Kelly Sildaru has won the winter Piotr Nurowski Prize ©Getty Images

Estonian freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru has been awarded the Piotr Nurowski Prize, which recognises the best young European winter athlete.

Sildaru was one of five candidates for the second edition of the winter prize, which was awarded here as part of the Macedonian Olympic Committee's 25th anniversary celebrations.

Italy's Alex Vinatzer, winner of the boys' slalom competition at the Winter European Youth Olympic Festival in Erzurum in Turkey, was among the nominees.

Freestyle skier Birk Ruud of Norway was a candidate after finishing second in last season's Big Air World Cup, as well as Polish speed skater Kamila Stormowska and Slovenian ski jumper Nika Križnar.

Sildaru was honoured after an extremely impressive season, which saw her achieve both Junior World Championship and X-Games success.

She became the youngest gold medalist to date at a Winter X-Games when she won slopestyle gold at Aspen in 2016 as a 13-year-old.

She repeated the feat this January at the American venue, as well as winning a silver medal in the big air competition.

Sildaru's potential was again on show when she secured slopestyle and halfpipe gold medals at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Junior World Championships in Switzerland and Italy respectively.

The Estonian, now aged 15, has set her sights on competing at the Winter Olympic Games.

She was presented with a trophy and a training scholarship of €12,000 (£10,300/$13,500) by the European Olympic Committees, while the runners-up were given a memento for reaching the final shortlist.

Norway's Birk Ruud was among the runners-up ©Getty Images
Norway's Birk Ruud was among the runners-up ©Getty Images

To be eligible for the winter prize, athletes must be under the age of 19 by December 2017.

Nominations were put forwarded by their National Olympic Committees, in conjunction with their Athletes’ Commissions.

As well as performance, athletes' behaviour, conduct and Olympic culture and values are taken into account.

The 50 European National Olympic Committees voted for the prize during their seminar here this weekend.

The prize is named after Nurowski, who was President of the Polish Olympic Committee and one of 96 people killed in a plane crash in Smolensk in Russia in 2010.

A Polish Air Force Tu-154 crashed on its way to a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre, a mass murder of Poles by the Soviet Union during World War Two.

"Through his example and his memory, the award aims to encourage young athletes to pursue a career in elite sport, and also inspire future generations to adopt a healthy lifestyle based on Olympic values and principles," the EOC said.

The first winter edition of the award was given to Ukrainian biathlon champion Krystyna Dmytrenko last year in Tarragona.

Nominations for the summer prize will be opened in September, with a winner set to be decided at the EOC General Assembly in Zagreb in November.

Greek pole vaulter Emmanouil Karalis is the current holder of the summer prize.