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Snowboarding Crowns the world’s best mountain bikers in the series finale

Early morning sunlight illuminated the enormous 40-degree slope as the first rival descended into the 2,200-foot Alaskan face. Before this last day of the figure skating competition in the third and final leg of The Natural Selection TourThere was one question on everyone’s mind: What kind of knight would excel in such a difficult place? Slope ahead requires mastery of route detection, an understanding of changing snow conditions and aerial awareness (and confidence) to reinforce unknown takeoffs. Will it be the riders with the traditional backgrounds in the competition, the riders who spend their winters in the outback – or the rare riders who have the experience to do both?

Mark McMorris competing in the Red Bull Natural Selection Tour Finals at Mount Tordrillo. Tom T. Bird ‘Monterosso / Natural Selection / Red Bull Tour

Travis Rice, professional snowboarder and innovator The Natural Selection Tour, These mountains in Alaska chose for their limitless potential and consequences – terrain that allows for ultimate creativity and line choice to drive the levels of snowboarding.

The competitors’ field were seven humble knights who all earned a spot here through the previous two stops of the round: the first, a A multi-day live event at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming Features 24 passengers competing head-to-head for a feature-packed powder face; Followed by position # 2, which is a place located deep in the British Columbia hinterland in Baldvas Valhalla The Canadian rider list has full access to shoot a compact video segment. Among the first winners from Wyoming to claim a place in Alaska is the 20-time X Games Medal. Mark McMorris And 19-year-old Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, a contestant best known for her podium performances at Olympic Big Air and X Games Slopestyle. At the Canadian station, by contrast, the platform was manned by two contestants with nearly zero contest experience: Whistler-based Chris Rassman, and celebrated freestyle contestant Robin Van Gin. The list has been rounded off by fellow podium finalists Jackson Hole including one-time Olympic competitor Ben Ferguson, great mountain expert and Norwegian Mikel Pang, and finally veteran contestant Hannah Payman. An unusual competitive mix of famous athletes and country professionals. Who will win?

Ben Ferguson Natural Selection Tour
Ben Ferguson competes in the men’s semi-final of the Red Bull Natural Selection Tour on Mount Tordrillo, Alaska. Tom T. Monterosso bird

Ultimately, it was all about risk versus reward, as Jackson Hole fan favorite Bang got the highest score of the day in his second round featuring full serve commitment and top-down liquidity. Pang, the jockey who last stood on the podium at the Burton US Open figure skating competition in 2012 before taking off his career in country photography, expertly demonstrated his rounded skill set and basically gave a demo. He hooked enviable smooth turns, hooked shifts, and connectivity in precision landings. He unleashed the blind takeoffs, executing both the sleek 360 front side, and the precarious 540 rear turn, which required landing back in a narrow rock pocket.

Canadian Van Gene followed suit to claim the women’s victory, relying on his career spent riding in the countryside, to smoothly navigate the wide face, choosing to blast from the top of the cliff in the stadium with a clean stroke. The stakes in both lines were clear, the style was clear, and the influence of their fellow competitors below was evident. This was the competition and spectator experience that Rice had worked for for the past decade. The results were kept confidential for weeks and then finally revealed in a two-and-a-half hour show that is now streaming. Red Bull TV, With Van Gyn and Bang officially crowned the top snowboarders of all mountains.

Van Gyn and Mikkel Bang Natural Selection Tour
Dean Pluto Gray Tour / Natural Selection / Red Bull Content Pools

As part of the show, Rice wore his commentator hat to help provide viewers with a deeper context and understanding. An experienced high-mountain rider with extensive experience Competition and Film Awards To his name, throughout the run of the show, Rice guides viewers through each contestant round, sharing notes about Alaska’s unique snow quality, insight into passenger line selection, and sharing the stakes and challenges on the side of this Alaska summit you wouldn’t think to question. Through the competition path, we see McMorris, an usually impeccable jockey, turning uncharacteristically from his streak (which McMorris confirms with some colorful comments). We see expert riders misread the terrain and hike to the side of a snowy spine, and we see riders scratching indecisively on steep faces. We also see incredible exploits in figure skating, where it is evident to any scenes of true artistic skill in action, strapping up turns down a wavy spine, the apparent confidence with which the rider sends away from blind take off, and the sheer physical stamina required to descend on This 2,200-foot cliff rises as riders audibly puff and blow through the last face, wide open.

Thanks to compelling, and in some ways, relatable moments like this one, Rice’s Natural Three-Stop Tour has gained a huge fan base this winter. The Natural Selection Tour is hailed as a salve of a wound that many see in the current state of competitive snowboarding. To pull the lens back a little, you might be surprised to learn that snowboarding, a sport that was founded in the American Midwest in 1965 and spread in the 1990s, found itself in the middle-aged years a bit meditative and restless. Out of 7.8 million actual participants in the United States (according to A. The recent snow sport industry Study), most people’s relationship with sports begins and ends as a TV spectator for the annual X Winter Games, or even the Winter Olympics in rare cases.

Here a subset of snowboarding torchbearers are rubbing their hands on the competition case. Attention, in short, focuses on two parts: First, focus on what is difficult to follow N + 1 type of progression Alternately referred to as “spin to win”; Second, it’s the idea that overly manicured places have nothing to do with what the resort snowboarder will experience. The fear is that snowboarding can go the way of skiing, requiring access to a specialized venue, or aerial skiing, where style and culture are conquered by the one-on-one rotation that only a few can follow.

Natural selection has, at its core, charted a new path forward for the sport. Through a new location dependent on the terrain of Mother Nature (which is also at the mercy of the whims of the weather). The event, in the process, also revolutionized event coverage, capturing a first-person video game angle with the FPV racing drones It is piloted by world champion drone pilots to allow viewers to experience the event up close from a passenger’s personal perspective. It’s also easy to follow quick formatting face-to-face rather than tracking a day’s results. And the range of riding styles on offer, thanks to the varied racer backgrounds, gives the event another layer of interest that does not require slow motion and a pocket calculator to understand.

As for the future of this event, rice He promises that this is just the ground floor, he says, “I’m sure we’ll look back at this event in four out of five years and say, ‘Oh, the ride was so nice. People were playing it safe. “

This first season is called “the foundation on which we can build now,” and Rice is confident that as the riders get more comfortable and the stadiums increase, in short, “there is no ceiling for the king.” Stay tuned for the 2022 Natural Selection Tour.


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Written by Joseph

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