Meet Aspen Spora, the 11-year-old ripper everyone is talking about
Words by Brody Leven
Photo by Ren Rob/O’Neill
When I was eleven, I was eating crayons and dirt. He, on the other hand, enjoys sunflower seed cheese, prefers beet-kale-carrot-apple-celery juice to soda, and fancies his organic veggie burgers bun-less. He once told me that hot dog buns taste like candy.
I hung Vincent Dorian posters over my bunk bed and watched Evan Raps on VHS. He has Tanner Hall giving him high-fives at Woodward Tahoe and is hanging out with Tom Wallisch at X Games.
I attended my ski hill’s annual gear swap so my parents could buy me the previous year’s jacket at a discount. He receives next season’s gear from O’Neill, Armada, Oakley, Dalbello, Marker, Contour, Sweet Protection, and A-Line Insoles. Free.
Aspen Spora is a prodigy. A handful of his web videos have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. During his tenth winter on Earth, he foreran the X Games superpipe and The North Face Pipe and Park Open Series courses, and filmed with Warren Miller Entertainment. His social media following exceeded that of most established professionals before he was old enough to have a computer.
What exactly is on the mind of the youngster with the long golden hair, bright blue eyes and the jacket that covers his knees? I caught up with him this week in Whistler to find out:
Brody Leven: What’s happening in the wonderful world of Aspen Spora?
Aspen Spora: I’m hanging out in Whistler with Team O’Neill and skiing at Camp of Champions. We are making the O’Neill Experience, a video series about the team. But my favorite part has definitely been paintballing with everyone.
BL: Do you remember the first time someone recognized you on the hill?
AS: At Whistler. Two days ago.
Stacey Spora [Aspen’s mom]: What about in France?
AS: No, Mom, Brody asked “on the hill.” That was on the street. Oh, and I signed someone’s hat today. It was awesome! I was just hanging out with this guy at Camp of Champions and he asked me to sign his hat. I was like, “Are you sure?”
BL: What do you want to be when you grow up?
AS: A pro skier.
BL: I didn’t see that coming. What can you do to reach that goal?
AS: I want to get better at something else. I want to say that will be powder, but if I said that, people would be, like, “Ugh. Park rat.”
Mitchell [fellow O’Neill skier]: Isn’t that what you are?
AS: Hah. No! So, yeah, Brody. Powder.
BL: Who’s your favorite person to ski with? After that comment, I assume it isn’t Mitchell.
AS: Was or is? It was CR Johnson. Now, I’d say Cody LaPlante.
BL: You’re a good little guy. Do you feel like other skiers treat you unfairly because of your age?
AS: I have a few friends who are much older than me—like, teenagers!—and they treat me like I’m their age. I like that I can hang out with older kids without being told to go away. Mom, can I go skate now?
Uninterrupted energy and personal panache define Spora’s youthful spontaneity and mature style on skis. With a life developed around skiing, Aspen Spora very well may represent the next generation of freeskiers, even if he still can’t ride most rollercoasters.
Aspen Spora foreruns the X Games superpipe