HE only started snowboarding less than a year ago – but a York youngster has already made his bid for world glory on the Swiss slopes.

Rowan Coultas, 12, swapped North Yorkshire’s icy weather for even colder climes when he competed in the Burton European Open last weekend.

More than 400 competitors gathered in the Swiss town of Laax for the eight-day contest and Rowan, of Fulford, was one of 54 youngsters from 14 nations who battled it out on Crap Sogn Gion in the junior slopestyle competition.

The Fulford School pupil began the sport only ten months ago and, in that time, has competed in a number of events across Britain – including the British Snow Tour at Norwich, Milton Keynes and Castleford – giving him enough points to qualify for the prestigious European event.

Dad Nick Coultas said he was immensely proud of Rowan, who hopes to become a professional snowboarder and compete in the Olympics.

“The Burton European Open is attended by kids from all over the world and was Rowan’s first ever major global competition,” Nick said.

“He placed an impressive 22nd in the slopestyle and 25th in the halfpipe – not bad for his first major event. It is scary as a parent to see your child taking jumps at up to 40mph, but it is an amazing achievement for him to take part in competitions like this and I am immensely proud."

Rowan, who is sponsored by a number of snowboarding companies such as Animal Clothing and The Snowboard Asylum, practises on dry slopes at Castleford and Halifax.

Nick said: “Not only has Rowan been doing this for a short time, when others have been doing it for up to six years, but most of the other children live near mountains.

“Rowan has to train at dry slopes and barely gets the chance to try real snow. He is now hoping to take part in the junior Olympics in 2010 and hopefully one day the Olympics itself. He has got off to a flying start."