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Ready, set, ride: Natural Selection Tour hits Revelstoke

After the weather window opened on Sunday, the competition is set for Wednesday, March 13

In less than 24 hours, the Natural Selection Tour Revelstoke (NST) will commence with the first day of riding in the Montana Bowl off of Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR).

The best snowboarders from around the world descended on Revelstoke over the past weekend in preparation for the NST competition. On Wednesday, March 13, 24 riders will take on the first of two Revelstoke venues for the NST finals. Having had the chance to scope out the first location on Sunday, March 10, riders spoke on Monday about what they saw on the course and the competition ahead of them.

“I’m super excited about the course,” said Zoi Sadowski-Synnott.

This year’s first venue in Revelstoke differs from others because it has been naturally augmented from work conducted during the summer. With some hand-built features, the course blends natural terrain elements with man-made features to offer a good variety for riders.

Sadowski-Synnott comes to the NST from a slopestyle and big air background, where she’s earned gold at the Olympics, X-Games and other international events. Like Sadowski-Synnott, Mark McMorris also comes from a different style of competition with an impressive resume.

McMorris earned himself a reputation as a dominant rider in competition, resulting in a record-setting 23 X-Games medals in 13 years.

The Canadian had punched his ticket to Revelstoke in last year’s DUELS, but in a freak accident after the DUEL competition, he broke his leg which took him out of the running to ride in Revelstoke.

“To have that happen was obviously a little bit of a dagger to the heart,” said McMorris, before smiling and adding that “everything happens for a reason.”

McMorris is set to drop in tomorrow second against Torstein Horgmo.

The slopestyle and big air competition riding that Sadowski-Synnott and McMorris compete in regularly offers competitors carefully managed, consistent, conditions. Riders push their limits by progressively building up the difficulty of their runs, knowing that the course stays the same and the conditions are reliable. McMorris explained how the RMR venue differs.

“It is a little bit foreign to me versus just practicing the tricks and getting so used to the whole setup,” he said.

For other riders who spend more of the season in the backcountry, the RMR course offers some of the most consistent terrain that they will ride.

“I’m more excited about natural terrain that hasn’t been altered, but I think that for this event, it really provides a lot of usability on a face that maybe wasn’t as usable,” said Elena Hight.

Hight is a two-time Olympian with more than a handful of X-Games medals throughout a highly successful career in snowboarding. An NST veteran, Hight was in Revelstoke for last year’s event and has seen her share of other venues through the years.

With a significant variance in background, age, and style, the NST rider list gives people who might not ordinarily cross paths the opportunity to do so for the competition, which Hight said has helped the snowboarding community.

“This is such a special event because it brings together people who are off doing so many different things and focusing on so many different things for the season and –especially this year– we’re coming together for one week. And it’s such a rad community-building event as well as a competition,” she said.

The winners of the head-to-head during Wednesday’s competition will be decided by judges, so riders won’t know how they did until the end of their run. Winners of their respective pairings advance to the second competition day in Revelstoke, which will be in Selkirk-Tangiers Heli-Ski’s tenure.

The competition starts Wednesday at noon and can be watched on Red Bull TV.

READ MORE: Natural Selection Tour Revelstoke starts competition with opening ceremony