Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s Greeley Bowl was transformed into the world’s biggest stadium Saturday as snowboard enthusiasts made the trek to the resort’s back bowl to take in the one day freeriding competition. The event combined riders from the Swatch Freeride World Tour and the North Face Masters of Snowboarding.
A big sound system emanating from the judging area wasn’t powerful enough to travel to all the spectators who took up strategic viewing spots on clifftops around the bowl.
A Selkirk Tangiers helicopter thundered around the bowl, filming and ferrying the competitors to the top.
The venue was the imposing Mackenzie Face (Mac Face), a steep ridge that looms over Greeley Bowl. Chutes open into a variety of cliffs, ideal for a big mountain competition.
In the end, Squaw Valley rider Ralph Backstrom had the best line down Mac Face for the men. He earned 92.67 out of 100 possible points. Ralph followed in his late brother Arne Backstrom’s footsteps for the win. Arne won the inaugural Canadian Freeskiing Championships competition at RMR in January of 2010. Arne died in June on 2010 while filming for a ski video in Peru.
Announcer Frankie Alusuag said Ralph won with his “hard charging style.
“Ralph had a really technical entrance and finished his run with a solid double cliff drop,” he said.
French rider Johnathan Charlet of Chamonix finished second with a score of 91.67, followed by Crystal Mountain rider Blair Habenicht with a score of 90.0.
Six women competed. Maria DeBari of Mt. Baker came first with a score of 80.67, eclipsing the second place finisher by over 25 points. Margo Rozies of France came in second with a score of 55.0, while 2011 North Face Masters Tour champ Shannan Yates of Snowbird rounded the podium with a score of 43.33.
“Big mountain snowboarding has seen huge growth in popularity the past few years, with the level of riding improving tremendously,” says Alisuag.