AfterJam's Ones to Watch: 20 Under 20 | Skiers

Words by Milo McSenderson

Skiers edition 2020



The skiers are back for another instalment! It’s the big one; all our favourite blunt cappers and back swappers, aka the shit hot skiers we can’t stop talking about. 20 of the hottest riders under the age of 20. We got all sorts of steeze dripping through this list, all styles and specialities. Get following and get edit watching, you’re gonna get learnt as hell - it’s a corker. I thought the list would be easier to compile this year but it’s only gotten harder. I said, “kids these days,” last year, well, kids these days! Keeping this list to just 20 is so tough. We’ve poured over instagram accounts, dug through edits and totted up comp podiums and we’re still not sure we’ve not let any slip through the cracks. But we’ve put together the best damn list we can. 


To make it even more of a challenge we’ve installed a rule that no one can appear on our ones-to-watch list 2 years in a row… So here goes, 20 mutha’ cluckin’, rail slidin’, afterbangin’, radical senders all that haven’t even been on this Earth for 2 decades. Shit son, it’s gonna be a wild ride.

Bella Bacon, @bellla.bacon, 16, USA, from Park City, Utah is an absolute shredder on the rise and rise. Bella has some serious rail tech and that ever-important steeze. Check her putting on a clinic in flat-down riding at Mt. Hood, with some extra cannon tube hits in there to boot. We love rail tech, and if you do too, Bella is one to keep ya peepers on. Bella also has the jump game on lock, and has been gaining comp experience in slopestyle in the North American Cup, she’s a hella stylish rider and we’re v keen to see how the fire on her feed progresses over the next season. 


Cody Laplante, @codylaplante, 18, USA, is one of those names that I’m sure will surprise many of you (it did me) to hear that he’s only 18! On the scene for a long while now already, Cody has been making waves. Early in 2019 Cody underwent an ACL and meniscus repair but came back firing. His NZ Return to Snow edit shows he came back with a bang and a seriously deep and creative bag of tricks. He also bagged his first World Cup podium - in slopestyle - at Fort Romeu in January 2020. A member of the Red Bull team - Cody’s talent has been spotted early on. He is on the rise for sure and is crushing it all over. 


Cole Richardson, @skier_cole, 19, CAN, takes the spot as a token backcountry-bert on this list - maybe we’ve not done enough digging here - but the way Cole sends it he makes up for the lack of company in powder hounds. Quicksilver Young Guns 2019 winner, Freeride Junior Tour podium stacker and mad edit dropper, Cole is one to follow ASAP. Expect to see him dominating the big leagues soon. By definition this list is filled with riders that ski well beyond their years but Cole blew me away. His edit (dropped last winter) from the couple winters that preceded it is f****d up. Watch 9INETEEN, be awestruck, then think about how the way this kid spins a rodeo is like those who were skiing before he was even thought of. 


Jackson Karsteter, @j.karsteter, 17, USA, is one of the names that has been making that slow inevitable rise on my Instagram feed over the last couple years. Banger after banger with so much dialled flow. This 2019 edit from North Parks shows Jackson’s skill and style on rails in all its glory - his efforts in Tom “The Pretzel Man” Wallisch’s Steel City Showdown last year showed this too. Although he’s not just a rail rat, Karsteter sends it in the air too, recently putting out a clip of a triple rodeo 1260 bow and arrow that he stomped the piss out of. A dude that’s got a real strong all-round ski game, and it’s worth mentioning (we think) that he’s a Wy’East Mountain Academy teammate of Jed Waters (a standout on last years 20-u-20), this kid is going places no doubt. 


Konnor Ralph, @konnorralph, 17, USA, from Montana and a frequent rider of Timberline resort is becoming more and more prevalent by the minute, riding with the likes of Chris Newett (Tophaloaf) and Jackson Karsteter, Konnor is part of a crew that is making massive movements in the US. As part of the Surface Skis team he’s dropped bangers with the legend Jack Finn in Volcano Tapes (two frickn years ago!) as well as other bangers such as his 18/19 season edit. Kids got style and we’ve got the edits here to prove it. Prolific on the ‘gram too, Konnor is one to be following for constant updates of some laid out steeze and fine tuned tech.  


Daniel Bacher, @danielbacher8, 15, AUT, comes flying out the blocks with epic style and mad variety - on his left spins. Peep this edit for all that ‘golden-era’ steeze and a fine chop and screw. PREZEAZON is a banger. Bacher is one of those kids that comes along once in a while and blows everyone away. Tech, style and pure gas are what makes this kid a real wave about to come crashing onto every news feed you got. So be on top of it gosh darn it! Armada snatched this kid up and he even drops dubs in backcountry heaven Chamonix. We can’t go without mentioning this kids backyard setup either, more pros have hit this than it would even be possible to mention, check out @bacherzone if you’re not already familiar. 


