Sports

Red Bull Ultra Natural announces riders for Nelson area competition

Baldface Lodge staff shapes the Red Bull Ultra Natural super kicker. The snowboard competition will go off later this week at the snowcat operation south of Nelson. - Chris Wellhausen photo
Baldface Lodge staff shapes the Red Bull Ultra Natural super kicker. The snowboard competition will go off later this week at the snowcat operation south of Nelson.
— image credit: Chris Wellhausen photo

With the contest window opening later this week, 13 of the 16 chosen riders are preparing to drop into the updated Red Bull Ultra Natural course located at Baldface Lodge just north of Nelson.

In total, eight riders will join the top finishers from last year on the ultimate snowboard run, complete with more features and options than previously imaginable. The event is being touted as something that will redefine what is possible in snowboard competition on a single day during the February 15-21 holding period.

Travis Rice, Gigi Rüf, Nicolas Müller, Lucas Debari, Kazuhiro Kokubo, Jake Blauvelt and David Carrier-Porcheron return as the top finishers from 2012. Last year’s fourth-place finisher John Jackson, who is currently injured, will sit out the competition but attend as an on-camera personality. In Jackson’s place, Eero Niemela, who finished in ninth-place last year, will round out the top eight finishers from 2012.

The first four new rider spots were selected based on standout film parts and contest results in the last few seasons. The incoming group of riders including Torstein Horgmo, Pat Moore, Bode Merrill and Mikey Rencz are pushing all aspects of snowboarding today.

Horgmo’s made an incredible impact on the sport over the past few seasons, as documented in film parts and contest riding with big air and slopestyle titles that will be a force on the Red Bull Ultra Natural course.

Moore, who continually makes a mark in quarterpipes and with standout video parts, was invited in 2012, but bowed out with an injury. Now he’s healthy, strong and ready to drop in.

Merrill’s creative lines, innovative tricks and high impact video parts stand out on film. This year he'll have his chance to see if his skills on camera translate to the one-day event.

Rencz is a long-time Canadian rider who has paid his dues in the BC backcountry. His double-song, closing segment in 2012 exemplified the style of riding that will stand out at Red Bull Ultra Natural.

A repeat slopestyle win at the X Games earned Mark McMorris a wildcard spot to return in 2013. One of the only riders to consistently land triple corked maneuvers, look for him to pull big moves all over the course. 

For the new riders coming in, the entire contest will be new as the athletes will be met with an updated format, new judges, a new contest name and refreshed, even more exciting course.

Red Bull Ultra Natural is the only event that brings together the backcountry film kings alongside the best in park and pipe to select the best all-around rider in the world. 

The final three wildcard spots will be chosen by Snowboarder Magazine, TransWorld SNOWboarding Magazine and Baldface Lodge.  The recipients of these coveted spots will be announced later this week.

Fans can tune in to NBC on March 30 at 10:30 a.m. to catch Red Bull Ultra Natural presented by Nike Snowboarding. The show airs as part of the Red Bull Signature Series, an action sports property featuring some of Red Bull’s top events including Dreamline, Wake Open and Rampage.  For more information visit www.redbullsignatureseries.com.

To watch the event trailer and learn more about Red Bull Ultra Natural visit www.redbull.com/ultranatural.

 

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