Don’t call it a comeback, but after a four-year hiatus Red Bull Cold Rush is finally making its triumphant return this week at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Cancelled last year due to weather and snow issues, the Revy installment of the most versatile competition on two planks features one of the strongest collection of men and women’s freeskiers ever assembled. From X Games gold medalists to film legends to a cast of up-and-comers hungry to put their own stamp on the ski world, Cold Rush is the ski fantasy team you wish you drafted.
Spread out from February 3-6 (the February 2 Big Mountain event was pushed a day due to weather), Cold Rush includes three distinct courses and four disciplines, with a cumulative point total determining the winner of both the men’s and women’s fields. Competitors will drop in on the big mountain competition at Revelstoke’s Spilt Milk zone, charge cliffs at a helicopter-accessed zone outside of resort boundaries, and wrap up with the backcountry slopestyle and uphill skinning competition. The points from all four events will take home the bacon and the titles of King and Queen of Cold Rush.
In typical Cold Rush fashion, winners will be chosen by the athletes during a vote after the final day of competition (either the February 5 or 6 depending on weather). This year the public will also have a say in which skier brings home one of those oversized cardboard checks, as, for the first time, a People’s Choice Award will be awarded in an online vote in the week following the contest.
To paint a bigger picture of just what goes into Cold Rush, we decided to get inside the numbers of freeskiing’s favorite event. Here’s what the digits had to say.
Amount of cash money up for grabs in this year’s Red Bull Cold Rush event.
Number of inches of snow Revelstoke received leading up to the event.
Number of camera angles for this year’s big mountain event, including a helicopter-mounted Cineflex.
Number of drones allowed on course because of said helicopters and a not-so-long-ago reminder that plastic flying machines might be a little hazardous to competition venues.
Number of Canadians in this year’s 21 person field (10 of 15 in the men’s category and three of five in the women’s category), including two-time champion Sean Pettit.
Number of rookies in this year’s field including POWDER Awards “Best Line” winner Angel Collinson and X Games gold medalist Sammy Carlson.
Number of shovelers on Riley Leboe’s backcountry slopestyle construction crew during the course build in January.
Number of beers paid to said shovelers.
Number of hours taken to build the seven feature backcountry slopestyle course (about 8 hours each for the step-downs, jumps, and an 80-foot stepover) “I worked on the Cold Rush course in Retallack a few years ago where we used snowcats to push up massive jumps in the backcountry. But this year, the venue is too remote to get a snowcat into, so everything is built by hand.” — Riley Leboe, competitor and overseer of slopestyle course build.
Amount of feet of snow that ski patrol had to clear from the slopestyle features last week after storms pummeled the venue.
Number of points possible in the Summit Assault, the wild card and potentially equalizing factor in the 150-point contest. The touring competition returns after a request by the late J.P. Auclair to incorporate more alpine skills into the best in freeskiing competition.
Number of après athlete hangouts open to the public this week (that’s like three Angel Collinson autographs worth—right?).
Number of pro callouts heard from the Revelstoke peanut gallery on day one of action.
Amount of energy soda consumed by 21 over-caffeinated action sports athletes over a five-day period. Guinness World Records is standing by.