AMERICA’S FUTURE DOWNHILL CHAMPION – ASA VERMETTE IS A STAR ON THE RISE
On the verge of greatness, many are calling Asa the next Aaron Gwinn
AMERICA’S FUTURE DOWNHILL CHAMPION
There is a never-ending stream of talented groms coming up the ranks, hoping to be the next big thing in mountain bike racing. Whether focused on enduro, cross-country, slopestyle, dual-slalom or downhill, these riders are the future of the sport, and we love to see them progress. Out of this often rambunctious group can be picked one or two prodigies that you can just tell are going to go far in the sport if they remain focused. Asa Vermette is one of those riders who seems to be a step ahead of the pack.
Asa’s main focus is downhill, but he’s been known to race—and often win—other disciplines like enduro, BMX and even dirt bikes. His history of success in racing speaks for itself, but that’s not what made us take a second glance. Everyone we’ve talked to about Asa has mentioned how much of a joy he is to be around. He’s kind and respectful, and only cares about having fun and putting his all into everything he does. He doesn’t necessarily care what he’s riding; he just wants to ride and puts forth 100-percent effort at every turn.
‘The first time I met Asa was before I worked for Mountain Bike Action. I was a bike mechanic in Santa Fe, New Mexico, riding my dirt jumper at the skate park one night. While I was there, this young kid showed up on a Transition PBJ dirt jumper with some Crankbrothers Mallets attached (if you don’t know, those are clipless pedals). This kid proceeded to blow my mind with the level of “send” he was capable of, which resulted in a fantastic skatepark session full of new lines and a lot of crashing and laughing. Asa was 13 at the time and didn’t have a care in the world outside of riding bikes and having fun. He’s 16 now and can out-ride just about everyone I can think of, including some of the fastest pros in the U.S. He proved this by coming in third in last year’s Fox US Open DH event. The great part is that he’s kept that same attitude from when he was 13—not a care in the world, aside from riding bikes and having fun.” – MBA Assistand Editor, JJ Squires
So, what makes this kid so fast, where is he planning on going with it, and why is he the next U.S. star?Asa has managed to gather support from several different brands, including World Cup elite racer Neko Mulally who has given Asa one of his prototype Frameworks bikes to ride for the season and provide feedback to Neko about how it rides. We asked Neko why he chose Asa as his protégé, and he said this: “Asa caught my attention this season with his calm and collected mindset at the races. He has a laser focus but doesn’t let the nerves get to him. DH is such a mental game, so this is going to set him apart as he develops.”
It’s clear I wasn’t the only one impressed by Asa’s talent and ability to just go for it beyond fear of risk or consequence. Asa also rides for DVO Suspension, Enve Components, BC Goggles and Renen Racing Apparel, who we think have made a good decision in supporting such a talented kid. I’ve been following him closely on Instagram and am continuously impressed by his showcase of skill. Last year he learned to backflip and even took that flipping ability to his ski bike where he flipped an altogether terrifying-looking snow step-down as smoothly as if it were a built dirt jump.
Looking at Asa’s stats from the last couple of years of racing I see a lot of gold, a little silver and a little bronze. Of the records I could find, I could only count six out of 26 races where he didn’t end up on the podium. Of those six, only two were downhill races, both of which he finished fourth. His major success was won in the Northwest Cup series. He raced Cat. 1 (Expert) U19, which he dominated, only finishing out of the top spot with a third in the first race of the series.
He did something similar in the 2022 U.S. Downhill National Championships in Winter Park, Colorado, where he won the Cat 1 15–16 event, earning him the stars-and-stripes sleeves, indicating he is the national champion in that category. He’s also seen success in other events over the past year, winning the 2022 DVO Winter DH Cat 1 15-16 series and is looking strong in the 2023 DVO Winter series with a second place in the first event, this time racing the Pro class.
A FUTURE OF INSANE SHREDDING
His plans for the future are clear as he begins this year to travel the world and gain as much experience racing as he can before “coming of age” next year. He’ll turn 17 in January 2024, which is when he will be old enough to race the full World Cup circuit as a junior. He has no viral videos like Jackson Goldstone, nor does he seem to seek the world’s attention as he reaches for his goals. He’s simply a bike rider and racer enjoying the journey towards potential greatness.
“I just wanna race World Cups for as long as I can. I just love riding my bike and dirt biking,” – Asa Vermette.
Asa has his priorities straight and in tandem to what Neko said about his level head and not letting the nerves get to him. It’s very apparent that this kid is going to go a long way in the sport of mountain biking.
Name: Asa Vermette
Birthdate: January 24, 2007
Birthplace: Durango, Colorado
Weight: 145 pounds
Shoe size: 11
Helmet size: Large
Started racing: 2018
Turned pro: 2023
Favorite course: Purgatory, Colorado, World Cup DH
Favorite trick: Sui’, backflip, 360
Favorite off-bike activity: Dirt biking
Goals: To race World Cups as long as possible
Jobs held: I get paid to race bikes
Always takes on a trip: My bikes
INSIDE THE PROS’ BIKES
ASA VERMETTE’S FRAMEWORKS PROTOTYPE
Frame: Frameworks prototype frame designed by World Cup racer Neko Mulally
“I love the frame. It is for sure the best bike that I have ever ridden.”
Fork: DVO Onyx DC D1 DH fork, 203mm
“It is a sick fork.”
Tires: Maxxis Assegai DD, 29×2.5” front, Maxxis DHR II, DH Casing, 27.5×2.4” rear
Tubeless sealant: “Yep, tubeless.”
Tire inserts: “I don’t run inserts”
Front hub: Industry Nine
Rear hub: Industry Nine
Rear axle width: 148mm
Brakes: TRP DH-R Evos, Silver, 223mm rotors.
Handlebars: Enve 160
Cranks: 5DEV cranks with an O-chain spider attached
Shifter: SRAM X0
Rear derailleur: SRAM X0
Seatpost: Cane Creek
Weight of complete bike: “Probably 41 pounds.”
Actual or estimated retail cost of the bike, as it is set up: “I don’t know. Neko doesn’t sell them yet, but at least $10,000.”
MBA: Where did you grow up?
Asa: Durango, Colorado.
MBA: Where do you live now?
Asa: Durango, Colorado.
MBA: What kind of work do your parents do?
Asa: Dad is a contractor. Mom is a nurse.
MBA: When did you learn to ride a bike?
Asa: At 3.
MBA: Who taught you?
Asa: My dad and mom.
MBA: Did you compete on other kinds of bikes before mountain bikes?
Asa: Yeah, dirt bikes and BMX. I won every dirt bike race I entered and most every BMX race.
MBA: When did you get your first mountain bike?
Asa: At 3.
MBA: How did you finish in your first mountain bike race?
MBA: Where do you go to school?
Asa: I’m homeschooled.
MBA: What is your favorite subject or major?
Asa: Probably science. ο