snowboarder in red jacket flying off jump in right of photo at Natural Selection Tour practice session
Photo credit: Natural Selection Tour

Natural Selection Tour Unveils Final ‘Wild Card’ Riders

Natural Selection is set to be one of the greatest backcountry-based pro snowboard comps of all time. And this week, two lucky athletes were given a chance to ride in the tour.

Last December, world-renowned snowboarder Travis Rice announced the creation of the Natural Selection Tour. The tour will be the first backcountry-based competition in the world.

Twenty-four athletes will ride in the inaugural tour (16 men and eight women). When the tour officials created the invite system, they left room for two “Wild Card” riders, who will be voted in by fans and handpicked by judges.

In order to apply for a Wild Card spot, athletes had to submit one-minute backcountry freestyle snowboard edits. You can watch the athlete edits here and check out the bios of all the Tour riders.

The Wild Card riders voted in today are as follows:

  • Men’s rider: Bode Merrill, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Women’s rider: Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Sydney, Australia 

“Additionally, [the public got to vote in] one male and one female rider to earn the right to be first alternates,” tour officials announced. The official Natural Selection Alternates for the first portion of the tour are:

  • Men’s alternate: John Jackson, Crowley Lake, Calif.
  • Women’s alternate: Mary Rand, Narragansett, R.I.

The Wild Card riders also get a special perk: Red Bull will award them $2,500 each to donate to an environmental nonprofit of their choice.

The Natural Selection Tour will air Feb. 3-9, 2021, on Red Bull TV.

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Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee.

She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.