Sean Pettit hits the Castle Jump at Red Bull Cold Rush 2012 in Silverton, Colorado. Photographer Credit: Mike Arzt / Red Bull Content Pool
Invitations went out in early December to a select group of the top freeskiers around the world to meet in Revelstoke, BC for one of the biggest showdowns in the backcountry.
With Red Bull Cold Rush returning after a two year hiatus, athletes were quick to RSVP for a chance to take on a new mountain and claim a winning spot at the legendary contest. As an invitation only event, the 2015 athlete roster is stacked with some of the biggest names in the game featuring 15 male and 5 female competitors.
Being a multi-disciplinary event that fuses big mountain, cliffs, slopestyle, and touring, the competitors come from a diverse background. Athletes will be pushed well beyond their comfort zone in a contest that seeks to reward the most versatile all-around skier. Slopestyle skiers most comfortable with throwing big spins in the park will find themselves negotiating the steep alpine terrain and massive cliff drops of the upper area of Revelstoke Mountain Resort on Mount Mackenzie and traditional big mountain skiers will take on rails, kickers, and other custom built features. To help even the playing field, the contest will include a larger focus on ski touring allowing athletes to potentially recoup points lost in disciplines that are not their strong suit.
The view from the top of the Slopestyle venue for Red Bull Cold Rush 2015 in Revelstoke. Photographer Credit: Bryan Ralph / Red Bull Content
The brand new playing field at Revelstoke Mountain Resort features one of the most all-encompassing contest sites in freestyle skiing, offering an amphitheater of powder that hosts four distinct venues each catering to one of the specific contest disciplines.
Tasked with the job of preparing the venue is veteran builder/freestyle skier Riley Leboe (Vernon, BC) who has been building jumps for as long as he can remember. Of the four contest zones, it is the slopestyle venue that Leboe gets most excited about which will feature roughly eight or nine jump and step-downs where skiers will have a choice to hit three features at the top of the venue, mid mountain, or at the bottom.
Freestyle skier Riley Leboe working on a jump at the Red Bull Cold Rush slopestyle venue. Photographer Credit: Bryan Ralph / Red Bull Content Pool
“Athletes are going to have to nail three jumps in each line… it’s hard enough stomping one jump first try in the backcountry, so stomping three huge tricks out here is really going to show the level that freeskiing is at,” says Leboe. Beyond the built up kickers, the slopestyle course also comes equipped with some challenging natural terrain like wind lips and a step over that competitors can take advantage of, allowing them to pick their own unique lines on the slope.
Riley Leboe, Nick Leboe & Tatum Monod building the Red Bull Cold Rush Slopestyle course. Photographer Credit: Bryan Ralph / Red Bull Content Pool
Putting this all together takes a six-man crew a full week on the mountain constructing the features entirely by hand. As a competitor in the event himself, Leboe is the perfect candidate to oversee the design of the course, ensuring it is up to the safety and skill expectations of his fellow athletes. He isn’t merely building his own personal dream park as he relies on the close input of other competitors. Athletes Dane Tudor, Chris Rubens, and Tatum Monod have already made a trip to visit Leboe on the build site. Regardless of the competitive format, the close knit group of athletes supports one another to simply ski the best they possibly can.
Here are your Red Bull Cold Rush 2015 competitors:
- Bene Mayr (GER)
- Sage Cattabriga-Alosa (USA)
- Sean Pettit (CAN)
- Dane Tudor (CAN)
- Sammy Carlson (USA)
- Chris Rubens (CAN)
- Kye Petersen (CAN)
- Riley Leboe (CAN)
- Callum Pettit (CAN)
- Wiley Miller (CAN)
- Logan Pehota (CAN)
- Richard Permin (FRA)
- Johnny Collinson (USA)
- Stan Rey (SWZ)
- Joe Schuster (CAN)
- Tatum Monod (CAN)
- Michelle Parker (USA)
- Ingrid Backstrom (USA)
- Grete Eliassen (USA)
- Suz Graham (USA)
Red Bull Cold Rush 2011 in Silverton, Colorado. Photographer Credit: Erik Seo / Red Bull Content Pool