Natural Selection Day One Qualifiers Wrapped | So That’s What ‘Sporty’ Means?

A showdown, on one of the gnarliest courses, in some above gnarly conditions...

Natural Selection cementing itself today as the ‘Superbowl’ of snowboarding. Today marked the first day of the tour, and holy shit we’re excited for what’s to come over the next three months! Finals day is going to light up.

Today’s qualifiers, which you can watch again here, featured 24 riders competing in a two-run, head-to-head format with a third tie-breaker option—a feature that came into play to make for two of the day’s biggest highlights. Below was the final heat of the day, qualifier pressure next level.

The riders were unleashed inbounds at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in the dedicated zone. Unlike the bottomless pow and free refills of the last years event, this year’s conditions asked a bit more of the riders, like a lot more…the thing was chopped up! Sporty, spicey and sketchy all in one but that didn’t hold any of the back. Let’s just say, we would’ve cut off to the side of the course and headed straight to the bar.

“Today was a sporty day of competition,” shared Rice. “I kind of had an improvement through each run, it could have gone either way getting the tiebreak against Kevin Backstrom. I mean his run that I barely beat him on was pretty phenomenal—taking the right Lando’s hip as deep as possible and the front seven tail on the Great Wall, that would have been the ender of a video part. I managed to put down a pretty complicated run and landed everything and I’m thrilled to get to finals day.”

“It was intense out there today—definitely a little rowdy,” said Kotsenburg. “For me, today was just about moving on to the next round. And from here on out, I just want to keep trying to make it through the rounds. I’m up against Ben [Ferguson] next and we matched up last time. so it’ll be a brawl again, and it should be really, really sick.”

Looking ahead to quarterfinals  it’s four women—Hana Beaman, Elena Hight, Marion Haerty, and Robyn Van Gyn—and eight men— Mikkel Bang, Blake Paul, Ben Ferguson, Sage Kotsenburg, Dustin Craven, Jared Elston, Torstein Horgmo and Travis Rice advancing into quarterfinals. HEAVY LINEUP!!!

“What you saw today is just scratching the surface of what you’re going to see on finals day,” promises Rice. “The snow conditions are going to be a lot better and, with the nature of the way the north venue rides, there’s a lot more opportunity for big tricks. Everyone knows that they have to step up their approach to how they’re picking their lines and the tricks they’re picking. The finals venue is quite a bit more dynamic.”

The seven-day contest window will run through Monday, January 31 with a second day of quarter, semi and finals competition to be announced. Click here to stay tuned for all the Natural Selection action and announcements.


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