It wasn't supposed to be like this. Or, at least, when they decided to block a week out for a "weather waiting period" for the Red Bull Supernatural, no one imagined that the variable they would have to plan for would be sun. It's never sunny for a week straight in February in Interior B.C. And yet, right now it's bluebird skies with no snow on the horizon for days.
You would think, with a seven days of cat time at a private backcountry lodge reserved that everyone here would want to just rip powder laps, get their legs on, and have the contest go down later in the week when they'd gotten their bearings. But there is a fear that warm temps and blazing sun will change the snowpack, and the course is perfect right now. And so the contest is on. Riders shuttle up to the top of the run at 7 a.m.
The Supernatural was two years in the making. It took months of intense planning and log work to build out the backcountry freeride run of Travis Rice's dreams. As I type these words there are guys out in the dark on snowmobiles hand shaping the lip of the mid-run super kicker so it will be perfect come go time. And there's not even enough time to build up the momentum of hype. It will all be over before you drink your second cup of Saturday morning coffee.
No one seems to care, though. Sure everyone's excited to ride the contest, but they're just as excited to get it over with and spend the rest of the week riding low-stress powder with each other. And that, perhaps, is one of the coolest things about this event. We are undoubtedly about to witness some of the most creative snowboarding ever done in a contest. And that's all that matters. In the end, "winner" is just another name for the guy who has to buy everyone drinks when it's all said and done. It's the experience getting through the course, and what comes after, that's the point.
That said, for those keeping track at home, the final 18-rider lineup for the event is as follows: David Carrier-Porcheron, Devun Walsh, Eero Niemela, Gigi Rüf, Jake Blauvelt, John Jackson, Kazu Kokubo, Lucas Debari, Mark Carter, Mark Landvik, Nicolas Müller, Eric Jackson, Scotty Lago, Terje Håkonsen, Travis Rice, Mark Sollors, and last-minute wild card young gun entries Mark McMorris and Sage Kotsenburg, who are coming in hot off of Winter X Games slopestyle wins.
The riding order was determined today based on the outcome of three pre-events: axe throwing, nail hammering, and buried transceiver finding. Scotty Lago, DCP, John Jackson and Lucas Debari will be dropping first. We'll be back with coverage of the event as soon as it's over.