The next big star? |

The next big star?

Kelly Hagenah
Special to the Daily

EAGLE COUNTY – He loves sports. Ski competitions, golf, baseball and football games fill his schedule year-round- keeping him busy and happy. And if he is not out there, he is either playing his guitar, spending time with his family, or studying to keep his straight-A academic record going. Meet 12-year-old Tanner Coulter, Eagle Valley Middle School sixth grade student and freestyle skier extraordinaire. On March 3, Tanner began a big adventure out east, at the 2006 Sports Illustrated For Kids Next Snow Search Finals. The Next Snow Search is a series of ski and snowboard competitions in the U.S. and Canada. Boys and girls ages 9-13 all compete in one class, and the goal- to discover the stars of skiing and snowboarding.

After qualifying at the Vail Cup in January, Tanner headed to the finals in Killington, Vt. and out of the 160 kids who competed, Tanner placed 33rd. While Tanner said he couldn’t be happier about his placement, one thing you’ll notice about the kid, he doesn’t brag. In fact, Tanner didn’t even talk about how he did – instead he focused on the overall experience. “My favorite part was just going to a new place, and meeting new friends,” said Tanner. As for what he thought about Vermont, “It was really weird,” Tanner said. “It was so icy, you could sit on your butt and go faster than you could ski!” Tanner, born and raised in Eagle, started skiing when he was 5, and soon after began racing with the Buddy Warner program. As he grew older and more confident on the slopes, his whole family realized Tanner had a special talent. While Tanner was a great racer, he fell in love with an entirely different side of skiing. Tanner loves, and excels at the half-pipe and at slopestyle skiing, which is one thing he loved about the S.I. Next Snow Search Finals, he said.

Athletes must compete in all the events, which includes racing, moguls, carving, big air, big mountain, the superpipe and slopestyle. “When Tanner was about 8, his older brother learned a 360 degree turn first, and spent some time trying to convince Tanner to do it,” Tanner’s mom Stacy said. “Finally, Tanner tried one and landed it, and he has never stopped.” And all he has ever wanted to do from then on is ski and do tricks. “He teaches himself the tricks, because he never really had a coach,” Stacy Coulter said. “Now, he tries something and then tries to convince the older brother – who, by the way, is Tanner’s biggest fan”While the Next Snow Search is a quest to find the next generation of extreme skiers and snowboarders, it is not solely a physical competition. Style, attitude and personality are also factors.

“One of his teachers once told me he had ‘charisma,'” Stacy said. “He is just a really good kid.” Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism