After two long days of suspension due to crappy weather, the 3rd annual Northface Masters kicked off on a beautiful morning on Monday, January 25. If you’ve never heard of it, the North Face Masters is one of the first big-mountain snowboarding competition tours meant to help bring back what some riders feel is the root of snowboarding, riding deep pow and hucking yourself off cliffs. The Masters fills a huge competition gap in snowboarding, with less than a handful of other big-mountain competitions in the United States today.
This year’s event was located at Silver Fox, a treacherous run with a cliff/tree section at the beginning, a chute down the middle, a few cliffs to the right of the chute, and another section consisting of some big cliffs at the bottom before a final field of powder at the end. Each rider was only given one run to give it their all due to the fact that Mother Nature permitted us mere mortals only one day for the tour’s first stop. But after two days of riding nothing but Utah powder and almost seven feet of snow in the week leading up to event day, each competitor was ready and stoked to compete in this prestigious big-mountain event.
With the women dropping in first, the competition was officially underway. Local rider, Laura Dewey, and Mary Boddington (USA) both tied for fourth place with equally impressive runs, each earning a 77.5 from the judges’ stand. As for the podium, first, second and third place happened to be cleaned out by Utah locals. Third place belongs to loyal Brighton shredder and first-time Masters competitor, Cindi Roller. Kaitlin Elliot was chosen for second place after an outstanding performance and finally; Shannon Yates came home with the Katana Sword, the prize given to first place.
The men’s division brought riders to Utah from places as far out as Russia, France, Japan and New Zealand. Matt Carter (USA) won the hearts of the crowd with a super fluid run down the right cliff section and a daring 540 down the last cliff. Takeo Ichihara (JAP) had a promising run until the last cliff when he got turned around facing uphill and took a huge slam that could be felt from the press box at the bottom of the run. Backcountry guru and Jackson Hole local, Travis Rice, showed his expertise via a backside 180 off a cliff in the upper section and a crail towards the end to land himself in eleventh place for the first stop. Fellow Jackson Hole and heavy hitter, Rob Kingwell won himself the fourth place spot by keeping a good flow throughout his run and staying creative. Ralph Backstrom (USA) slashed himself into the third place spot on the podium and Ryland Bell (USA) impressed the judges enough to win second place. Finally, it was another Jackson Hole rider by the name of Mark Carter who had a run that the judges deemed honorable enough to earn first place and the Katana Sword.