Summit’s Siddhartha Ullah prepared to face off against his snowboarding idols at first Winter Dew Tour
16-year-old halfpipe rider narrowly missed qualifying for 2022 Olympics for Great Britain and was recently accepted into Stanford
The 2023 Winter Dew Tour will be a full-circle moment for one of Summit County’s young, burgeoning riders.
Siddhartha “Sidd” Ullah, 16, will be making his debut in the competition in a lineup of athletes that inspired him and shaped him into the halfpipe rider he is today.
“Danny Davis and Ayumu Hirano were two of the riders that inspired me to get into the sport and start competing,” Ullah said.
Ullah met both riders when he was quite young, but on Sunday afternoon Ullah will get the opportunity to compete against both of his idols during the snowboard superpipe final.
“I am really excited,” Ullah said of the opportunity to compete against Davis and Hirano. “I have never competed against (Danny Davis) before. To be able to be in the same competition and competing with him I feel like is an amazing moment for me.”
Beyond being a young rider with ties to Great Britain, Ullah is also a Copper Mountain Resort-sponsored athlete who first began snowboarding when he was 2 years old and growing up in California.
Ullah says it was when his mother — Shamya Ullah — took him on a trip to snowboard when he was around 4-years-old that Ullah truly fell in love with the sport.
“I loved it, so I started doing it more and more,” Ullah said.
After discovering a passion for the sport at Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood, California, longtime snowboard coach Maya Giernet took Ullah under her wing.
Giernet — who is known for coaching snowboarders Chloe Kim and Maddie Mastro — coached Ullah in the first few years of his career before Hirano’s old coach Ben Boyd took over from 2015-22.
Giernet and Boyd both ultimately helped transform Ullah from an elementary-level rider to an experienced rider that has started turning heads on the professional snowboard scene.
“It’s not something that happened super fast,” Ullah said of his development into the rider he is today. “I was on snow a lot, and it was definitely a lot of work that I had to put in.”
In many ways, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi forever changed how Ullah thought about the sport.
“Before I started competing I was just riding for fun. But I watched the Olympics in 2014, and that was when I really said, ‘I want to ride halfpipe and do this as much as I can,’” Ullah said. “That was the point where I decided this is what I wanted to do. From there, I started working my way up from small competitions and climbing up.”
With a firm dream behind him, Ullah made the move to Summit County during the 2015-16 winter season.
Moving out to Summit County around 8 years ago really helped Ullah make the final push to his current level of riding. Copper Mountain Resort allows Ullah to be on snow for the majority of the year, and the Woodward Copper Barn helps Ullah master tricks on a trampoline and in foam pits before trying them on snow.
“They just have an amazing park, and I feel like being here you are always around the center of competition,” Ullah said. “Being surrounded by great riders and such a great pipe and such a great park is a really nice environment for you to push yourself.”
Copper ultimately helped Ullah throughout a busy 2021-22 competition season. Ullah competed across the world cup circuit and got within inches of qualifying to the men’s snowboard halfpipe team for Great Britain.
Though Ullah lives in the U.S., his mother was born in England — where her family still resides. Ullah feels connected to his mother’s country in that way and proudly represents Team Great Britain through snowboarding.
Ullah says he thought he was a long shot for the 2022 Team Great Britain Olympic team heading into the 2021-22 competition season. However, as the season progressed Ullah performed extremely well and was perhaps one trick away from being named to his first Olympic snowboard halfpipe team.
“I felt really happy with how I rode and the experience I got from competing in those (world cup competitions),” Ullah said.
Outside of representing Great Britain, Ullah is also half Black and half south Asian and is proud of that.
“I am one person. I wouldn’t call myself a spokesperson for anybody, but I definitely think I am really proud to represent my culture, heritage and community,” Ullah said.
When Ullah is not on the slopes or in the pipe performing his favorite trick — a backside straight air — Ullah is working hard on schoolwork. Although he’s only 16 years old, Ullah is a senior at an online charter school based out of California and was recently accepted to Stanford University.
“I will ride from like 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and when I get home I will get started on school,” Ullah said. “I am not even sure how I got into Stanford. I was just focused on balancing school and snowboarding. It kind of worked out. It paid off.”
Ullah — who is the valedictorian of his class — is currently weighing his options and trying to find a way to balance snowboarding while attending Stanford or another university.
Ultimately, Ullah hopes to continue to progress his riding over the next few years and make the Great Britain men’s snowboard halfpipe team ahead of the 2026 Winter Olympics.
“I would like to compete in and podium at all the big events, but right now I am also focused on pushing my progression — really trying to learn new stuff,” Ullah said of his hopes over the next few years.
In the immediate future, Ullah hopes to soak in the moments of his first Winter Dew Tour.
“I am super excited,” Ullah said. “There are so many competitors that I have grown up watching, so to be in that field and to be in that environment is really awesome. I am looking forward to enjoying the moment.”
Ullah is scheduled to compete in the men’s superpipe final at noon on Sunday, Feb. 26, at Copper Mountain Resort. The event will also feature Summit’s Taylor Gold and Ryan Wachendorfer.
The Winter Dew Tour is free and open to the public.
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