Ludlow's Farrow Thrives On Pro Snowboard Circuit
The Compass Ludlow, VT Dec. 9, 2011
LUDLOW, VT. - Ludlow-native and Black River High School graduate Benji Farrow is
on a roll. In what has been a very busy year for the 19-year-old pro snowboarder, Farrow has competed in various competitions in Colorado, Italy, New Zealand and Switzerland.
Photo by Joss Thompson
During the past 2010-2011 snowboard season, Farrow reached No.6 in the Burton Global Open Series rankings and is currently ranked in the Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour. To top it all off, he was also recently named to make the United States National Snowboard Team.
"I am currently ranked 4th overall in the TTR World Tour Ranking system," Farrow said in a recent interview. "But hopefully, my ranking should move up with a strong finish at next weeks 5-star U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix in Copper Mountain Colorado."
Farrow grew up in Ludlow where his father was always his coach, and cut his snowboarding teeth on the slopes of Okemo Mountain . However, he was not allowed to ride for the Black River High School team because after taking third place in a rail jam at age 12, (which also came with a $50. Prize) the Vermont Principals Association considered him a professional.
Extreme as that sounds, it was no problem for Farrow who instead, began competing in various United States Snowboard Association (USSA) regional events over the next three years at Okemo, Mount Snow, Stratton and Killington. Invaluable experience for a young rider, as Farrow competed in all five disciplines - halfpipe, slopestyle, boarder cross slalom and giant slalom. He did them all, simply because he wasn't sure what discipline to concentrate on.
At 16, Farrow was competing in larger events up and down the East coast and started getting noticed on the circuit, competing in his first U. S. Grand Prix. And it would only get better from there, as the 2010-2011 season would see Farrow become the top U.S. rider at the Barton New Zealand Open in slopestyle, the top U. S. rider in the halfpipe at Junior Worlds and the top U. S. rider in the halfpipe at the O'Neil Revolution.
Farrow's big breakthrough came, however, at the European Open in Switzerland. Coming into the field of 200 of the best riders on the planet unranked, he finished fourth overall behind three of the top riders in the world, including two-time TTR World Champion Pettu Piiroin of Finland.
It was a huge step in his development, but Farrow said the accomplishment "went to his head a little," which turned into a disappointing finish at the prestigious U. S. Open. However, Benji learned from his mistake, using it as incentive to become better.
Farrow now lives and trains at Breckenridge in Colorado, after forging a close friendship with fellow rider and U. S. National teammate Tyler Gold and his family. Being named to the team also allows Farrow to train with the national coaching staff of Mike Jakubowski and Spencer Tamblyn...more invaluable experience.
Recently, Farrow competed in the FIS World Cup Halfpipe, finishing in fifth place overall. "The halfpipe was very hard, cold and icy, which reminded me very much of the conditions I rode growing up in Ludlow," Farrow said. "Learning at a young age to ride in those tough conditions has certainly helped me excel in my career."
The chance to be on to the U. S. Snowboarding team is also a big thrill for the Ludlow-native. "It is such a huge honor," Farrow said. "I remember watching riders like Hannah, Elijah, Danny and Ross ride the U.S. Snowboard logo years ago.
"To be one of the people to take their place and carry the teams success forward is very exciting. The Olympic Team isn't decided until a few weeks before the Games, and they only choose four riders, so hopefully I am riding well when that time comes and can earn one of those Olympic team spots."