Valentino Guseli, 15 year old grommet from a small town on the South Coast of NSW called Narooma is…well, no longer a grommet.
Valentino hasn’t been a grommet in our eyes for a while now, showing skill, style and overall maturity well beyond his years. The global snowboarding world are now also up to speed after his jaw dropping performance at the LAAX Open World Cup event last week in Switzerland. He qualified first in the semi-finals with a second run score of 95.00 and went extra large in the finals, just coming unstuck on both his runs, but whatever…he still blew minds and was the standout.
Valentino is a snowboarding phenomenon, a force to be reckoned with and he’s only just getting started. Humble, quiet off the board, overly loud on the board. Valentino is the future of snowboarding.
We caught up with him after the madness of the event to have a chat about it all, his vibe and plans for the rest of winter.
Transfer: Val, firstly. Congrats on the LAAX Open event…you must be stoked. How’s it feel? Now that it’s sunk in. You just came out of nowhere and blew everyone’s minds.
Valentino: Yea I’m super stoked, I had so much fun in the comp and it was awesome to ride alongside the best in the world.
Did you go into the event thinking you’d end up in the finals? Or just kinda took it as it came?
I was really hoping to make finals but I wasn’t 100% sure that I could. I came into the event very nervous but once I got to the bottom of that 1st run I was sitting in a good position and I could just have fun and go for it!
Yeah, you killed it on that second run! Still got some secret tricks in the bag yet to be seen?
Yeah, I’m always working on new stuff to add to my runs. Snowboarding is a very progressive sport so it’s very enjoyable to continually try to up my game.
When we linked up in the Aussie season for our Winter Mission with Hockey Dad..you were doing more surfing than snowboarding! And when you were riding you were mainly freeriding and shooting in the backcountry. No pipe training?
Yea no pipe, it’s a nice break but it leaves me really determined and keen to ride some pipe, so when I get into one I give it my all. Slope can help with pipe too, the tricks can translate so although there’s no pipe, I can still progress in the air awareness side of things.
But yeah heaps of surfing and backcountry!
Have you been training / riding much pipe since you’ve been overseas? Looks like you’ve just been slaying on the jumps & rails.
I’ve been riding pipe about 2 weeks so far this year, been super fun, also riding jumps and rails a lot, and even groomers every now and then just trying to progress as an all round snowboarder instead of just focusing on one discipline, snowboarding is snowboarding!
Amen. Crazy you’ve only spent 2 weeks in the pipe in the lead up to the event. With Olympics around the corner, are you aiming for one discipline? Or a couple?
I’m aiming for pipe, slope and big air for the Olympics. I think it would be cool to make a statement and show that it’s possible to ride everything competitively.
Hell yeah. And I don’t want to spoil too much…but I’ve just got my hands on some killer shots of you in the backcountry. Is doing an event like Natural Selection something you’d be into doing?
Definitely, I think natural selection is what snowboarding is all about, I love the idea of mixing a slopestyle mentality with the backcountry, it will progress the sport massively.
So what’s your plans now? Are you hanging out in Switzerland and training or off to another event soon?
Yeah the plan is to be based out of Laax whenever we’re not travelling for competitions. Got some Europa Cups coming up that we’ll go to and there’s rumours about another World Cup and World Champs possibly happening later this season.
Awesome! Did you manage to get some of that incredible deep snow that hit just before the comp? Hopefully some more pow days in the mix…Laax is such a great all round mountain to ride.
Yeah it was so sick, there was one day that was perfect sunny just after it dumped and the pipe was perfect as was the pow so we would ride the pipe and then get the pow below it in the same lap, it was so much fun!
Rad. And X Games didn’t give you a last minute call up?
Nah haha all good though, maybe next year.
Definitely next year!
Thanks for the chat Val. Best of luck with the rest of the season over there. Get out there and get some shots.