Ellis Swain is flying high in the Jackson Hole snowboarding scene
You know the fantasy you’ve had about living in Jackson Hole so you can go snowboarding every day? The dream where you wake up and hop out of bed to the sight of 10 inches of fresh pow, ready to ride in zones that remain untracked for hours because you have the ability and knowledge to find them? In this dream you don’t pay rent, school attendance is weather dependent, and your family is supportive of your lifestyle and actively encourage it. Well, 14-year-old Jackson native Ellis Swain has carved out that lifestyle for himself with focus and a hunger to progress his riding beyond all reasonable expectations. To put it bluntly: He is punching the clock on snow more than anyone I know. That dedication has earned Ellis the feature as this year’s “Dropping Next” rider.
The rapid progression Ellis made last season demonstrates why he deserves this recognition. In his first USASA Nationals invite, Ellis placed in the top third in his age group (Breaker Boys) in halfpipe, slopestyle, and boardercross. Pretty respectable finishes for having no halfpipe to train on and competing on the big slopestyle course! Ellis is leaning into the work necessary to punch above his weight class in the coming winter season. He began last season working on cleaning up his 360s and 540s. By the end of the winter, he was lacing up 720s. A few months after that he almost clinched his first double backflip at Woodward Copper.
One of Ellis’s best qualities as a rider is that he easily avoids getting mystified by technical lines that perplex many more experienced riders. He has the ability to improvise stylistic runs that span big mountain lines and manicured terrain park features. It’s like he has figured out exactly what he wants to do with his life and is pouring all of his physical and mental energy into the sport. When you get an Ellis Swain—an athlete that possesses natural talent and a growing work ethic—it’s exciting to see how the story unfolds.
Ellis: You were chosen for this year’s “Dropping Next” column because of how hard you worked last year and because of your endless drive to compete around the region. Don’t take your foot off the gas—you have a solid athletic foundation and your whole team is excited to see where you take your snowboarding.