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Snowboarding’s not only one of the world’s most creative sports, it’s also one of the youngest. The average Burton pro rider, for example, started snowboarding at nine years old and turned pro at twenty. Some, though, are much, much younger.

Young guns

The history of snowboarding is full of truly inspiring stories of these young, little known riders who beat the odds to make it to the semifinals and on special occasion, stand proud on the podium. To recognize these up and coming stars of the future, last year at the US Open, Nokia introduced the Rookie Award. This cash prize was to reward people that might not make the top three but impressed the US Open judges with their skills and attitude. Last year’s winners were Ayumu Hirano and Arielle Gold.

Going for gold

Ayumu Hirano from Niigata in Japan is just fourteen. He started boarding when he was four. Since the award last year he’s been stunning crowds with his big air moves. Arielle Gold, from Steamboat Springs in the US, has also been wooing the slopes, and now both of them have gone from rookies to gold medalists in less than a year.

To see more fantastic moves like these, be sure to check out the Burton webcast of the US Open. Here’s a list of days and times when boarders like Ayuma and Arielle will be going large.

Wednesday, Feb 27: Women’s and Men’s  SS semi finals

8:30am – 3:15pmMT 

Thursday, Feb 28:  Women’s and Men’s HP semi  finals

8:30am – 3:15pm MT

Friday, Mar 1:  Men’s and Women’s SS finals

10:00am – 2:45pm MT  

Saturday, Mar 2:  Men’s and Women’s HP finals

10:00am – 2:45pm MT 

The podium pair

Just last week, at the Burton European Open,  Ayumu Hirano and Arielle Gold showed the skills that made them Rookie Award winners. Their halfpipe final runs were full of flying aerobatics, earning both a place on top of the podium. If it’s difficult to believe that you can be so good yet so young, check out this video of Roope Tonteri. He recently won double gold at the 2013 FIS Snowboarding World Championships, proving that to be the best, you have to start early.

Roope is one of the best snowboarders of his generation and a keen filmmaker. Nokia’s now helping him prepare for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Needless to say, we’re super proud to give him a helping hand, and hope that we’ve helped Ayumu and Arielle on their path to snowboarding glory, too.