Twenty-one athletes kicked off the 2016 Red Bull Cold Rush under high clouds and biting Canadian temperatures on Wednesday, putting their stamp on the Big Mountain portion of freeskiing's most exciting event just beyond the Revelstoke Mountain Resort rope line. A day after thick clouds and snow shut down the Spilt Milk venue, the collection of big mountain, park, and backcountry shredders put on a show for the spectators in Greely Bowl.
"It's nice because this group is really skilled and the runs are calculated," says Leah Evans, one of five ladies in this year's Cold Rush and a Revelstoke local freerider. "You're not scared for them on days like today—it's more fun to be a part of."
While flat light made things interesting early (in addition to some serious rotor wash from the pair of helicopters circling the event), it didn't take long for Whistler boy Stan Rey to huck an insane 80-foot backflip that put the rest of the field on notice. In the end he couldn't stick the landing and chucked his GoPro in the process (he landed a second equally massive attempt later with one pole), but it was the run that set the tone for the rest of the day.
The mixed bag of competitors went on to paint the snowy canvas every which way, with Sammy Carlson, Kye Petersen, and Wiley Miller floating styley 360s over cliff bands while Dave Treadway and newcomer Greg Hope opted for the no-BS approach, stomping technical and gutsy shots and sniping hidden cliff drops.
But in the end, it was very much the ladies that stole the day Wednesday, as Tatum Monod laid down two smooth runs through hairy cliff sections, and 2015 Powder Awards Best Female Performance winner Angel Collinson continued her dominant skiing, crushing a no-fall cliff drop and busting through a tight choke before turning the chunder run out into her personal GS course.
Per Cold Rush rules, winners won’t be chosen until the screening and athlete vote on Saturday night at Revelstoke’s Roxy Theatre.
Action continues tomorrow with the Backcountry Slopestyle competition in Revelstoke's cat accessed Montana Bowl.