Off Session a couple of years back. Photo: Matt Georges]
Max De Vries - 18 - The Netherlands
Max rocked up to our last Send Off Session in Levi as a fresh-faced 16-year-old with some head turning skills on rails and kickers. He even got naked for us, which is probably just about legal. After this and his earlier appearances in the work of Postland Theory we were expecting him to kick on, but the following autumn he broke his ankle pre-season in Stubai, sadly ruling him out for that whole winter. Happily last season he was back at it, kicking off with a third place at the Rock a Rail before bouncing around with the Dutch Freestyle Team for most of the year. Another winter injury free and we're betting we'll be seeing more from Max.
Maxi Pressinger - 18 - Germany
Maxi is the latest in a steady stream of solid German snowboarders – from Xaver Hoffmann and Nicola Thost to David Benedek, and more recently Elias Elhardt and Ethan Morgan. Though just 18, he's already started to experience snowboarding at the highest level: after snagging a Wildcard to the Air+Style Beijing he was an alternate in Innsbruck and then received an invite-proper to the LA stop, and as a member of the Absolut Park team he's spending the whole winter honing his skills on the regs on some of the best features available in Europe. But he's got his head screwed on straight, too. Rather than opting to ride for cash for a company he wasn't backing, Maxi opted to get flowed Bonfire plus he's refreshingly of the opinion that snowboarding shouldn't become 'just another athletic sport', rather it needs to retain some of the edge that made it cool in the first place. An old head on young shoulders...
We only had space for 10 here but there's for sure a heap more Euro up-and-comers deserving a shoutout. Who'd you have in here? Holla below in the comments...