Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine had the incredible privilege of being present at the Red Bull Supernatural snowboarding event this past Saturday, February 4th, 2012 at Baldface Lodge. From our perspective, and having followed the creation of this event since its inception nearly a year ago, all expectations were met. Red Bull Supernatural was one of the most jaw dropping snowboarding competitions in the history of, well, everything. Perhaps more importantly, in the context of the Kootenays, the event goes down as perhaps the most significant sporting event to ever take place in our corner of the world.
The impossibly ambitious dream child of pro snowboarder Travis Rice, and constructed by a burly Nelson, BC-based crew, the event all came together in incredible fashion: perfect snow, perfect weather and a world class field of some of the world’s best park and big mountain riders. With over 10,000 hours of summer labour constructing nearly 100 stunts on the 50-degree northeast face known as Scary Cherry, Rice and his international cohorts boosted their sport into a new horizon.
The coolest story, from our perspective, was the skill level that went into creating such a unique venue. Led by Baldface guide Lee Usher, a crew of mega gnarly dudes, along with the vision of Travis Rice and relentless work ethic of Baldface’s owner/operator Jeff Pensiero, the group braved a myriad of odds to create a mega booter fest for the ages. “It was definitely a dream seeing it all come together like this,” said Caleb Patterson, one of the course builders. “And this is just the beginning. We learned so much this first time, when we do it again, it will be next level.” For the Baldface team, who not only rallied to build the course and organize the production and safety of the event, along with building an entirely new wing of their subalpine lodge thanks to a collapsed roof from last year’s epic snow, pulling off the event to perfection was an epic achievement. “Twenty years ago I was switching out rental bindings in Tahoe,” explains Pensiero. “Amazing to think we just pulled off one of the most important competitions in the history of snowboarding.”
When the helicopter spindrift had finally settled, and Travis Rice claimed his locally crafted trophy outside Baldface Lodge, I managed to bump into one of the action sport’s world most recognizable icons and congratulate him. With a huge smile Rice gave me a big high five and said, “Now that’s some Kootenay Mountain Culture huh!” Travis, we couldn’t agree more. -Mitchell Scott