Mac Forehand, @macforehand, 19, USA, hails from Conneticut and has been adopted by both the Red Bull and Faction team already. Some big fish right there! Mac won his first World Cup slopestyle in 2019 at just 17, edging out Max Moffatt for that one. Mac’s 1st place run in Mammoth in that winning year was crispy AF with straight up rail wizardry we’ve come to know and love from the East Coast. We also gotta shout out this epic SLVSH battle with Mac and Etienne Geoffrey. These boys go hard here. This really shows off Mac’s versatility and style. RIP Momentum camps. 


Marin Hamill, @i.go.hamill, 19, USA, is another epic rider from Park City (no surprises a place with a name like that keeps spittin’ em out) and a SuperUnknown XVII Finalist making her mark on the scene. Making inroads in the comp circuit and dropping fire ‘gram content too. There’s a lot to be said for style in simplicity; that’s why I’m in love with this Switch Tail Butter 3 from Stubai. As a member of the US Freeski Rookie Slopestyle team for two years Marin has been learning from the best and well set to be crushing it for years to come. 


Megan Oldham, @megan.oldhamm, 19, CAN, goes massive wherever she’s dropping in. Comp dominance and steeze is Megan’s MO. Winning the 2020 X-Games Norway Big Air really cemented this. Her runs were perfect, switch 10 mute, cork 9 blunt and dub 12 safety (to the moon) got her the well deserved gold. The replay shows her putting down the hammer with perfection at the last throw of the dice; being able to handle that kind of pressure makes good riders great in the comp world. 


Melvin Seliberg, @melvinseliberg, 10, SWE, is one of those kids that gets your jaw dropping all the time. At 10 years old this kids bag o’ tricks is monstrous. He’s in good hands too, riding for AfterJam and Surface Skis he’s around some mad crews on the reg. His home resort of Klappen brings out the best from everyone about too - we know all the mind melters seem to ooze out of Kimbosessions. The sky really is the limit for the youngest of young guns. We can’t believe it, follow him for a winter of disbelief yourself!


Melvin Moren, @melwinmoren, 18, SWE, completes our duo of Swedish steeze lords called Melvin. He has them big spins with a grab game on lock too, this dub 1620 safety to lead tail from Klappen is a beauty. Melvin also bagged 2nd in the Youth Olympic Games slopestyle in Leysin at the start of the year; and came 3rd in the big air qualies. The style and tech is real fire. His recent trip to Saas Fee left him dropping some serious drip on Instagram. Gonna be out there blowing minds all winter we can promise ya that. 


Mia Rennie, @miffrennie, 17, AUS, looks like such a natural on skis. That steeze is unteachable and that’s what we love. Clips that ooze style, and a timeless style that’s only gonna get saucier with experience. It might have something to do with the fact that Mia has been skiing since she was 3 or that she also shreds on a surfboard and a skateboard meaning that laidback style is in her blood. All we know is we love it. Throw in a second place in Big Air at the Australia New Zealand Cup 2019 and you’ve got one hell of a send presence to be watching this winter and for many to come!


Michelle Rageth, @michelle.rageth, 17, SUI, is part of a brother/sister combo we’ll be shouting out towards the end of this article. From putting down dope lines at her home resort of Laax to bringing home silverware from the Stunt Ditch we know you’re gonna be gassed on following Michelle. I’m definitely biased (because it terrifies me) but anyone getting that rad - 1st place in Davos, February - in a halfpipe deserves mad props. Some say it’s a dying art but it’s part of the sport’s rich history so we love all those carrying that torch. 


Palmer Parish, @palmer_ski_parish, 11, GBR, is one of the raddest 11 year olds out on the hill. Ripping since he was just 6 Palmer was invited to join Snowsport England academy at just 8 years old. Palmer is found searching out all the dry slopes and domes in the UK to absolutely crush with his style. Palmer’s comp record is an impressive one too; winning the U12 British Freestyle Champion indoors and the BRITs Mountain Big Air and Slopestyle at only 9 years old. His trick bag is deep, cork and misty 7s as well as switch backies. ‘Rona got in the way of Palmer hitting up the world rookie tour but he’s been grinding hard at every open send spot since! Palmer has eyes on the X-Games and we can’t wait to see him there!


