This story is part of a feature that first appeared in print in Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine’s March 2023 issue. Read the entire e-edition here:
The Natural Selection Tour is an international snowboarding competition that highlights the world’s best in the sport on some of the most challenging natural terrains. The competition is the brainchild of professional snowboarder Travis Rice. This year’s tour marks the third year that hand-selected snowboarders will get the chance to showcase their progression in dynamic venues.
The tour consists of three stages: DUELS, YETI Natural Selection at Revelstoke and Natural Selection at Valdez, Alaska. Natural Selection DUELS began dropping daily on February 19, featuring 24 of the world’s best riders going head-to-head in twelve one-day competitions. DUELS, designed to bring out riders’ full creativity, highlight new zones and snowboarding’s diverse styles, were filmed in January and February 2023 at a dozen different venues.
By March 3, twelve of the 24 riders have emerged on top of their DUEL events and continue onto Revelstoke and Alaska. Those riders are Kimmy Fasani, Elena Hight, Hailey Langland and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott for the women riders and Ben Ferguson, Mikkel Bang, Dustin Craven, Blake Paul, Jared Elston, Travis Rice and Torstein Horgmo in the men’s field.
Stage two of the competition brings the tour and world-class riders to Revelstoke from March 4–11. When Mother Nature picks a day in the weather window, the contest will stream live on NaturalSelectionTour.com from within the Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing tenure.
All 12 riders competing at the YETI Natural Selection Revelstoke will move on to Natural Selection Alaska in an all-new Natural Selection Tour super final venue outside of Valdez. During the window from March 25–April 1, riders will go head-to-head on the iconic steeps and spines of Alaska’s Chugach Mountain Range.
The tour works with industry partners, including YETI, title sponsor of the Revelstoke event and returning outerwear partner, Backcountry. Pacifico, TAE, Burton, Red Bull, Black Rhino, Sendy.io, Kodiak Cakes, Oakley, Wheel Pros, GoPro, Ski-Doo and Dakine will also be Tour partners this season.
Authentic mountain town community
The tour’s mission is to inspire people to forge a deeper relationship with Mother Nature. Revelstoke, known for its reliable snowfall and diverse, big-mountain terrain, was a natural fit for Natural Selection, says the tour’s media contact Lora Bodmer.
In addition to Revelstoke Mountain Resort being a welcoming destination with reliable snowfall, Bodmer says Revelstoke was an attractive destination for its mountain town community.
“The main thing that’s drawing us there is this event’s run on natural terrain with natural snow,” she says. “But also, during the week, to be able to be in a community where we can be around snowboarders and be in an authentic mountain community, support that place and be a part of it is really important. In choosing a new location in Canada, it was about where we can also really engage with the community, and we’re excited to do that in Revelstoke.”
The course will be staged in the backcountry in Selkirk Tangiers’ tenure. Travis Rice has visited a few locations in the area alongside the tour’s operations team and local experts, but Bodmer says they don’t intend to pick a specific spot until closer to the event’s weather window on March 4-11. “We’re going to pick the venue that Mother Nature’s given the best conditions and safety for the day.”
In contrast to previous venues on the Natural Selection Tour, the competition course in Revelstoke will be primarily natural terrain with very few built features.
“The course will be primarily natural terrain in the way that Alaska was in last year’s event,” says Bodmer. “The natural Selection course at Jackson was a two-year build. It was really extensive. [Revelstoke] will have builders and operations crew that will work to define jump takeoffs on different features, build in some other jumps and snow features, but it won’t be the full wooden build as we saw in Jackson.”
Bodmer says the NST team’s first priority is safety. “The primary goal is making sure that it’s safe for these riders to go as big as they want, ride the line they want and be in a safe position to do so.”
After the final DUELS competition airs on March 2, all 12 riders going on to stages two and three of the competition will travel to Revelstoke on March 3.
YETI Natural Selection Revelstoke will feature an action-packed event’s week right in our backyard with big names like Red Bull and Oakley putting on celebrations in honour of the competition.
On March 3, the NST opening ceremony takes place at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre from 7–8 p.m. The competitors and sponsors will kick off the week at this public event. Stay tuned for ticket and shuttle information.
Later on in the week, on March 8, YETI will host a film night at the Roxy Theatre from 6–8 p.m.
March 10 is the week’s closing ceremony at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre, with a Red Bull after-party taking place at Traverse featuring Skratch Bastid. March 11 is the last official day of the competition window. In true Natural Selection fashion, Mother Nature will decide which day throughout the week the competition will happen.
For more event information and updates as they become available, check out the Revelstoke Mountaineer events calendar or our social media @revelstoke_mountaineer. Natural Selection Tour information can be found at NaturalSelectionTour.com.
Updated events schedule
Friday, March 3: Opening Ceremony @Revelstoke Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m.-8 p.m. All Ages Tix: https://NSTRevy.eventbrite.com
Saturday, March 4- Friday, March 10: Apres DJ Sessions Presented by Red Bull @Rockford Patio, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Daily Check https://www.instagram.com/
Wednesday, March 8: YETI Film night @Roxy Theater 7 p.m.-9 p.m., All Ages, Tickets available at Roxy Theater or Skookum Ski shop.
Friday, March 10: Closing Ceremony @Roxy Theater, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m., All Ages. Tickets are available at Roxy Theater or Skookum Ski shop.
Friday, March 10: Red Bull After Party with Skratch Bastid, Wesside and Ray Ray @Traverse Nightclub, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., 21+. Tix: https://www.facebook.com/