Update: 1:43 p.m.: Travis Rice takes the win!
The winners of the Yeti Natural Selection Tour Revelstoke are Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Travis Rice. Their riding proved true dominance in the wild backcountry of Revelstoke.
Update: 1:40 p.m.: Blake Paul dropped in and spun big on his last run of the day, with a big 720°.
The first and last run of the day went to Rice, who did a completely different style of run from his first. Opting for a long set of snow pillows along a less steep cliff, Rice made the ride look easy as he didn’t pause along his run.
Update: 1:35 p.m.: Zoi Sadowski-Synnott gets the win!
With the ultimate birthday present, Sadowski-Synnott got the win, and celebrated with all the riders who wished her happy birthday at the base of the course.
Update: 1:30 p.m.: After a strong first run, Hight still had to make up ground to get points back on Sadowski-Synnott. Coming out big, she took an impressive pillow ride that had captured spectator’s breath. Having rode 90 per cent of the line, she almost made it out clean, but went down at the bottom. It was a nerve-wracking ride out as Hight seemed to almost go into a bush near the landing, but made it out okay.
Sadowski-Synnott also pushed the limit on her second run, heading to the same area she rode before, but attempting a 720° spin. The feed was cut due to technical issues, but Sadowski-Synnott went down in her spin attempt.
Update: 12:55 p.m.: On her birthday, Sadowski-Synnott’s run got the advantage for the first run of the women’s final over Elena Hight. The two will have one more run each, where Hight will look to wrestle the lead from Sadowski-Synnott.
A frontside 360° and back flip from Blake Paul set the tone for the men’s final quickly, putting Travis Rice on the spot to perform.
The announcer’s nervously anticipated Rice’s first run of the finals, before he dropped in. With so much at stake, Rice was expected to make a big run, and he didn’t disappoint. Dropping a huge cliff over some pillows of snow without hesitation had the announcer’s holding their breaths.
With a 90.8, Rice took the lead in the men’s final over Paul.
Both riders will get one more run.
Update: 12:40 p.m.: With two solid runs from Blake Paul and Jared Elston, the two competed for the other spot in the finals. A clean back flip in Paul’s second run helped set his run apart from Elston, and punch his ticket to the finals.
It will be a battle of the Jacksonites in the men’s final with Rice and Paul going head-to-head, both from Jackson, Wyoming.
To recap, Elena Hight will face off against Zoi Sadowski-Synnott in the final for the women’s event.
Update: 12:32 p.m.: Travis Rice and Dustin Craven were paired up for one of the semi-finals bracket, with Blake Paul and Jared Elston in the other.
Rice talked about balancing his duties as founder and host of the competition with riding, and the challenges that came with the two responsibilities.
“It’s not ideal. Because I, you know, for me, it’s like the event first, and then I’m grateful that I also get to ride these incredible venues that we work so hard to procure,” said Rice.
Rice said that getting into the flow state to ride comes naturally in the environment.
“You know, there’s a magical thing that happens when you insert a forest at high speed on skis or snowboard,” said Rice with a laugh. “You ride into a forest and you don’t have a plan on going right or left around a tree and follow your intuition.”
The flow state helped Rice get some incredible hits on his run, leaving just a point between his and Craven’s two runs.
Despite being a local, Craven didn’t feel like he had much a hometown advantage because he hadn’t seen the terrain either.
Ultimately, it was Rice’s runs that took the win over Craven. Rice will advance to the finals.
Update: 11:40 a.m.: Elena Hight and Kimmy Fasani went for their second runs on the course. In advance of the competition, Fasani spoke about her thoughts looking down on the course on their scouting day. A legend on her board, Fasani said the course is unlike any other competition.
“This type of face is not something that you typically would host a venue. Really aggressive and really substantial, but I think like all the right riders are here to make it an incredible event,” said Fasani.
To get adjusted to the local terrain, Elena Hight arrived in Revelstoke more than a week ago to start getting used to the snow. Riding with local, Dustin Craven, Hight had the chance to see what the local riding was like, but – like the rest of the riders – still hadn’t seen the location of the competition until Saturday.
With strong back-to-back runs, Hight took the win and will advance to the finals.
Update: 11:20 a.m.: Hailey Langland and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott dropped in for their second runs. Langland talked about the difference between landing on this course and slopestyle.
“They’re groomed from takeoff to landing. So you essentially are riding on something you know is going to work every single time and the difference between riding jumps there and then taking jumps into powder is the lips aren’t always going to be groomed,” said Langland.
The variance in jumps make the landings that much harder.
After a strong second run, Sadowski-Synnott took the win in the pairing and will advance to the next round.
Update: 11:10 a.m.: Canadian, Mikey Ciccarelli was up against American, Blake Paul. The Canadian improved on his first run bringing his slopestyle background to the terrain with a big backside 360°, but it ultimately wasn’t enough. Paul takes the win on the pairing and will advance to the next round.
Ciccarelli was paired against slopestyle king – and fellow Canadian – Mark McMorris to qualify for today’s event. McMorris took the win at the DUEL, but in a run after the competition, he broke his ankle. Ciccarelli spoke about his runs with McMorris.
“He’s an absolute legend of the sport and someone that I’ve looked up to a long time,” said Ciccarelli.
When he found out the his ankle was broken, McMorris passed his spot to Ciccarelli who made the most of the spot and put down a solid second run.
Update: 11:00 a.m.: Torstein Horgmo and Jared Elston took their second runs. Elston had the lead headed into the second run after a strong first. Backcountry legend, Horgmo, had a strong second run, but Elston takes the win and advances to the next round.
Horgmo commented on the terrain leading into the competition.
“Dropping into this thing is gonna get you instantly out of the comfort zone,” said Horgmo.
Horgmo’s specific goal of the day was to “be as present as possible,” which he said would allow him to enjoy it more.
Update: 10:50 a.m.: Dustin Craven and Mikkel Bang went for their second runs, with Craven coming out on top. Craven struggled in some sections, but his overall consistency gave him the advantage.
Heading into the event, Craven spoke about how he and the riders match their competitive instinct with the camaraderie.
“When you’re out there everyone is trying to work together to figure out what’s best for the collective group to have the best contest and put on the best show they possibly can,” said Craven.
Still the goal is to win. Craven said he felt any of the riders could take the win.
“Obviously at the end of the day, it’s anyone’s day,” he said.
So far, it’s been a good day for Craven who moves on to the next round.
Update 10:35 a.m.: Travis Rice went for his second run linking massive turns and big spins for a seamless run. Ben Ferguson of Bend, Oregon, dropped in after Rice. Last run, Ferguson cliffed out before bravely descending the narrow slab of snow along the cliff. Ferguson hit the same cliff section again but seemed to struggle a bit more to find his line before riding out of the main chute. A big 360 ° spin, and some clean rideouts gave Rice the advantage on the second run.
Update 10:30 a.m.: All the men have had one run on the course with local rider, Dustin Craven, having a standout run that included an enormous drop.
Zoi Sadowski-Synnott started off big for the women’s division, with Hailey Langland going second. Elena Hight and Kimmy Fasani went next.
Original: The Natural Selection tour riders are dropping in on the area they’re calling ‘Boulder Park’, 20 km outside of Revelstoke.
With the sun shining high in the sky, the riders couldn’t have hoped for a much better day for the competition. The wind is low but the ride is steep. Riders are still finishing their first runs of the day, getting acquainted with the terrain that they are only just riding for the first time.
Updates to come.