Back in 2008, which may as well have been over a hundred years ago in internet time, Quiksilver partnered with Travis Rice to create a novel contest concept. Riding on the success of That’s It, That’s All and countless other video parts, Rice was determined to package the excitement of backcountry freeriding into a live format at his home mountain – Jackson Hole Resort in Wyoming.
The event was called The Quiksilver Natural Selection because it featured natural terrain augmented with manmade hits and other features in the same spirit as a typical freeride film project. Rice later carried the concept over to a similar event called the Red Bull Supernatural and later UltraNatural contest, but each iteration of the idea has been a one-off format. Even though athletes have often said they prefer the format over the typical halfpipe or slopestyle formats that dominate the pro snowboarding circuit.
On Wednesday, though, Rice unveiled plans for a groundbreaking three-stop Natural Selection Tour to debut in January 2021 which will feature top male and female snowboarders competing at premiere locations across North America.
“The Natural Selection Tour is the culmination of over 20 years of experience, riding at the world’s top destinations, experimenting with several individual freeride competitions, and listening to the wishes of professional snowboarders, industry leaders, and fans,” said Rice in a press release.
As with the first iteration of Natural Selection, the first stop on the 2021 tour will be Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
“Jackson Hole and I have worked closely for years,” said Rice, “It is such a fun mountain to ride and I am really proud that after we pulled off such unique event over a decade ago, we now stand together, ready to bring such a paradigm shifting event to life here that emulates the uniqueness of the local community that has had my back through it all.”
Other stops include Baldface Lodge in Nelson, British Columbia and Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in Alaska.
“At such amazing and diverse destinations, the Natural Selection Tour will highlight Mother Nature as the main character,” said Rice, “and promises to impact people beyond snowboarding.”
The Natural Selection Tour will livestream events for fans across an array of platforms. A full roster of participating athletes will be released this fall.