Atomic Youth


Dec 1, 2002
Outside Magazine

Miller at home in Franconia, New Hampshire

Bode Miller [25]


Franconia, New Hampshire
Like 100-meter sprinters, the top finishers in Olympic and world slalom races are separated by only hundredths of a second. So when Bode Miller began winning last season by one, two, even three seconds, the slow-motion videos started rolling in race rooms across Europe, as coaches and athletes attempted to reverse-engineer his runs. "The average Joe couldn't see anything different in my style," says Miller. "Only the top racers in the world can notice the little things, like how I pressure the ski, turn shape, and stance."

Good luck to them: This guy really wins by pure explosiveness. His biggest problem—if someone who took home two silver medals from Salt Lake City has a problem—is that he's too fast. Until recently, the 210-pound powerhouse crashed out on more courses than he finished. To destroy the competition last season, he had to dial it back.

Not that all those yard sales stymied Miller's confidence. A talented multisport athlete, he has claimed that he could have played pro tennis or challenged Brazilian great Ronaldo in soccer. Of course, it's tough to argue with a guy who medaled in ten World Cup races last season, and then in May flew off to Jamaica to spank Jonny Moseley and a slew of NFL talent in the made-for-TV celebrity competition known as Superstars. The key to Miller's success? He didn't trip in the obstacle course. —Marc Peruzzi

Sarah Clemensen [24]


Salt Lake City, Utah
Most freeheelers don't willingly huck themselves off 25-foot cliffs. Fewer still will throw in a flip for good measure. But the five-foot-ten, 165-pound Sarah Clemensen isn't your average telly chick. "I have aggression, speed, and a crazy look in my eye, yet I still have grace, fluidity, and a girly swing," she says, with characteristic swagger. That Speed Racer gaze has been with her from her first competition, the U.S. Nationals at Washington's Stevens Pass in 1999, where—despite having never before bashed the bamboo—she clinched the expert division. Four years later, she's the only member of the U.S. Telemark Association's national team who also dominates the U.S. Freeskiing Series. And she's only going bigger. Just ask filmmaker Josh Murphy, who invited her to carve blistering turns for his September-released flick Unparalleled 3: Soul Slide: "She'll blow up on a mountain before she'll inch down it." —Eric Hansen