© Mark Clavin / Natural Selection Tour / Red Bull Content Pool
Natural Selection Heads to Alaska
Get the inside scoop on the final leg of NST below.
With Jackson Hole and Baldface Valhalla in the books, the 2021 Natural Selection Tour is finally wrapped at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, Alaska. While the Yeti Natural Selection was inbounds at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, NST elevated the arena to the backcountry at the Bronco Natural Selection at Baldface Valhalla, and now, in AK, the Tour is way off the beaten path, in the Tordrillo Mountain range. Playing host to some of the most breathtaking terrain on planet earth, the Tordrillos are straight off the page of a science fiction novel. Alaska truly is the Last Frontier, and the riders have to find their own lines and navigate their way down massive Alaskan faces in prime conditions in a best of three-run semifinal and a head-to-head final.
Here’s everything you need to know about how the event is going down:
Four Men, Three Women
Seven of the world’s best big mountain freestylers earned their way to AK to battle it out for the top spot and the grand prize of a new Bronco Sport. They are:
—Robin Van Gyn
How They Got Here
The criteria was to take the top three men and the top two women from Jackson and the top male and female from Baldface Valhalla. Due to new travel restrictions, second place finisher Marion Haerty couldn’t make it over to the States from France, thus, third place finisher Hana Beaman got the call to go to AK. Mark McMorris, Ben Ferguson and Mikkel Bang took the 1-2-3 spots in Jackson while Zoi Sadowski-Synnott took first and Hana took third. The winners from Baldface Valhalla were Chris Rasman and Robin Van Gyn, thus, punching their ticket to Alaska.
How It’s Judged
Head Judge from Jackson Hole, Sandy Macdonald scored every run live and on-site up in the Tordrillos on a scale from 0-100 that focused on overall impression and “run appraisal,” meaning how the run looked from top to bottom as well as difficulty, amplitude, variety of tricks and execution.
Welcome to Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
Tordrillo Mountain Lodge (TML) is located 60 miles northwest of Anchorage, nestled into the little hamlet of Judd Lake. The Natural Selection Tour flew in bush planes out to the lake and then accessed all of the terrain that the event was held on from there. While there, they enjoyed all of the five-start amenities that TML has to offer, as it is truly a world-class facility. The weather window will dictate the contest days, as Alaska sees a myriad of different weather patterns and they will need clear skies to hold the event.
The terrain itself is like nothing on earth. An endless expanse of glaciers abut massive peaks, formed by millions of years of tectonic uplift and volcanic activity and carved by wind and water. From immaculate spines to pillows, cliff drops and over 600 inches of annual snowfall, it is sure to be one of the most impressive venues in the history of snowboard competition.
The man whose vision inspired this revolution of competitive snowboarding and one of the most influential snowboarders who has ever lived, Travis Rice, says, “This is it. Alaska provides the most optionality and room for creative expression for big mountain freestyle riding. The scale up there is just on another level. It’s been a dream to bring an event like this to AK. The support for this from the amazing local winter sports community in Anchorage, Girdwood and beyond has been crucial in making this possible.”
Natural Selection Tour COO and Co-Founder Liam Griffin, who has watched the Tour progress all winter in its inaugural season, says, “This whole season has been a logical progression of backcountry freestyle terrain. Starting in Jackson with a super dialed course with a ton of custom-built features, moving to BC where riders had two days to scope and build, then ultimately stepping up to AK where everything is on-sight and 100% natural.”
Natural Selection CEO Carter Westfall chimed in about how far the Tour has come and those who helped it get there. “The Natural Selection Tour has been an incredible journey this inaugural year across three stops, all culminating in Alaska. Without a doubt, none of this could have happened without the support of our partners headlined by YETI, Bronco Sport, HempFusion and Backcountry and broadcast to the world by Red Bull. In addition, our Industry Alliance comprising of over 15 endemic brands such as Union Binding Co, Oakley, Lib Tech and Burton have not only provided financial support but the marketing resources critical to build the stoke for the Tour. We appreciate the support of all of our partners as this Tour doesn’t happen without them.”
How To Watch
To catch all the action of Natural Selection in Alaska, tune in on April 16 at 12:00 pm (PST) exclusively on Red Bull TV!