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 is based out of GearJunkie's Denver, CO office. She has a degree in English and Journalism, and been writing professionally for over five years. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.