Main photo by Sam McMahon
You’ve seen them. They’re cropping up at every snowboarding competition on the planet, from Manchester to Aspen. They’re fast, talented, fiercely competitive – and all under the age of 16. These children are the snowboarders of tomorrow. Welcome to the age of the Super Grom.
In the early days of snowboarding, no brands made kid-specific boards. You never saw groms on the mountain, let alone winning contests. Shaun White was a rare young talent making a name for himself with some solid movie parts, but few people outside of snowboarding would have known about him.
Now, there are more kids under the age of 12 strapping into snowboards than ever before, hoping to make it as the next snowboarding superstar.
“They’re fast, talented, fiercely competitive – and all under the age of 16. Welcome to the age of the Super Grom”
When 14 year-old Ayumu Hirano became the youngest person to win a medal at the 2013 Winter X Games, something in the world of snowboarding shifted. It was the mark of a new era – the groms were starting to take over.
Just one year later, he stole the podium from Shaun White at the 2014 Winter Olympics, securing silver and knocking the 27 year-old back to fourth place.
In the same year, 14 year-old Chloe Kim became the youngest Winter X Games gold medallist of all time after beating long-standing champion Kelly Clark in the Women’s Superpipe.