It took Whistler’s Sean Pettit all of two days to win over some of the top young skiers in North America at the Sports Illustrated Kids’ Next Snow contest at Keystone Resort in Colorado April 2-4.
After entering and winning both the halfpipe and slopestyle components of the event, the other male athletes voted for Sean as the Male Athletes’ Choice for this year.
"It was neat to get voted like that," said Sean, who is already turning heads and competing against adults at the age of 11.
For winning the athletes’ vote at Next Snow, Sean earned a trophy and a Nintendo GameCube.
Sean found out about this contest from Jack Turner, the organizer of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s Pro Photographer Showdown. Turner saw Sean last year, and secured him a spot at the competition.
The Next Snow contest, presented by Sports Illustrated for Kids, is billed as a "journey to 100 mountains in search of the next Xtreme generation of skiers and snowboarders." This year more than 130 kids answered the call from resorts across the U.S. Only two Canadians took part, including Sean.
The entire contest was broken down into skills, including big mountain riding, racing, moguls, halfpipe and terrain park. Sean elected to give the other events a miss to concentrate on his best events, pipe and the park.
The halfpipe itself was short, and Sean only managed to fit three airs into his run. He can land 540s and 720s, so that was all that he needed. He’s been working on his 900 this year, as well as off-camber spins and cork moves.
"The terrain park was better," he said. "They had some tables and big rails. The rails were a lot bigger than I expected, and not a lot of kids did them but I did. The rails were even longer than in Whistler, although our jumps are better."
Sean has a lot of experience with rails, competing in several King of the Rails contests on Blackcomb over the past two years, often winning his age category. He skis every weekend and as many weekdays as he can get, usually with his older brother Callum and young freeskiing star Kye Petersen.
This Friday Sean, Callum and Kye Petersen are competing in the World Skiing Invitational Superpipe qualifier.