Thursday, February 22, 2024

Natural Selection, eh: Travis Rice’s comp goes to Canada 

Congratulations Bronco Natural Selection champs Robin Van Gyn and Chris Rasman! Enjoy your all expenses paid trip to Alaska.

Bronco Natural Selection at Baldface Valhalla premieres on Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 4 pm. Eastern. You can watch it globally and for free on Redbull TV, and it’s going to be incredible.

“It was like navigating through the Canadian wilderness, eh!” Leanne Pelosi joked. “Lots of trees and nothing was groomed, it was like just giver, eh!”

It’s a funny joke because the event, held at Baldface Lodge’s new Valhalla freeride zone in interior British Columbia, will feature the sickest backcountry riding at a contest, maybe ever, with an additional unique angle— a 100% Canadian field. On the roster are: new Ride pro Beau Bishop, Manboy Chris Rasman, superstar host Craig McMorris, general badass Dustin Craven, multi-talented Leanne Pelosi, climate-activist Marie-France Roy, powderhound Mark Sollors, child prodigy Mikey Rencz, snow scientist and filmmaker Robin Van Gyn, and X Games gold medalist and Olympian Spencer O’Brien.

According to the official website: “Ten British Columbia-based riders will be pairing up with regionally-based filmers in a new, progressive format that will allow for maximum expression and style. They will be riding some of North America’s most inspiring, untapped terrain at Baldface’s new tenure in the Valhalla Ranges.”

As you may have surmised, not only are the writers of trying to sound smart, this localized field is not that way only because Canadians are the best at snowboarding. It is due to COVID-19. During the event’s March 1 to 7, 2021 window, travel restrictions made it such that only Canadians could participate.

“No international riders can get into Canada,” organizer Liam Griffin told me.
I was confused though- where did that leave Mark McMorris who was in Aspen for the X Games? Was he stuck in America?

“Canadians can still cross the border,” Liam explained.

Even without the younger McMorris, the field promises to be one of the more unique and exciting ever seen, and that’s before we even get into the terrain they were given to play on at Valhalla.

“It was amazing to see a crew of Canadians representing on the Natural Selection Tour at Valhalla,” Leanne said. “I loved this venue so much because it wasn’t so straight forward — there were a lot of trees to navigate to features tucked away. And nothing was built as compared to Jackson Hole, so it made the freestyle portion more challenging.

“I like that every stop evolves into a higher caliber of difficulty. So excited to see what everyone puts together! We couldn’t see what was happening, so we’re also going to be watching Red Bull TV on the 21st to see the recap! I’m honoured to be a part of this inaugural event and excited to see how snowboarding embraces these events in the future.”

So tune in to Redbull TV on Sunday at 4E/1P and be sure to follow us on Twitter for potentially witty commentary.