We’re already in the TAE Natural Selection at Baldface contest window, which has been running from February 21-27, riders look like via the social feed that they are warming it up, enjoying the powder and getting ready to go head to head for stop number two of the tour.
It ain’t like Jackson, which kind of sucks. It runs “as live” on March 16 which we will be airing. So it seems like they will keep everything mostly under wraps till then, we will supply all the leaks we can here.
Who’s competing at Baldface this week? On the women’s side Hana Beaman (USA) Elena Hight (USA) Marion Haerty (FRA) and Robin Van Gyn (CAN) and for the men Jared Elston (USA), Dustin Craven (CAN), Torstein Horgmo (NOR), Sage Kotsenburg (USA), Ben Ferguson (USA), Mikkel Bang (NOR), Blake Paul (USA) and Travis Rice (USA).
At Baldface Lodge, the top half of finishers from Jackson will be joined by 2021 YETI Natural Selection at Jackson Hole winners Mark McMorris (CAN) and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (NZL), who have been invited to rejoin the tour following their Olympic bids. Go ZOI!
“After the battles we saw go down in Jackson, I’m really excited to see what the riders will be able to throw down on the steep powder-filled slopes here at Baldface,” said Liam Griffin, COO of Natural Selection Tour. “The venue here in BC is more technical and requires a different set of skills, which will test the riders’ abilities to adjust to more challenging terrain.”
The riders will be competing on Scary Cherry, which was home to the Red Bull Supernatural (2012) and Red Bull Ultra Natural (2013). It is a freerider’s dream with 80 massive natural and wooden drops, kickers and other features spread throughout the famously powder-coated, 40°-plus slope. Baldface Lodge, set in British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains outside of Nelson, is a snowboarding mecca with 500+ inches of annual snowfall laid across 32,000 acres of open bowls, peaks and perfectly spaced trees.
“More than ten years have passed since we originally designed this Scary Cherry venue at Baldface with a team of visionary snowboarders,” said Jeff Pensiero, co-owner of Baldface. “The sport has surely come a long way in the past decade and it’s going to be exciting to continue the evolution of this format and the sport. I can’t wait to see what goes down at Natural Selection next week.”
From Baldface, the top eight men and top four women will head north to Alaska for the Natural Selection in the Tordrillo Mountains, the Tour’s third and final stop, where the tour champions—the best all-mountain male and female freestyle riders on the planet—will ultimately be crowned. In the Tordrillos they face off on arguably one of the best venues on the planet for riders to push the boundaries of big mountain, freestyle riding.
New this year, the Natural Selection Tour will be using a Triple Crown-style format to determine the overall Tour Champion. In this format, each stop of the Tour will have equal weighting and a stand-alone winner. The points will be tallied by finish at each stop: first place = 1 point; second place = 2 points; third place = 3 points. The rider with the lowest score at the conclusion of the three stops will be the overall Natural Selection Tour Champion. So hypothetically, if a competitor places third in Jackson, first in BC, and fifth in AK that rider’s final combined score would be nine (3+1+5). If a tie happens, the Championship tie-breaker is based on which rider had the better finish in the final event in Alaska.
Stay tuned here, as we keep you updated on everything Natural Selection in Baldface this week.