A highlight in the annual bike industry calendar is just around the corner: the 2015 Design & Innovation Award is about to take place. From next week our 25 strong team will be extensively testing and analysing the best 2015 products in the South Tyrol. Our mission is to highlight the most innovative and best products and technologies in the world. An international jury of six members will support us.

Having recently introduced you to Joe Parkin, Ruben Torenbeek, Manuel Fumic and Nico Lau, it’s now the turn of the fifth jury member. Even though she’s not yet 13 years old she’s been riding downhill for four years and is already quicker on a bike than many of us will ever be. At the Whistler Crankworx Festival she won the B-Line race and we are convinced that many more victories are awaiting the young Austrian. Let’s welcome our youngest jury member Vali Höll!

Wer Vali einmal fahren gesehen hat, wird kaum glauben, dass sie erst 12 ist.
Those who’ve seen Vali riding will hardly believe that she’s just 12 years old.

It’s obvious that the lack of high quality equipment available for kids and younger riders – Vali can also tell you all about that. Whilst more and more manufacturers are making special ‘youth’ bikes and there are increasingly more suitable accessories on the market aimed at smaller and lighter riders we still see massive room for improvement in this area. Our newly introduced Design & Innovation Award category of Children’s specific products aims to nurture this area. After all it’s about the up-and-coming riders – the future! The amount of biking parents who want to take their kids on the trails is growing rapidly. Unfortunately there are hardly any tests or orientation aids in this area in-spite of the hugely varying quality of the products. Vali, who has been dealing with this challenge since she’s been on a bike, brings a lot of hard won experience to the jury.

We sat down with Vali to find out more about her.

Hi Vali! Great that you can take part in our Design & Innovation Award. Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi I’m Vali Höll from Saalbach (Austria) and I’m 12 years old. I live in the Spielberghaus and attend the HIB Sport School in Saalfelden.

Can you briefly describe your riding career so far?
I’ve been riding downhill for four years and for the last 2 years in the iXS Rookies Cup. I got my first full suss bike at eight and have been enjoying riding ever since. This year I’ve started riding trials too – to me improve my lines.

What fascinates you about biking the most?
I love the adrenaline kick on jumps and I love the flow. But I also like technical riding and it’s just cool being in the woods and in the outdoors. It’s also nice to do something together with your parents and friends.

In Saalbach aufgewachsen hat Vali eine riesige Bike-Spielwiese direkt vor der Haustür.
Growing up in Saalbach Vali has a huge bike play area right in front of the door.

For your age of 12 you’re pretty fast and must have a different level of demands on equipment compared to your school friends. Is it difficult to find the right equipment? Do you have to make compromises?
Last year I was riding 24″ wheels and it’s impossible to find different tyres for varying conditions. Finding protectors, which don’t slip was also a big challenge.

How do you see the current situation with kids and youth bikes? What’s good and what needs improving?
In general the small bikes are just too heavy and expensive. Not every parent can afford to spend so much on kids bikes, which are trail ready. The choice is increasing thankfully. There are more and more kids courses at the bike parks and a better range of kids clothing and equipment.

Egal ob Bikepark-Strecken oder technische Trails - Vali ist flott unterwegs
On bike descents or technical trails – Vali is always quick

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