The Red Bull Ultra Natural competitors took to the course ahead of a forecasted storm today, with each of the 16 invitees putting their own creative touch on both the natural and man-made features of the mile-long course. In the end, it was Austria’s Gigi Rüf -- who finished in second place at the 2012 event -- who took the top spot on the podium.
“I don’t know, I definitely got lucky,” said Rüf about his performance. “I don’t really consider myself a ‘winner,’ I believe in luck and coincidence. My friend told me about a great quote that says a winner doesn’t need luck, but I believe there was a little bit of luck involved today just because of how Mother Nature played out and how she played into my vision.”
Switzerland’s Nicolas Müller not only took second place but was also presented the Best Trick Award with a gigantic mute air over a tree, sending himself nearly 100 feet down the 45-plus-degree slope, nicknamed “Scary Cherry.” Rounding out the podium was Southern California’s Bryan Fox, a first-timer at Red Bull Ultra Natural and a late addition to the event as a wildcard entry.
“‘Scary Cherry’ itself is a really difficult run in the best of conditions without a single feature on it,” says Baldface Lodge owner Jeff Pensiero. “For a regular guy like me, to ride 2,400-2,600 vertical feet in one continuous run is a lot -- your legs are burning at the bottom.
“To think that guys are linking five or six features, then continuing down and doing something off the big jump, then doing tricks in the lower section of the course, to me that is absolutely super-human. To be able to witness that in my backyard on a slope that I’ve ridden for all these years, it’s just hard to say anything other than that I’m kind of speechless watching it.”
1. Gigi Rüf
2. Nicolas Müller
3. Bryan Fox
4. Terje Håkonsen
5. David Carrier-Porcheron
6. Mark McMorris
7. Eero Niemela
8. Pat Moore
9. Lucas Debari
10. Travis Rice
11. Jussi Oksanen
12. Bode Merrill
13. Jake Blauvelt
14. Wolfgang Nyvelt
15. Torstein Horgmo
16. Mikey Rencz
Red Bull Ultra Natural presented by Nike Snowboarding will air on NBC as part of the Red Bull Signature Series on March 30 at 1:30 p.m. ET / 10:30 a.m. PT.
- Check out photos from the Red Bull Ultra Natural contest day
- Upgrading the 2012 course for Red Bull Ultra Natural
- Watch Travis Rice's winning run from the 2012 event