Athletes - Protect Our Winters - Australia

Valentino Guseli | Snowboarding

Valentino ‘Val’ Guseli is regarded as one of the best young talents in Australia and is now considered a rising star on the global scene. Breaking the world record for the highest snowboard halfpipe air, and now competing at the upper echelons of the sport Val placed 6th in the Half-Pipe at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Val will be looking to make history at the 2026 Olympics by being the first male athlete to go for gold in 3 separate disciplines: Half-Pipe, Slopestyle & Big Air.

Living on the NSW South Coast Val is conscious of the risks climate change poses to the things he loves most – “I’ve been snowboarding since I was three and it has been something my life has revolved around for a very long time. It has taught me countless valuable life lessons and brought me and those closest to me so much joy. The thought of others and future generations potentially not having the opportunity to do something that me and a lot of other people live for is a devastating reality that I want to help try and prevent.

For the sake of the future shredders that rely on winter to do what they love, and to help to continue to grow snow sports and Australia and around the world, I want to spread the word of POW as much as possible.”

Cameron ‘Woody’ Wood | Skiing

I was raised in the mountains of the Scottish Highlands, this is where my obsession began. Like many we all have that place we call ‘Home’, the place where our deepest memories lie, and where our passion came to fruition. My passion is skiing. A culture rich sport which provides a way of life, and a community that speaks the same language wherever you go. Scotland is where it began for me, but skiing has led me on a journey to recognize this planet is our ‘Home’.

My love for skiing has taken my life on twists and turns, from competing in freestyle and freeride, to pursuing a career as a Backcountry Ski Guide. Grateful for my opportunities, I look towards creating a future where people get to enjoy the same. After witnessing the effects a changing climate has on our ecosystem and the sports we live for. I realise the urgency for change, now more than ever. We all have a connection to this environment, let’s turn our connection into action. POW gives us all a voice in fighting for the things we love.

Profile picture by Tom Roffey

Alex Parsons | Splitboarding

I may have grown up in the much warmer locations of Sydney and Hawaii but it was Australia’s Snowy Mountains that captured my heart. I started my snow journey as a snowboard instructor in 2015, moved into resort media and marketing and then became a backcountry snowboard guide. It was here I saw the effects of climate change most keenly, reducing our snowpack, bringing rain, shorter seasons and more unpredictable weather. In spring I watched the snow drifts melt earlier than ever and learned about the devastating effects this was having on our native animals like the pygmy possum.

I am lucky enough to frequently explore our beautiful and remote mountains, and even luckier to have the ability to communicate the changes I see through photos, videos, articles and my work when I train backcountry guides. I believe in defence through joy – creating experiences for people to enjoy and embrace the outdoors in the hope that they will fall in love with it and then defend it.

Partnering with POW means I can amplify my voice and join the tribe who are trying to make change in Australia. Mountain lovers are a passionate group and we might just be wild and ambitious enough to save what we love. We’re all here to protect nature, protect our mountains and protect our winters.

Toby Nagorcka | Snowboarder

I remember as a kid driving up to the Snowy mountains, my folks would always say that as soon as I could see them, my face would just light up and I would get the “zoomies”. To this day I still feel this intense energy and happiness whenever I’m in the mountains and around snow. I become this little kid with a sense of creativity and freedom.

One of the most amazing things to me about any snow sport is that no matter where you are; whether you’re falling on your bum the whole day or at a competitive level, the joy and stoke it brings to people is just unmatched. You soon realize that there’s family wherever you go and the love of the mountains brings people from all sorts of backgrounds together. Moving around a lot, for various competition scenes over many years, you realise just how special these places are, yet also extremely fragile.

As well as a love for snowboarding I study and have a passion for environmental science and the climate. I am very rapidly realizing that the places we love might not be there for generations to come; especially Australia’s snowy mountains. Being a part of POW really means a lot to me as they are truly at the forefront of saving something I love and something that brings so much joy to so many. It’s past time to give respect to an environment that gives us so much more than we can ever imagine.

The mountains can’t speak for themselves so we all need to be a voice for them to be heard.

Paige Penrose | Trail Running

I’m a human who really likes to run – it’s about the only time when my brain and body feel like they’re in sync. I came last in every cross country in my early school years and was quite convinced I hated it – I’ve only found out I was wrong in the last couple of years but I’ve spent my whole life on the trails.

I really like Earth and the seemingly insurmountable task of protecting our planet becomes less daunting with friends. I’ve run through ancient Gondwanan rainforest in the hope of saving them, I’ve raised funds, I try to say thanks for every kilometre I traverse across this planet but alone, I cannot do enough. POW is a chance to stand alongside each other.

Mia ‘Miff’ Rennie | Skiing

Miff Rennie has been a professional Skier since the age of 15. At just 16, Mia became Australia’s youngest female skier to compete at a Freeski World Cup. Standing alongside the World’s Top 30 Skiers. Mia is the future of Australian Women’s Skiing and a daring, ambitious skier with her sights set on X-Games and Olympic Gold.

Mia competed in her first World Junior at 13, edging out some of the world’s best skiers. With Podiums in World Cup Qualifying events, a Youth Olympic Games Finalist and a Series of US, NZ and European Podiums, including 16 golds, Mia is making a name as one of the most fearless female skiers on the world stage.

In 2022, Miff joined the Channel 7 Olympic Games Commentary team and hosted the Channel 7 TikTok Olympic Games Show, frequently appearing in worldwide media.

As an ambassador for Protect our Winters, The Chumpy Pullin Foundation & Clif Bar, Mia pours her energy into sustainable solutions, believing we are at our absolute best as a human race when connected to nature and the land.

“We are at our best as a race when we work as one, in harmony, with the gifts that surround us every day, the mountains, the ocean, our animals, the plants, our sustainable resources”. “Our very presence impacts the planet; we can make choices to offset our impact, to pave a better future for the next generations. My sport takes from the earth, but it gives so much to me personally and emotionally; through my partnership with POW, we can work to give back to the earth, offset our footprint, to find better ways to co-exist with nature and the natural environment”.

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