There was a time more than 20 years ago, when competitive snowboarding was not at the centre of the sport. Before the Olympics, before multiples X Games and Dew Tour stops, and before Shaun White wore a leather suit on the biggest stage of them all vying for a gold medal. Print magazines and video segments ruled the counterculture back then.
When Olympic halfpipe was introduced, a new wave of money came into the sport, and it truly came to the mainstream. What happened between now and then is well documented and talked about enough. The sport has had some of it’s soul slowly sucked out with an almost over-progression of tricks, as competitions have focused on the numeric qualities of snowboarding rather than the style which originally made snowboarding the unique, magnifying sport that allowed it to burst onto the scene in the early 2000’s.
Lucky for us, the very athletes that have driven the competitive snowboard scene to it’s greatest heights seemed to be becoming somewhat disillusioned—and it can be, at times, an absolute pleasure to watch. Take for example,Red Bull Recharged. The brainchild of competiive halfpipe rider Ben Ferguson and Olympic medallist Mark McMorris, the judged video battle aims to bring together the competive side of snowboarding, while still paying homage to the beauty of a well produced and executed video segment.
The results were impressive—after a week at Mammoth Mountain, innovative and exciting tricks were thrown down by riders such as Sebbe De Buck, Red Ferguson, Craig McMorris, and many more. And to top it all off, it was judged by none other than Travis Rice. Watch the video to see how it all went down, from the initial build to the crowning of the eventual champion.—ML