JACKSON, Wyo. — Jackson native, Neo Emery, took the highest spot on the podium at the Freeride Junior World Championship (FJWC) in Switzerland this past weekend.
“I’ve lived in Jackson my entire life and growing up here there’s a lot of different sports you can play and so many different activities that keep me in shape all year,” Emery said. “Snowboarding has been a part of my life since the beginning. I’ve ridden in backpacks out at the village since I was around four.”
Emery starting taking lessons at a young age around four or five. At the age of nine, he was in the Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club (JHSSC) Freeride Program. This is his last year on the program as he is now 18 and plans on going to college.
“The JHSSC Freeride Program has been a huge part of my development as a rider through my years on the team, and a lot of amazing coaches have helped me along the way to help me get to where I am today.”
According to the Freeride World Tour (FWT) website, the world’s best young freeriders tore apart Mont de Cion on April 3 with an impressive preview of the sport’s future at the Freeride Junior World Championship.
“Delivering a first-class display of progressive freeriding, today’s young riders looked more like seasoned FWT athletes at the FJWC by Dynastar,” the FWT website said.
With a long vertical drop of 450m, the face of Mont de Cion hosted the young free-riders, which offered a combination of alpine steeps and features to launch off. A sunny day welcomed the competition with good snow conditions after recent snowfalls.
“I felt good and pretty confident about being able to do well and land my run,” Emery said. “I have been dreaming about going to this competition for a very long time, so I took all of the necessary preparations to be in the right mindset during the comp and leading up to it. I picked a line that I was confident in seeing myself riding and being able to see it as a top-five line.”
Emery made short work of the face with a fast, smooth run. The judges liked his committed technical approach in the steeps, which he linked in the middle with a huge double cliff.
“That was scary, it was super sharky on the run-in and the takeoff of the second one,” said Emery. “Other people hit it and they didn’t take enough speed so they kind of caught it and fell. I took the right speed by just straight-lining down it.”
Pau Riba (AND – 2nd Place) put down a run full of steezy airs with clean grabs on every hit. A massive, stomped cliff at the top and a big mid-face blind step-down sealed the podium for Pau. Thibaut Portner (SUI – 3rd Place) wowed the judges with a super creative line, including frontside and backside 360s. He lost some points due to lack of fluidity, but completed one of the best freestyle runs of the day.
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Emery will start lacrosse practice this week and has plans to get into the backcountry once the resort closes. He also plans to train in the gym and stay in shape mountain biking this summer. Emery said that next year he will take a shot at the Freeride World Qualifiers to join the tour.
“I’d like to give a huge thanks to my family,” said Emery. “And my coach, Randy Strand, was a huge help. He kept me calm and happy most of the time.”
About The Author
Buckrail @ Jacob
Jacob Gore was born and raised in Cheyenne, the capital city of Wyoming. As a proud Wyomingite, he loves to share his home with visitors from around the world. Spending years in Jackson and Alaska as an interpretive nature guide, he remains a photographer, traveler, storyteller, and avid hobbyist of all-things outdoors. Jacob enjoys bridging the connection between Jackson and the rest of the state.
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