By Brooke Geery
Mini Shred Madness took over Red’s Backyard at Killington Resort on Sunday, Jan. 9. The sickness was real, in the best way possible, as groms ages 4-13 got the chance to session the hike park with a little help from the Woodward Killington park crew, Killington Mountain School and Killington Snow Sports School coaches.
For the youngest riders, their parents served as board caddies and human tow ropes, as needed.
DJ Dave Hoffenberg was on hand to spin tunes and keep the energy high, while Terrain Park Supervisor Taylor Zink and Killington Events Manager Mike Sutcliffe manned the bullhorn.
“Everyone we see here is the future of action sports,” Sutcliffe said. “We love having a venue to bring everyone out, progress and have fun. This is what it’s all about and hopefully some lifelong friendships are made, too.”
Although Mother Nature decided freezing rain was in the forecast, spirits stayed high while clothes got wet, as nearly 40 competitors participated in two half-hour jam sessions.
First the supergroms, ages 9 and under, got a chance to show their stuff. The boxes were popular with the tiniest humans who seemed to slide effortlessly across them, whether on skis or snowboards. For the second heat, the older kids ripped with their own unique styles, many riding well beyond their years.
Excited parents watched from outside the fence, cheering for their kids and encouraging them to keep going in the face of a few inevitable meltdowns.
Local legend Harley Ruffle, 4, was hiking nonstop, dropping jaws as he nailed a 180-out and dragged his oversized mitts with style. His antics scored him some extra tokens from the judges, who handed them out anytime they saw something they liked. Tokens earned riders a better shot in the raffle.
“Harley loved it,” his mom, Jill Ruffle, said of the event. “You should have seen the look on the guys’ faces when he pulled off the steez!” Harley was deemed the people’s champ, an unofficial award, but in line with the real spirit of the competition.
Mini Shred Madness is designed to promote learning and growth, with just a little taste of competition. So while the real prize was fun, some athletes also walked away with extra recognition and goodies from the event’s sponsors.
The best overall awards for the older division went to Jayden Pytlik, 11, (male ski) and Lindsey Barrows, 11, (female ski), Beckett Hickey, 13, (male snowboard) and Cameron Crossmon, 12, (female snowboard).
Best tricks were performed by Eli Depue, 10, (skier) who did a 540 and Michael Lynch, 12, (snowboarder) for his stylish frontside boardslide.
In the supergrom division, the awards were gender neutral with the “Beast” skier award going to Sophie Jordan and the “Beast” snowboarder award being claimed by Derek Lin, 9.
The “smooth operator” awards went to Tyler Barrows, 7, (ski) and Syra Wolf, 9, (snowboard). Finally, the “110%” award, for the most overall effort, went to Owen Rogers, 8.
The event culminated with a raffle around 12:30 p.m., by which point the rain had turned to snow, and it was time to go freeride!