Gigi Rüf wins Red Bull Ultra Natural
Nelson, B.C. (February 17, 2013) – Sixteen of the world’s best snowboarders converged on the run known as “Scary Cherry” at Baldface Lodge, fighting deteriorating weather as the day went along, but only one rider could take home the top honor at Red Bull Ultra Natural. In the end, Austria’s Gigi Rüf stood on top of the podium after putting together a creative run showcasing his unique style, utilizing a variety of both the natural and man-made features on the mile long course.
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+ degree course. 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.
“I don’t know, I definitely got lucky,” said Rüf about his performance today. “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.”
Nicolas Müller did the most tricks of anyone else on the hill today but fell on a backside 540, virtually ending his chances for the top spot. However, his huge mute air ollie over a treetop pillow left the judges in awe after going bigger and farther than almost anyone else on course today.
Bryan Fox may have been a newcomer to Red Bull Ultra Natural, but it sure didn’t show in his riding. Fox was the only rider to stand-up top to bottom his entire run, landing such difficult tricks as back-to-back-to-back 360’s, a frontside inverted 720 and a 50-50 off a log feature. In the end, the cleanliness of his run didn’t outweigh the creativity of Rüf’s or Müller’s.
“’Scary Cherry’ itself is a really difficult run in the best of conditions without a single feature on it. For a regular guy like me, to ride 2400-2600 vertical feet in one continuous run is a lot. Your legs are burning at the bottom,” says Baldface Lodge Owner Jeff Pensiero. “To think that guys are linking 5 or 6 features, then continuing down and doing a backflip or something off the big jump, then doing tricks in the lower section of the course, to me that is absolutely super human. And all of them, from the guy that got last place to Gigi, were able to exercise something I’ll never have. So to be able to witness that in my backyard on a slope that I’ve ridden for all these years is just hard to say anything other than I’m kind of speechless watching it.”
“The top 3 riders are the top 3 for a good reason,” says Competitor and Event Creator Travis Rice. “They rode the best on today’s course. Our podium finishers rode the course like it was meant to be ridden. They found their own lines, everyone had their own creative expression on the course, and that’s what Red Bull Ultra Natural is all about.”
Fans in the U.S. can tune-in to NBC on March 30th at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT to catch Red Bull Ultra Natural presented by Nike Snowboarding. The show airs as part of the Red Bull Signature Series, an action sports property featuring some of Red Bull’s top events including Dreamline, Wake Open and Rampage. The Red Bull Signature Series is the most progressive and innovative action sports property in the world, featuring surfing, snowboarding, mountain biking, skiing, BMX, wakeboarding and motorsports events. For more information, please visit www.redbullsignatureseries.com.
Jonathan Glass is the Online Editor at Snowboard Magazine. If he says he is going snowboarding it means he's at après, early.
Take Snowboardmag.com with you everywhere you go. Download the refined version 2.0 of our iPhone and iPad app for easy access to the latest news, photos, videos, snow reports, gear reviews, games and more.