2011 TNF Masters at Snowbird Finals

Comments by Mike Hardaker/

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Robert Hurley: Photo Hardaker

Snowbird, UT – The 2011 North Face Masters at Snowbird Finals has come to a close with last years tour champion Aaron Robinson once again taking home the sword with a very strong score of 94.33 on his first run through the North Baldy venue. By the time Aaron was ready for his second run of the super finals he had already clinched first place and was able to take a victory lap. On the ladies side of things Maria Debari made impressive powder turns and showed her skills while taking two solid runs through North Baldy.

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Along with Robinson the rest of the usual North Face Masters crew placed well with Ralph Backstrom taking second place, followed by Ryland Bell in third. Ross Baker in the fourth spot and Adam DeVargas rounded out the podium for the men in fifth place. The top 5 male and female riders took home a good chunk of cash during the first stop of the 2011 North Face Masters tour.

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The women were riding incredabley strong this year including new TNF Masters competitor Lara Hadar, former tour champion Shannan Yates, Snowbird local Kaetlin Elliott, and Mary Boddington from Crested Butte. Taking home the top spot was Maria DeBari who's brother Lucas competed with us last year on the tour but looks to be filming full time with The North Face and his other sponsors. Hopefully Maria can stick around for a while as her runs were smooth and fun to watch. I want to give a big shout out Iris Lazzareschi for sending a huge cliff at the bottom of the venue to kickoff the Women's finals. Easily 20 feet or more, unfortunately Iris wasn't able to stick her landing this time. Same went for Marry Boddington who rolled up to a massive cliff and hucked her meat during the first run of the finals.

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Only one way down..Photo Hardaker

A new award has been created at the TNF Masters called the "Sick Board" named after the "Sick Bird" extreme skiing person who does the best or biggest trick of the contest. Snowbird local Robert Hurley, relatively unknown to the snowboard community made a name for himself by sending a huge air easily 50+ feet in his first run followed by an even bigger back flip in the super finals, to which he landed without any hesitation. When Robert made his way to the finish the crowd was going nuts and you could tell Robert was pumped up, almost screaming to the fans! Jimmy Hopper from the North Face went as far as to give Robert the jacket off his back during the award ceremonies. It looks like Robert may be getting hooked up with the North Face team, not to shabby.

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Josh Warnick came out blasting huge airs once again and looks to be a threat on the tour. He didn't make the super finals, but everyone is hoping to see him compete again at Crystal Mountain and Kirkwood in the coming months. Other young up and coming riders such as Alex Yoder and John Rodosky did well and they look to be the future of our sport.

The annual TNF after party was held at the Forklift club located steps from the Tram Plaza. Complete with a DJ, pizza and tons of free Sierra Nevada beer. Once the beer ran out the winners used the 10% rule and purchased drinks for everyone with their prize money. In a random turn of events the ladies all started wrestling with one another outside of the club. I'm sure some girls are waking up with bruises today, video to follow. Half the crew decided to high tail it Jackson Hole as word on the street was "it's going off up there."

I had asked Ralph Backstrom what he does to get a clear head before his contest run, Ralph smiled and answered "I crank my music and zone out so I don't here anyone, for my contest run I was listening to Metallica." Looks like I will start to ride with some tunes again and see how it works.

Big thanks goes out to MSI, The North Face, Primaloft, Sierra Nevada, Siege Audio, Subaru, The resorts for hosting us and especially Snowboard Magazine. Look for our coverage from stop #2 at Crystal Mountain in 2 weeks and closing out the tour at Kirkwood in March.

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Scott Sheer: Photo Hardaker