Under bright, bluebird skies, 18 of the world’s most notable up-and-comers alongside the icons of snowboarding progressed the sport to a new level on Saturday as Red Bull Supernatural ran on Baldface Lodge just north of Nelson.
From the first rider to drop, Scotty Lago, through Travis Rice’s final run, the never before ridden Supernatural course challenged every aspect of the competitors’ talents, bringing the most progressive riding of our time together in a single run.
“We’re walking away with a different state of mind,” said Rice, who was the host snowboarder of the event. “This was an experiment and it’s the beginning of a new, possible future for snowboarding. These guys ride like this all the time. It’s just a really tough thing to capture, even in a video part. No breaks, riding first tracks and on all-natural terrain.
Here we are able to showcase the talent in snowboarding today.”
Rice came out hot from the very start putting down a nearly flawless run, hitting as many features as possible, stomping landings and adding inversions to multiple maneuvers. His first score of 91 held the top spot throughout the day.
Gigi Rüf scored 84 points on his first run, which held the second spot throughout the day. Nicolas Müller topped John Jackson’s score of 80.6, with an 82.6 in the final run with buttery transitions and the solid, stylish riding he is known for. But Jackson didn’t walk away empty handed, he won ‘Best Trick’ by stomping a double cork 1080 off the big kicker on his final run.
“We had no idea that people would tee off that big without having ever seen anyone hit the features before,” said Tom Burt, head judge for the event. “This contest puts together where snowboarding is headed, riding the mountains. But adding freestyle riding into the mix
really ups the level. Nature alone can’t fully provide a course like this.”
Rice’s dream run for Red Bull Supernatural was built across 2,200 vertical feet on the slope nicknamed “Scary Cherry.” The run hosted more than 80 man-made features including pillow lines, enormous platforms and goal posts in the over 40 degree top section. Most riders had hit five or more features over varying size before heading into the super-kickers where fresh powder landings allowed riders to open up with speed and style. The final slopestyle section had pillow platforms to tap and log rides that took riders straight into the finish line.
“Today was a great example of where our sport is going and what we can do to get it to the next level,” said Jeff Pensiero, owner of Baldface Lodge. “I was surprised at how much these guys really stepped up their game to ride this course. I thought a lot of it was not rideable, but these guys proved that they earn their livings exceeding expectations.”
Standouts of the day included Terje’s fast turns punctuated by massive methods off the hip transfers, Eric Jackson’s butter into a huge 540 off an upper platform and Lucas Debari’s enormous air launched off a platform initially built as an evacuation heli platform.
“Everyone had standout moments,” said Burt. “The talent on course today was mindboggling.”
Burt also points to Devun Walsh’s 360 pillow platform tap on the final hit and Nicolas Müller’s switch 720 off the
kicker as some of the day’s most notable moments.
The two-hour Red Bull Supernatural special will air on NBC on March. The event is part of NBC’s Red Bull Signature Series which features the most progressive snowboarding, mountain biking, freestyle motocross, skiing and BMX events.