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The Andorran Ace: Noah Albaladejo (Downdays – February Issue, 2016)

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2015 was a big year for Noah Albaladejo. He filmed with Level 1 Productions, won the B&E Invitational and was voted Downdays European Skier of the Year by our online readers. After a stellar winter season, he traveled with Henrik Harlaut to El Calafate, Argentina in August to produce an unexpected eight-minute banger edit. When I call him up in late November to talk about this profile, Noah is at Mammoth Mountain, getting in a month of early-season California skiing with the likes of Henrik, Phil Casabon, Vincent Gagnier, Alex Beaulieu-Marchand and Brady Perron in preparation for another winter of traveling and filming.

 

Contrary to his energetic and often heavy exploits on skis, he is mostly quiet and reserved when not clicked into two planks. How did this soft-spoken and humble 23-year-old work his way into the upper echelon of the international freeski scene, almost exclusively through filming? “I put in a lot of hours and a lot of time”, Noah simply states.

 

A native of Andorra, the high-alpine microstate nestled in the Pyrenees between Spain and France, Noah Albaladejo grew up in a skiing family in a skier’s country. Raised in the town of Encamp, just ten minutes from the local ski area where both his parents worked, Noah was on skis by age three and in racing programs by age five. At age twelve he started skiing with Leo Tarrat, a local skier and park shaper who introduced him to newschool skiing. “He was doing threes with grabs,” Noah remembers. “I liked it a lot, and I started skiing all the time.” Finding contemporaries in the growing Spanish and Andorran park scene, Noah quit racing for freeskiing, and soon began traveling to follow his passion.

Born: 11 October 1992

Home: Encamp, Andorra

Home Resort: Grand Valira, Andorra

Hobbies: Sports, music & art

Sponsors: Amplid, Spy, Buff, Planks, Full Tilt, Monster

In 2010, Noah met skier and filmmaker Nick Martini while on a trip to New Zealand. Impressed by Noah’s attitude and approach, Martini invited him to film with his well-known urban skiing crew, Stept Productions, in the United States. Noah went on to appear in the next three Stept films, slowly building his reputation as a dedicated and unconventional street skier.

 

Above all else, Noah’s style sets him apart from his peers. Based on solid fundamentals yet embracing a looser, hand-dragging, no-poles style, Noah has crafted his own unmistakable blend of skiing that displays a rare mastery of transition-riding skills. Noah can dial in a tight tranny-finder, hand drag the lip, and tweak his grab immaculately en route to a stylish, controlled landing, making random side hits and unlikely jibs suddenly appear as beautiful and promising as sculpted park jumps.

 

Noah counts snowboarding, hip-hop and reggae among his influences, as well as the skiing of contemporaries like Magnus Graner, Henrik and his longtime friend Luka Melloni of Spain, who Noah credits heavily as a style influence. “Luka has a really sick style, one of the best,” he says. “It looks easy, and he goes big too.”

 

Noah’s fine control of difficult tight transitions played into his favor at the 2015 B&E Invitational, where he was voted “Best Overall” by the assembled crew of top international skiers, many his own idols. This recognition from his peers was a huge milestone for Noah and he accepted the award filled with emotion; it was a powerful affirmation of the path he’s on. “It shows me that I’m going in the right direction, that I need to keep going in this direction and that I shouldn’t not give up,” he says.

 

Right now, giving up isn’t even close to being in the cards. Noah is looking forward to another season on the road, filming with his new collaborators and continuing to work with his hometown squad “Round 2” in Andorra. With a breakout season behind him, it’s going to be interesting and exciting to see where the path leads for this unconventional ski talent and genuine human being.

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andorra, B&E Invitational, level 1