SNOWBIRD, UTAHâ€”February 11, 2008â€”The much-anticipated first stop on The North Face Masters big mountain snowboarding competition kicked off February 8, in Snowbird, Utah, to huge crowds and high energy.
After the event was postponed on Saturday due to weather, Sunday brought bluebird skies. Contenders took turns blazing unthinkable lines down an open canvas of cliff bands and variable wind-blown terrain on Snowbird's North Baldy slopes, making for a highly competitive event.
Susan Mol and Clif Dimon, both of Crested Butte, Colorado, managed to hold off the hungry pack of world-class riders through the semi-final and super-final rounds. They each rode away with a portion of the $45,000 prize purse and airfare, lodging, and entry to compete in The North Face Masters Finals, in Alyeska, Alaska, April 2-6, 2008.
Experience paid off for seasoned rider Clif Dimon in the men's field, as he gripped the lead against 22-year-old rookie Ryland Bell, of Tahoe City, California, who grabbed second place in his first-ever competition. Dimon pushed the boundaries in both runs against a formidably strong field of male riders, blowing judges and crowds away with a seemingly impossible series of massive double-hit cliff launches.
â€œToday was just a dream. It was so cool to finally see a big mountain comp exclusively for freeriders,â€ said Mol, women's champion of The North Face Masters. â€œIt was daunting to see the level of women in the running. I told myself to get out there and charge it, and it worked out better than I could have hoped for.â€
The North Face Young Gun Award, an honor given to an under-21-year-old competitor who displays talent and promise, was awarded to Jonathon Penfield of Snowbird, Utah.
The North Face Masters sold out days before the event, with a total of 67 men and 28 women competing. Highlights included 43-year-old Lori Carlson, snowboarding legend and local favorite, who came out of a long retirement to compete, and Canada's Martin Gallant, who sent everybody's heads spinning with a technical and committed line that included a jaw-dropping ride down a cliff face.
â€œWe couldn't have asked for a better day,â€ said Joe Flannery, VP of Marketing for the The North Face. â€œThe energy was so high across the eventâ€”from the athletes pushing each other to the limit, to the crowds cheering them onâ€¦this is exactly what we had envisioned when The North Face Masters concept first came to life.â€
Highlights of The North Face Masters and winning runs will be made available on February 13, 2008 at www.thenorthface.com/masters
For more information, and to see videos, athlete bios, and photos from the Snowbird event, please log on to www.thenorthface.com/masters
The North Face
The North Face