By Victoria Gaither
At 3 years old, Harley Ruffle, known locally as “Lil Homie,” is a snowboard sensation. His mother, Jill Ruffle, just laughs. “I’m amazed he is so good. He can barely talk,” she said.
Harley started walking and skateboarding at the same time, explained his father, Gary. “He has good balance, and Tucker Zink, general manager at Darkside Snowboards, put him on a snowboard. Harley took off.”
“He has the potential to go far,” Zink said of his young prodigy.
The toddler is in the 100-day ski club at Killington— meaning he skied 100 days in a single ski season. And he achieved that goal in the Covid-shortened 2019-2020 season. This year he’ll likely make the club again and Jill said, “He is doing more tricks on his snowboard and talking.”
This father is especially amazed how many fans follow him on Instagram. “He’s 3 years old, and big names in the industry follow my kid,” he said. @lilhomie802 has 1,077 followers, who are treated to almost-daily videos of Harley shredding Ramshead or the Dark Park at Darkside.
“If it weren’t for the Killington community helping us and teaching Harley, he wouldn’t be this far, because Jill and I are skiers,” Gary said.
Jill had much praise for Darkside Snowboards. “They are the best, and Harley got his nickname ‘Lil homie’ from the shop,” she said.
Asked how to manage a toddler superstar as a father, Gary laughed. “He’s only 3, so as long as he wants to snowboard, we will let him. And the day he says no more, then we’ll go with it.”
For now, Lil Homie is almost off his bottle, talking non-stop, and on the slopes daily. Big sister Finley believes he’ll go all the way someday, but for now, she simply exclaimed, “It’s crazy,” referring to her baby brother, the snowboard sensation.