Snowboarder Repeats at the Nationals

Noah Avallone recently repeated as a national Grom snowboarding champion at Copper Mountain in Colorado
Noah Avallone, according to his father, “was incredible this year.”

Asked during a conversation the other day at his parents’ Navy Road house in Montauk if he’d improved during the course of the past year, Noah Avallone, a redheaded, curly-haired 9-year-old, readily replied, matter of factly, “A lot.”

There is proof in this pudding inasmuch as Noah recently repeated as a national Grom snowboarding champion at Copper Mountain in Colorado, winning gold medals in the halfpipe and boardercross, and silvers in grand slalom, slalom, and rail jam.

“Surfing is the mother of all alternative sports,” Noah’s father, Mike, said. “Surfing spawned skateboarding, and skateboarding, in turn, spawned snowboarding. . . . It was in the mid-70s when they discovered that you could surf on the snow. Then the skateboarders got involved, and so you have halfpipes [22 feet high] and rail riding and skateboard tricks mixed in now with skiing-inspired events like the slalom and grand slalom.”

It helped, Mike added, if one surfed and skateboarded first. “Then when you get on the snow you’re ready to go.”

Noah’s home base is Stratton Mountain in southern Vermont. That region is the country’s second biggest, in terms of competitors, behind Colorado. “There’s a competition up there every weekend,” Mike Avallone said. “At Stratton, Killington, Bromley, Okemo, Mount Snow, Magic Mountain. . . .”

Noah’s 7-year-old sister, Mariella, third nationally in the Ruggie division, is following in his footsteps. 

Next year, Noah, who had a target on his back this year inasmuch as he was the division’s defending champion, will move up from the Groms to the (10-to-11-year-old) Menehunes, where there will be even stiffer competition.

“He was incredible this year,” said Mike, who is his son’s coach. “He won each discipline individually as part of the United States Snowboard and Freeski Association’s southern Vermont series.”

The elder Avallone became a U.S.A.S.A.-certified snowboard coach this year, the better to support Noah and Mariella’s interest in the sport.

When it came to his national showing, Noah improved in every event save the grand slalom and slalom, in which he slipped to silver.

Not only were there snowboarders at the nationals from the U.S.’s 30-some regions, but also from as far away as Australia and Brazil. 

Snowboarding is an Olympic sport, and Noah, not surprisingly, has Olympic ambitions. In 2026, he will be 18. “That would be perfect,” said Mike, “but 2026 is a long way away.”

The nationals aside, Noah said he valued even more his second-place finish at Mount Baker’s Legendary Banked Slalom in mid-February. He competed in the Next Gen (11-and-under) division there, and was a very close runner-up to an 11-year-old, Wyatt Cline of Spokane, Wash.

“It’s one of the oldest snowboarding competitions — it’s a big thing,” said Noah’s father, adding, “It’s a gated race in a natural halfpipe that creates perfect banked turns as in surfing. You’re racing against the clock.” An iPhone video prompted their visitor to say the course looked daunting.

“There were top pros there too — a who’s who of the snowboarding universe, past and present. Everyone rides the same course, so you can compare your time to the world’s best. There were racers there of all ages, from 8 to 62. I was in the mid-masters, 40-to-49. Noah did better than me.”

There might come a time when Noah practices and competes the year round, as does a 12-year-old Australian he knows.

With the December-through-April U.S. season over — and with no plans to go to Australia or to camps at Mount Hood in Oregon this summer — it will be back to the related sports of skateboarding and surfing for Noah in the months ahead. 

His next goal, Mike and Noah agreed, is to be one of the 16 riders from around the world invited to next February’s Burton U.S. Open Junior Jam, a 14-and-under halfpipe competition at Vail’s Golden Peak. 

“It’s a long shot, but he if he is invited, he’ll be one of the youngest,” said Mike.

The sky seems to be the limit for 9-year-old Noah Avallone.