Mountainwatch | Reggae Elliss
The past 12 months have been a breakthrough year for Valentino Guseli, the 16-year-old Aussie snowboarder locking in a couple of big career milestones, including qualifying in first place for the finals of his first ever World Cup in Laax Switzerland.
Then on March 31, the day before his 16th birthday, Val set a new world record of 7.3 metres when he landed the highest halfpipe air ever measured, again in Laax. The previous record of seven metres was held by snowboarding legend and multi-Olympic and X games halfpipe Champ Shaun White.
Valentino lives in Dalmeny on the NSW South Coast and is a keen and accomplished surfer and was introduced to snowboarding as a three-year old, by his snowboarding dad Rick. As he grew up Val was a familiar face in Perisher’s Front Valley each winter and by the time he was eight-years-old his potential was pretty obvious. When he won the 2019 Burton US Open Junior Halfpipe as a 13-year old, it is fair to say Valentino was destined for a career as a pro snowboarder.
Over the past few years Valentino has travelled a lot, competing and training, and spent a long nine months away last northern hemisphere season. The hard work has paid off and he is not only one of the most progressive riders in the world, but is a member of the OWIA (Olympic Winter Institute) national team and is looking to compete in his first Olympics in Beijing.
While he is prepared to make sacrifices and work hard to achieve his goals, at the heart of it, Valentino just loves snowboarding: “I just love the fact that I can ride down the hill and do whatever I want while snowboarding … I just love the fact that it’s my life.”
We caught up with Val in Thredbo a couple of weeks ago where he was lapping the Antons park with his mates and enjoying some pre-lockdown freeriding.