Rell Harwood, @rellharwood, 19, USA, got us so gassed with this 50-50 montage! If that’s not enough to be worthy of an oh-so-coveted spot on this list I don’t know what else is! Well actually I do, coz I’m the one telling you… such as 3x North American Cup podiums in 2020; Big Air gold and a silver and bronze in slopestyle. Or this SuperUnknown XVII Finalist cut. The trick selection, technicality and execution throughout this one is pure fire and shows so much potential. We’re all for 50-50 variations, big doubles and nosebutter 2s on all from the same rider in the same edit. That’s the versatility we talkin’ bout! Give Rell a follow you fools!


Simo Peltola, @speldo, 19, FIN, drips style, whackiness, and down right screw-looseness we’ve come to expect from the flying Finns. He drips style and creativity with whatever he touches. Simo’s instagram content and edits are always mindblowing. His Superunknown XVII Finalist edit showcases this excellently, I see lots of similarities between him and Elias Syrja or Fabien Boesch - high praise indeed. This epic send has translated well to the competition scene too, with European Cup wins in slopestyle and big air in 2019, in St. Anton and Goetschen respectively. Simo is also an insane skateboarder which is something I love to see, follow his dedicated skateboarding instagram account, @speldoge if you’re that way inclined. Simo has all the content. Don’t miss him, you’ll regret it. 


Tess Ledeux - @tessledeux - 19 - FRA, is on top form these days on both content production and comp results. On our radar for a while Tess has continued to impress with her versatility and consistency. She has also impressed the team at RedBull… we put in a good word (being Slopestyle World Champ in 2017 might’ve helped too)! Tess’ trophy cabinet is an impressive one. With 5 X-Games medals - golds in Big Air; Aspen 2020, Norway 2019 - and 5 World Cup golds in the last 3 years too. Most recently bringing home the W in slopestyle in Stubai. Her switch bio 10 is a dreamy axis and so so smooth. Tess drips style and writing about it could go on almost indefinitely. Check her out and get following, you don’t want to sleep on what Tess’ winter holds!


Tim Sivignon, @tim_sivignon, 17, FRA, is a La Clusaz ripper and a member of arguably the most stacked team out there. Faction. I have to say the young guns that end up in this squad seem destined for greatness (see: Matej in last years picks). He appears in one of the best crew edits to drop in a hot minute; SAAS FEE (4K) // Faction all out nutty shit from the team. His 2019 season brought him a European Cup slopestyle bronze and I guarantee those Ws are gonna start rolling in. We know silverware ain’t everything, Tim is on this list for the oozing steeze if nothing else. Such an entertaining rider to watch because he looks so comfortable on rails and in the air meaning that creativity flows. You know the drill. 


Tyler Nichols-Stubington, @tylerfreeski, 16, GBR, carries the torch of the UK rail rat brightly. His Instagram has more pretzels than a… pretzel stand. He’s one of AfterJam’s younger guns who is FIRING and is the reigning U16 British and English Slopestyle champion. Watching Tyler ride just gets us hyped, one of those riders that progresses faster than most and oozes style for his age. He’s in good hands with Team GB - who selected him last year - and has his eyes set on a spot in the Beijing 2022 starting gate. Don’t say you didn’t hear it here first!


Walker Shredz, @walker_shredz, 10, USA, preferred to leave his last name as Shreds, Milo “McSenderson” approves this message! Another Park City park rat in the making… well, already made, Walker caps off this list as a true beacon of hope for the future of freestyle skiing. He tells me he’s got some filming plans and some tricks cooking up. Riding for Armada and being under the wing of the likes of Quinn Wolfermann, Cody Wilder Ray and many other PC locals - who he rides the chair with on the reg. This kid is going places i.e the Moon and has rail tech, steeze and all the afterbang we need in 2020. Walker really is what this list is all about, and he goes right alongside Melvin and Palmer as our young guns who just blow minds. Keep it steezy and follow this G’eezy.

Phew! Hope you’re as stoked on the youth of today as I am! I was never in any doubt that we had a bright future in skiing. It always blows me away quite how bright and this year is no different. We got World Cup winners, 10-year-old super shredders, and the steeziest ladies from across the globe! As always it’s super tough to narrow down this list. So many great names that missed out by a hair's breadth that you might see in next year’s. Get following all the names, it’s not worth missing their shit is it? We promised you wild, you got wild.


I also wanted to shout out Mike Rageth (@jibbermike), possessor of a dangerous amount of steeze and the brother of Michelle on this list, who is recovering from a knee injury and was on his way to being a dope feature of the piece. Heal up brother. Another one worthy of a huge shout is Thibault Magnin (@thib_magnin) who turned 20 during the writing process!


This article was written in collaboration with the wizards at @ski_gram and they came through with names on tap, as always. This is the product of 3 people who spend almost all their time off the mountain watching videos of people on it, so trust – you can count on us to bring only the crème de la crème of heat on a direct line straight to ya!


Peace & Love x