Sports » Features

Young skiers and boarders to challenge for Next X

It takes years of hard work to become a pro skier or snowboarder.


But if you consider that most of the contestants in the Whistler qualifier for the Sports Illustrated for Kids Next X Snow Search have been on snow since they were three, it’s about time they got some recognition.

In its second year, the Next X Snow Search is an interactive contest open to skiers, riders and adaptive athletes aged 9 to 13 with big mountain, slopestyle and snow cross disciplines. The top10 athletes from those events will go on to the big air, which is taking place as part of the Whistler-Blackcomb Fire and Ice show in the village on Sunday evening, Jan. 2. There will also be a demonstration halfpipe event in the afternoon.

More than 100 boys and girls have been selected from local groups like the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club, Whistler Valley Snowboard Club, and Whistler-Blackcomb’s riding and skiing programs to take part in the Super Qualifier, Jan. 1-2. There are also 25 open spots for kids that aren’t part of a club but were born in the years 1991 to 1996 that are up to the challenge.

At the end of the Super Qualifier judges will pick four athletes to represent the resort at the Next X finals at Keystone, Colorado Feb. 10-13. Accommodation, lift tickets and event tickets for the winners and their parents or guardians will be included in the prize package, although travel costs won’t be covered.

When it comes to judging, the judges will be looking for strong all around athletes. Skills will count, as will attitude and personality.

The top athletes will be featured in Sports Illustrated Kids, and the finals will be broadcast on NBC Sports.

Last year Whistler’s Sean Pettit took part in the finals at Keystone Resort, winning the halfpipe and slopestyle events as well as the Male Athlete’s Choice award.

The Next X Snow contest is organized by Jack Turner, who also hosts the Pro Photographer Search and Showdown during the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.