"Quiksilver Natural Selection: All-Mountain Freestyle Invitational" Gets Deep, Really Deep at Jackson Hole's Dick's Ditch

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17 of World's Best Snowboarders Competed Saturday (2/2) on Natural Terrain With More Than Five and Half Feet of Fresh Powder.

Seventeen of the world's best snowboarders rode hard during the first round of the "Quiksilver Natural Selection" in the second most epic powder conditions January has seen in 40 years at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. All competitors pulled off some amazing riding but only one prevailed in the lead: Quiksilver's very own Travis Rice. Rice shred is way to first place by pulling out a variation of tricks including 360s, 540s and 720s all in whiteout, knee-deep powder conditions. The Dick's Ditch contest is one of two runs in "The Quiksilver Natural Selection: All-Mountain Freestyle Invitational at Jackson Hole" held from January 30 to February 5, 2008. The overall winner will be determined by the best combined score from the two competition days.

Because of the difficult terrain and visibility, the event's judges were forced to rely on a combination of first-hand viewing and footage from the more than 20 cameras perched along the Ditch as well as a 2,000-foot cable camera. After scrutinizing the footage and deliberating for more than a day, the judges announced the results last night.

This innovative event is the brainchild of Rice, one of the world's most versatile and accomplished snowboarders, who envisioned a competition that removes the constructs of snow parks and half-pipes, and instead uses a natural-terrain course to bring out the best in riders' style and technique.

Mother Nature Is a Real Ditch
Saturday's competition was held in the 2,000-foot-plus long natural gorge known as Dick's Ditch. The run had been closed for more than a week amassing 58" of fresh powder on its hips, boulders and trees, creating an awe-inspiring natural half pipe for riders to attack.

Rice's best run scored a 431 out of 500 points. Travis kept it together in the deep powder landings stomping a huge frontside-360 with a tree tap, then a large backside-720 and a mute-air over the cat-track hit. He then hit a frontside-mute on his fourth trick and finished things off with a clean frontside-540 and a stylish frontside-180.

"It was comedy, watching the snowboarders I most look up to riding nipple-deep kicker lines, just trying to hold a run together," said Rice. "It was super fun."


Runner up Mark Landvik threw down a smooth run to take second place. He started things off with a frontside-720 on the Terje hit, threw a straight-air into the mix, then a frontside-180 into a switch backside-360 and ended his run with a switch backside-180 and a frontside-360.

And in third place was local Jackson Hole rancher-turned-rider Mark Carter with a best run of 385 points. He had a fluid run through the ditch throwing a super stylish frontside-720 tail on the first hit in between a couple of trees, into a nice backside-360, a sick method over the cat-track hit, and cranked a nice pow slash finishing off with a switch backside-180.

Check out full results at http://www.quiksilver.com/frames/naturalselection08.aspx

Strap on Your Avalanche Beacon: Snowiest January on Record Sets Epic Second Stage
The Quiksilver Natural Selection now focuses its attention on the next competition venue, The Casper Bowl. In the second snowiest January in Jackson on record, snowfall has relentlessly pounded the Bowl's menacing face of jagged rocks and scowling cliffs with more than five-and-a-half feet of fresh powder over the past five days.

"The Casper Bowl has been hording powder for more than a week, creating a backcountry style run that will test us all," said Rice. "But this isn't about extreme riding, it's about interpreting the mountain on its own terms, adding to it each rider's personal expression and talent. This will be an event like no other."

With the combination of steepness, snow depth and wind, avalanche danger is at an all-time high.

"We'll throw ourselves at this stage of the competition all out, but with a healthy respect for the power of the mountain. All of the riders are experienced in backcountry safety, and with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, we have the world's best ski patrol and safety crews," said Rice.

Though this event will be held within resort boundaries and is at no risk of avalanche, Rice speaks from personal backcountry experience around the world. Like many of the competitors in this event, Rice has had his share of avalanche scares. He was nearly swept away in a savage avalanche several years ago while filming in the backcountry. And as a native of Jackson and the son of a long-time and respected member of the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol, he knows what can happen if the riders don't take the necessary precautions. For a first hand look at the Bowl, check out the Casper Bowl inspection. http://www.quiksilver.com/frames/naturalselection08.aspx

Webcasts, Behind the Scenes Videos and Up-to-the-Minute Action Online
Although the two days of competition are at the center of this unique new event, The Quiksilver Natural Selection has proven to be a great opportunity for the invitees and other industry VIPS to free-ride epic amounts of powder, hang out and swap stories and collaborate on some innovative projects.

Quiksilver has documented the on-mountain exploits and après-shred shenanigans and has posted updates, videos and images on http://www.quiksilver.com/naturalselection

Go to the website to see Toyota HEYA's "You Shot This!", an eight minute video which cuts together more than four hours of handheld video camera footage shot by 20 of Jackson Hole's best riders over the last few days.

And check out the videos section to see the snowboarders riding a mechanical bull at a bar in Jackson to determine the contest running order. Mark Carter, a real rancher, not surprisingly took 1st place with a pair of amazing rides as the pumped crowd cheered him on. Rice, another local, took 2nd.

You'll also find a sneak peak of Travis Rice's stunning new film, "That's It That's All."

The Quiksilver Natural Selection is a Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour FOUR(4)STAR Event and is made possible by a network of partners: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, SoBe, Hotel Terra and HEYA from Toyota.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: Uniquely untamed and renowned as one of the most challenging mountains in North America, Jackson Hole is a year round adventure outpost, with incredible skiing and snowboarding in the winter and amazing National Park access in the summer. "The Big One" combines incredible terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, amazing on-mountain fine dining including the new Bridger Restaurant complex at the Gondola Summit and a full service resort at the base. Coming in December 2008 will be a new 100 passenger Aerial Tram that will operate from the base to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain, an amazing continuous 4,139 vertical feet, which will cement this destination resort as the top ski mountain in the US. JHMR offsets 100% of our energy with renewable energy and is third party ISO certified as a "green" company, the second of only two ski resorts, and one of the smaller companies in the US, to achieve this recognition. http://www.jacksonhole.com

SoBe: South Beach Beverage Company makes refreshing beveragesmarketed under the SoBe brand name. SoBe is a separate operating unit of Pepsi-Cola North America. For more information, visit the SoBe web site at http://www.sobebev.com or call the Lizard Line at 1-800-588-0548.

Hotel Terra Jackson Hole: The first in a worldwide collection of green hotels, Hotel Terra Jackson Hole adopts an evolutionary approach to hospitality, where luxury and environmental responsibility come together to create an exceptional guest experience. Located slopeside to the
legendary Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and at the gateway to Grand Tetons National Park, Hotel Terra incorporates modern design with a western sensibility. For more information please visit http://www.hotelterrajacksonhole.com or call 800-801-6615.

HEYA: The Japanese word for "room," is an innovative online platform created by Toyota that allows young adults to share ideas and collaborate with one another on a wide variety of creative ideas and projects. Visit heya.toyota.com for more information and to find out "what we can do together."

About Quiksilver
Quiksilver, trailblazing guide to boardriding* culture, is committed to providing tools for uncovering, expressing and expanding your personal style. Our mission is to foster the sense of individual expression and excitement - the stoke that is the essence of boardriding. We're also here to spread the word because the only thing better than finding stoke is sharing it.

*Boardriding is about timing and style. It's youthful, active, casual, and free flowing. There is no wrong way to ride a board. The goal is simply to learn, progress, improve, and give it your own interpretation.

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Robin Whalen
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