After a hugely successful first tour stop for Natural Selection at Jackson Hole, the snowboarding world waited anxiously for the tour to travel to the legendary Baldface Valhalla, hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately, as we have become used to in the past season, Covid-19 played havoc to the original plans of Natural Selection and the event was forced to adjust the format to allow it to pass the strict rules that are currently in place.
Instead of the original invited riders and wildcard entries we saw compete in Jackson Hole, Natural Selection Baldface, consisted of an all Canadian cast and crew that joined forces with locally based filmers to create a judged video run. Beau Bishop, Dustin Craven, Craig McMorris, Spencer O’Brien, Leanne Pelosi, Chris Rasman, Mikey Rencz, Marie-France Roy, Mark Sollors and Robin Van Gyn were the riders given the task to discover new terrain and deliver a run that they hoped would give them enough to win a spot to Natural Selection in AK.
The forced change in format resulted in more of a documentary style edit showing much of the history and the landscape of Baldface Valhalla and the process the riders had to go through before they started sussing out their lines for the contest. The documentary was interesting and the format really summed up how hard it is to produce a solid backcountry part.
The riders each got two days, working in small teams to film their video parts with two components, the line and video part, were considered with 70/30 weight by the Natural Selection judges. The judges gave a score with overall impression focused on the rider’s chosen line and risk, flow and amplitude, creativity and tricks, and finally, control.
Men: Chris Rasman
Chris Rasman stomped his first run; starting with a cab 5 step-down into a chute, followed by a Miller flip and back-to-back backside and frontside 360s, finishing off with a laid-out backflip at the bottom. Paired with his video part, this standout line locked in his win.
An elated Rasman had this to say after being crowned winner of the second stop of The Bronco Natural Selection Baldface “Winning any of the Natural Selection stops would be an insane feeling, especially for someone like myself who has no history or experience with contests or podiums. All of the snowboarding I do is in the privacy of the backcountry, with the small crew that I’m documenting it with,” said men’s winner Chris Rasman. “When you dedicate your entire life to something, it’s hard to properly articulate the feelings you get when things work out for you.”
Women: Robyn Van Gyn
Robyn Van Gyn charged through a pillow line at the top, threw in a handful of straight airs off cliffs and stuck a frontside 3 in her second run to secure enough of a lead to take the women’s side of the contest. “It feels awesome to sneak away with a win on my home turf surrounded by close friends. This experience was totally different from Jackson. Here we had to do more than just snowboard, we also had to think about filming and navigating the fully natural, varied terrain. There were so many things at play, you really had to be on it,” said Van Gyn, who also works as a backcountry guide at Baldface Lodge’s original tenure outside of Nelson.
If you want to see highlights from British Columbia again, head over to Red Bull TV, to see more action, some of which was captured on the same custom-built racing drones first used at the opening Natural Selection event in Jackson Hole, high-definition camera systems and GoPro point of view angles.
The Tour will culminate at the Natural Selection finals at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in Alaska, hosted by Red Bull TV in mid-April. There the best snowboarders in the world will be crowned and the winners, who will be announced in the highlight show premiere, will each receive an all-new, adventure-ready, 2021 Bronco Sport.
Stay tuned to@NaturalSelection and@RedBullSnow on social media starting March 28 for glimpses of the action going down in Alaska. And premiering mid-April, don’t miss the top action and announcement of the champions from the Natural Selection finals in Alaska as it debuts. An air date will be announced in the coming weeks.