Narooma can be proud to the claim of being home to one of the world’s best junior snowboarders in the shape of 12-year-old Valentino Guseli.
Valentino, or Val to his mates, earlier this year wrapped his United States winter season again winning the US Nationals, as well as improving his placing from fifth to second in the prestigious US Open.
Father Ric said he came second in this year’s US Open held in Vail, Colorado where he competed against the best junior snowboarders in the world. Last year at just age 10, he finished fifth at the Open.
And then he went one better to beat all his competition in the US Nationals where the world’s top 80 junior snowboarders qualify for the event in Copper Mountain, also in Colorado.
Val and his family spent about two months over in the United States competing, which was backed up with four weeks in Switzerland.
He is now all set for the Australian snow season and will be based at Perisher each weekend throughout the winter. He has already started boarding at Perisher as the slopes opened early and the cold weather has made for one of the best starts to the season.
Val will be up at the mountains for the official opening of the season this June long weekend.
He will again be competing in all the Australian junior snowboarding events, including the Australian Nationals where he was his age champion in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
When not off competing overseas, Valentino is now in Year 7 at Narooma High School, but his mother who is a teacher by profession takes over his education when he is on the road.
Asked by Snowboarding Magazine how he balances school and snowboarding life, he said, “I just have to try and not to be stupid about it (laughs). I really enjoy when I go back home, I get to go to school and see my friends, surf and get smart.”
Val’s latest boarding bio:
12. It’s an age where the majority of your time is spent innocently running the wrong way in team sports, playing Angry Birds and collecting Pokémon cards, not attempting double backflips and jibbing rails at Perisher. But, Valentino Guseli isn’t your usual 12-year-old kid. He has gone against the status quo, and opted to do the latter.
Already the South Coast youngster has bagged himself a majority of the medals and is the overall US National Champion in 2015, 2016 and 2017, not only winning the slopestyle and halfpipe events, but also clearly dominating the racing events. Valentino’s US results are similarly reflected in the Australian and NZ events.
In 2016 he was invited to Burton US Open Half Pipe to compete against probably the best 14 and 15 year olds on the planet. In 2016 US Open he came 5th and followed it up in 2017 with 2nd.
“Valentino is quite literally the future of snowboarding, and he is more talented than any other kid that I’ve seen at his age,” said T-Bird, in 2016 from Snowboarder Mag.
“From a land girt by sea, Valentino is special,” Benny Bright.
“He is fast, full of energy and annoyingly talented for a kid who’s barely hit puberty he’s go the nuts of a bison,” Mountain Watch
“Val’s no doubt a heartbreaker, at age 11. He’s also doing a pretty good job at shutting down the older crew of riders at Perisher’s Front Valley Park and he’s one of Australia’s most successful snowboarding exports right now. From pipe sessions with Danny Davis, to photos in Snowboarder Mag, Val is doing an outstanding job putting Australian snowboarding on the international radar.
“He really just loves to snowboarding, constantly looking for that new trick, that he can call his own. He doesn’t care who is around him, he just wants to ride all day, everyday. Definitely one to look out for this year, and the years to come.” Elijah Teeter.
“Valentino is a young all round ripping snowboarder, with a great attitude. He is always pushing his riding to higher levels, and being creative along the way, “ Ross Powers
Each season Guseli’s portfolio and clips balloon adding new clips to Vimeo, Instagram and Facebook. He has also had many photos and interviews in Australian and International snowboarding magazines.
As for the future, Valentino immediate bucket list remains beautifully simplistic. When asked by transfer where he will be in a few years, he stated, “ I will be snowboarding and travelling the world, learning and stomping new tricks, and having fun with my friends. By then, he will still only be 15, and if the accolades he is currently receiving are any indication of where he’ll be, then surely it will be pretty exciting. Keep your eyes peeled!
Australian Junior Series
2014, 2015, 2016 - overall age champion
2014, 2015 - overall age champion
2014, 2015, 2016 - champion
2015, 2016, 2017- overall age champion
Gold medals Slopestyle and Pipe each year
And most racing disciplines
The Launch 2016
US OPEN 2016 & 2017
The Launch 2016 & 2017
Superpark 2016 & 2017
Magazine photo and interviews
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.