Rene Rinnekangas is a fresh talent coming out of Finland that is rocking the current scene. Rene is best known for his urban snowboarding videos with his 292CREW that caught the attention of Rome. Signing the brand deal and becoming part of Rome’s International AM Team isn’t his only accomplishment however, he has competed across a ton of different competitions including the Olympics. Rene’s easy-going and positive attitude makes this highschooler seem equally at home riding rails outside his school as sending it in Big Air contests.
Elias Syrjä is a fresh face in the World Cup scene starting just this season. Since his debut in New Zealand, the Finnish skier has competed in 10 world competitions in both slopestyle and big air. His closest brush with the podium was his fourth-place finish in Moenchengladbach, Germany, just pushed out by fellow X Games Norway athlete, Øystein Braaten. While he has yet to hit the podium on the world cup circuit, the Finnish national champion will be putting pressure on the more established athletes at his first X Games in May.
Takeru Otsuka is a name to watch for in the coming years. He’s another world-class snowboarder coming out of Japan and has come out in a big way becoming the slopestyle World Rookie Champion for the second year in a row, earning himself a ticket to X Games Norway. Big brands have taken notice of him too, with Burton signing him before any of their competitors too. It just goes to show that Takeru Otsuka is here in a big way, and he’s here to stay.
This 23-year-old Swede made his 5th X Games appearance in both Snowboard Slopestyle and Big Air in Norway last year where he came away with slopestyle gold. He had a stellar 2016 season that included the overall win on the Air + Style tour and a standout award at Superpark 20. He kicked off the 2016/2017 season in style with a win at the Mile High in August. The 2014 Olympian (4th, slopestyle) has a serious bag of technical tricks.
This ripping Norwegian earned Slopestyle bronze in his X Games debut at Aspen in 2016 and has been a staple at all winter X Games since. Mons rides with the flair and subtlety the Norwegians are famous for, and he also has big, technical tricks needed to compete for the podium. With at least three versions of the triple cork in his bag of tricks, including a switch backside 1620, watch for this 21-year-old to be in the mix at every contest he enters. Mons was on the Norwegian national team alongside the likes of Stale Sandbech.
“Seb Toots” is one of the reasons that men’s slopestyle has been dominated by Canadians since 2011. The 24-year-old grabbed Slopestyle silver at X Games Aspen 2016 and now owns 5 X Games medals in 9 appearances, including two Slopestyle gold: as an XG rookie in 2011 and at Tignes 2013. A double threat in Big Air and Slopestyle, the French-Canadian won the Innsbruck Air + Style event in 2016 and has several top-3 finishes thus far in the 2016/2017 season, including a win at the Cardrona Games in August and December podiums at the Beijing Air + Style and Winter Dew Tour comps. In mid-February last year, he claimed a huge slopestyle win at the FIS World Cup in Quebec, beating X Games medalists Mark McMorris and Marcus Kleveland.
With two gold in less than 24 hours at XG Aspen 2014, Max emerged from the shadows of fellow Canadian stars Mark McMorris and Sebastien Toutant. Parrot became only the second man to win both Snowboard Big Air and Slopestyle at the same X Games (McMorris). The 21-year-old Quebecois added Big Air silver in 2015 and Big Air gold at X Games Aspen 2016, bringing his XG medal total to five. Max is dedicated, driven and practices longer and harder than perhaps anyone at X Games. The second person to land a quad, Max stuck a quadruple Cab underflip in April of 2015. He won the Fenway Park Big Air comp on Feb. 11.
Another emergent from Larvik, Norway’s seeming skateboard institution, Tonje Pedersen is the only girl on the newly formed national skateboard team. She earned the spot by being a force to be reckoned with on the skate scene, winning the European championship and by being the Norwegian national champion multiple years running. Using her skill and standing, Tonje Pedersen is pushing female skateboarding in Norway, and is doing abang up job doing it. Known by her peers to be tougher than just about anyone, she’ll be around to show what’s what in May.
Meet the 13-year-old pro snowboarder who is taking the snowboarding world by storm. She has already claimed numerous victories in various events, including the 2017 World Rookie Finals. On the FIS circuit, she has recently claimed 4th at a Slopestyle event in Japan. Making her X Games debut at X Games Norway 2018, she’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
At the age of 17, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott has a storied past and is likely to add to that in the future. Born in Australia to American and Kiwi parents, she made her move to New Zealand at the age of 6. Starting out skateboarding, she made her move into snowboarding. After winning a silver medal and placing fourth at the 2017 FIS Snowboard World championships in Slopestyle and Big Air respectively, she joined up with the New Zealand National team. There, she won them their first Olympic medal in the Winter Olympics in 26 years. This year, she is making her X Games debut at X Games Norway and is sure to impress.
Anna Gasser is a 23-year-old Austrian who has been snowboarding for just five years. She went from the Austrian National Gymnastics Team to Austrian Olympic Team in a brand new sport: slopestyle, where she finished 10th, not landing her runs. At her first X Games in 2015, she finished 5th. It’s that flipping background that made her a natural, including landing her first Cab double backflip 180 (Nov. 2013).