Swiss prodigy Kai Mahler came into Winter X Games 2012 with plenty of hype thanks to impressive results in European city big-air competitions last fall (2nd at both the Freestyle.Ch and Budapest Fridge Festival), and he lived up to expectations in Aspen. He secured technical grabs and stuck his switch double misty 1440—the trick he’s become known for—to win silver in Big Air.
Many consider Mahler a top contender for the 2014 Olympic slopestyle gold medal. His coach predicts Mahler will represent Switzerland in both slopestyle and pipe in Sochi. After all, he can lay down a halfpipe run complete with switch double cork 1260s. He won halfpipe competition at the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria in January 2012.
The 16-year-old, who already has his own pro-model ski with Movement, won grew up with a chairlift 100 meters behind his house and landed a backflip on skis at age 9.
His biggest inspiration is fellow Swiss skier Elias Ambuhl.