Some kids take to snowboarding as a social activity, like marshmallows go with hot-chocolate in the lodge; others, like six-year-old Bailey Duran, are more apt to be snapping ollies down entire staircases or eyeing up concrete Jersey barriers and rocking to fakie off them.
While some parents can be found pulling spare change out of their pockets for their child to ride one of those mechanical pony rides, Bailey has already flipped the pony on it’s head and has smacked hard ollies over its belly–Bailey rides it all.
After a few years in gymnastics—“I like doing the cartwheels and rolls,” she says—Bailey learned to snowboard on the slopes of Southern Vermont. During the 2009-10 winter, with not enough snow for snowmobiling on the trails, her parents bought her a snowboard and they hit the resorts. She only had to be shown once how to link turns and has progressed ten-fold since, leading to five times on the podium at Nationals–most likely a record for a five-year-old USASA member.
Bailey’s favorite memory may have been getting first place at Nationals in Boardercross, but finds inspiration from jibbing. Case in point? Bailey jumped a car eight times last season without crashing, cleared it two times and tapped the tail of her board on the driver side roof six times. Her favorite trick is flatland switch 180s, and she hopes to progress to 180s off jumps this season.
Owning about 50 snowboarding flicks, Bailey doesn’t seem to notice backcountry riding much, but picks up on the creative riding in a park or urban settings. With the remote in her hand, Bailey will say something like, “That was cool; I want to do that,” as she rewinds the video to watch it again. After watching her old footage, she has already mapped out her plans and new tricks.
“I’m going to go really high up that wall next time,” says Bailey, “and this season I’m going to slide 360s on boxes.”
Bailey also has a photographic memory for fashion, so she’s happier than a kid at Christmas picking out her own riding gear, thanks to her sponsors Roxy, Spy Optics and Ride Snowboards. Her dad tested this little fashionista’s memory after running into four new friends while out freeriding. The tweens really liked Bailey and were being super friendly to her, but Bailey recalled meeting them before at a competition at a different mountain earlier in that season. Her dad asked her what each girl was wearing the last time she saw them.
“She was wearing the same jacket but different pants,” said Bailey. Pointing to another girl, she adds, “She was the same but had on green goggles and a white helmet, not a black one.”
The girls were all totally stunned. “Bailey’s right,” one of the girls replied, “I was wearing a different pair of pants that day; they were blue.”
In addition to snowboarding, Bailey also loves to ride her snowmobile, bike, and skateboard; she also enjoys swimming, jumping on her trampoline, and taking ballet. She rides snowmobile tracks in her backyard built by her dad and 21-year-old brother, Blake, who has made a few big jumps that Bailey fearlessly launches off. Yep, that’s right: say good-bye to cheesy pony rides and make way for wall-rides and big airs–Bailey is coming for them all.
By Natalie Langmann