Noah Avallone, Snowboarder, Is on the Olympic Path

The snowboarder recently won the Next Gen division at Mount Baker in Washington State
Noah Avallone, middle, after winning a Glacier 3000 slopestyle race in Switzerland in November. Emily Pannkuk

Noah Avallone of Montauk was to have been among 16 junior pipe riders from around the world competing Tuesday in the Burton U.S. Open Junior (14-and-under) Jam in Vail, Colo.

Though only 10, Noah, who recently won the Next Gen division at the Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom in the State of Washington — a gated natural halfpipe race that has been contested since 1985 — was one of the youngest snowboarders at Vail, and thus presumably had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Following last year’s snowboarding season — Noah can be found most winter weekends at southern Vermont series events — his father, Mike, said during an interview at their house on Navy Road that it would be “a long shot” whether his then-9-year-old son would receive a Junior Jam invitation this year. 

“But winning the national halfpipe last year put him on the radar,” he said during a recent telephone conversation as the Olympics were being contested. “It’s pretty special. He’ll be with the best of the best.”

There were nine riders from the U.S. at the Junior Jam, as well as invitees from Japan, Korea, Australia, and Great Britain.

“Shaun White won the Baker Slalom’s Next Gen division in 1998,” the elder Avallone said. “It’s a long way until 2026, though Noah’s on the Olympic path.”

Noah began snowboarding “at the age of 18 or 20 months, at Third House,” his father said. “We strapped him in and pushed him down the hill. He stayed on, and he had a big smile on his face.”

He has made great strides since, winning his first national championship at the age of 8, a feat he has repeated in each of the past two years.

At some point, Noah’s father said in last year’s interview, “he’ll have to practice and compete the year round.” In that regard, he’s getting there. “From early to mid-November,” Mike said, “he trained in Switzerland, at Saas-Fee, in the Swiss Alps, near the Italian border. He won his age group in the Audi series’ [slopestyle] Glacier 3000.”

Asked if Noah would be spending the summer in Australia, Mike said, “No, he’ll be here, surfing.”

Noah’s been surfing since a young age too, and Mike said that sport dovetailed very nicely with snowboarding.

“Snowboarding’s different from skiing — it comes from surfing and skateboarding, where you’re standing sideways. There are no poles in snowboarding, it’s more flowing, like surfing — like surfing in the snow, and the metal edges enable you to go on all the regular trails. . . . When he’s not snowboarding he’s improving his snowboarding by skating and surfing. And vice versa.”

Surfing and skateboarding will be contested in the 2020 summer Olympics, though, while he’s good at surfing, whether it be longboard or short — he was a winner at the Rell Sunn contest in Montauk last summer — Noah is primarily focused on snowboarding.

“He was fourth at the Rip Curl championships near Cape Hatteras in North Carolina last summer, going up against 13-year-olds from Hawaii,” Noah’s father said. “He’ll try again this summer.” 

Speaking of the Olympics, the elder Avallone said he and his son had, of course, been watching all the snowboarding events, including White’s “unbelievable” run to garner the gold in the men’s halfpipe, the 17-year-old Red Gerard’s similarly impressive slopestyle win, and the gold-medal halfpipe run of Chloe Kim, who’s also 17.

Noah’s birthday is in May. He’ll be 18 when the 2026 Olympics are contested. It’s unknown at the moment in what corner of the world they’ll be, but, meanwhile, he’s on the right path.