natural selection proving grounds
Dylan Stark at the 2021 Proving Grounds; (photo/Peter Jamison)

Natural Selection Evolves to Launch Freeride MTB Competition in September

Many of the best mountain and slopestyle riders in the world will gather in Oregon in September for a joint event from Natural Selection and Proving Grounds.

On Sept. 10, Proving Grounds will bring the ethos of Natural Selection’s snowboarding competitions to mountain biking.

That weekend, the 32 best big mountain and slopestyle riders in the world will drop into an expanded Flying Blind Dirt Park in Prineville, Ore. The massive dirt park showcases huge doubles, berm presses, and rhythm sections.

What’s next? Probably a wild and highly competitive ride, if the 2021 Proving Grounds results indicate anything.

The competition, which began in 2019, partners with Natural Selection this year. As with Natural Selection snowboarding events, this year’s Proving Grounds riders will choose their line to best showcase their personal skill, style, and strengths.

The men’s field of 20 athletes includes Carson Storch, Cam Zink, Emil Johansson, and Andreu Lacondeguy, all of whom will skip qualifying on Thursday, Sept. 8, and drop straight into Saturday’s Super Final. If you’re planning to watch it (see how below), we wouldn’t recommend skipping out on that qualifying heat. Clemens Kaudela, Adolf Silva, and more will fight for five open finals spots in a 15-rider field.

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Carson Storch soaring at Proving Grounds; (photo/Trevor Lydens)

On the women’s side, 12 riders including Casey Brown, Chelsea Kimball, and Hannah Bergemann highlight a field competing on the same finals course as the men. Notably, Proving Grounds broke into new territory last year when it became the first pro freeride event where women rode on the same course as the men and earned equal pay.

natural selection
Cami Nogueira, the 2021 women’s Proving Grounds winner; (photo/Katie Lozancich)

Attend Natural Selection Proving Grounds 2022

Tickets are on sale now for the event, including one-day tickets for Saturday’s Super Finals. Gates open at 8 a.m. for Saturday’s full slate. The competition kicks off at 10 a.m., with second runs beginning at 1 p.m.

A limited number of 3-day, 2-night camping passes offer exclusive access to camping on Friday, Sept. 9. That includes access to the men’s and women’s Jump Jam and a screening of the new Teton Gravity Research film “Esperanto.”

Attendees will also get access to RV and van camping through Sunday, Sept. 11. Each individual must purchase a camping pass. The festival includes an industry expo, a beer garden, food trucks, and live music.

Tickets are available on EventBrite, ranging from $25 for a single-day pass to $95 for a weekend camping pass.

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An aerial view of the 2021 course; (photo/Proving Grounds)

How to Watch Online

Can’t make it to Oregon to watch Proving Grounds in person? No problem. This year, you can watch it live on How? Just mash the link and press play.

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Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.