Gigi Rüf takes home winner's title at 2013 Red Bull Ultra Natural
A little luck, combined with some great rides, powered Austria’s Gigi Rüf to the top of the podium at the Red Bull Ultra Natural held Sunday at Balface Lodge in the mountains near Nelson.
The Austrian rider outdueled 15 of the world’s best snowboarders and deteriorating weather to capture the second annual event staged on the run known as “Scary Cherry” at Baldface Lodge.
“I don’t know, I definitely got lucky,” said Rüf about his performance today.
“I don’t really consider myself a ‘winner,’ I believe in luck and coincidence. My friend told me about a great quote that says a winner doesn’t need luck, but I believe there was a little bit of luck involved today just because of how Mother Nature played out and how she played into my vision.”
Rüf stood on top of the podium after putting together a creative run showcasing his unique style, utilizing a variety of both the natural and man-made features on the mile long course.
Switzerland’s Nicolas Müller not only took second place but was also presented the Best Trick Award with a gigantic mute air over a tree, sending himself nearly 100-feet down the 45-plus degree course.
Rounding out the podium was Southern California’s Bryan Fox, a first-timer at Red Bull Ultra Natural and a late addition to the event as a wildcard entry.
2012 winner and course designer, Travis Rice, finished tenth overall in the field of 16 snowboarders.
“The top 3 riders are the top 3 for a good reason,” says Competitor and Event Creator Travis Rice.
“They rode the best on today’s course. Our podium finishers rode the course like it was meant to be ridden. They found their own lines, everyone had their own creative expression on the course, and that’s what Red Bull Ultra Natural is all about.”
Nicolas Müller did the most tricks of anyone else on the hill today but fell on a backside 540, virtually ending his chances for the top spot.
However, his huge mute air ollie over a treetop pillow left the judges in awe after going bigger and farther than almost anyone else on course today.
Bryan Fox may have been a newcomer to Red Bull Ultra Natural, but it sure didn’t show in his riding.
Fox was the only rider to stand-up top to bottom his entire run, landing such difficult tricks as back-to-back-to-back 360’s, a front side inverted 720 and a 50-50 off a log feature. In the end, the cleanliness of his run didn’t outweigh the creativity of Rüf’s or Müller’s.
“’Scary Cherry’ itself is a really difficult run in the best of conditions without a single feature on it. For a regular guy like me, to ride 2400-2600 vertical feet in one continuous run is a lot. Your legs are burning at the bottom,” said Baldface Lodge Owner Jeff Pensiero.
“To think that guys are linking 5 or 6 features, then continuing down and doing a backflip or something off the big jump, then doing tricks in the lower section of the course, to me that is absolutely super human.
And all of them, from the guy that got last place to Gigi, were able to exercise something I’ll never have. So to be able to witness that in my backyard on a slope that I’ve ridden for all these years is just hard to say anything other than I’m kind of speechless watching it.”
Results for the 2013 Red Bull Ultra Natural is as follows:
RUN 1 RUN 2
1. Gigi Rüf 82.6 72.4
2. Nicolas Müller 76.4 71.4
3. Bryan Fox 44.6 75.4
4. Terje Håkonsen 66.2 60.2
5. D. Carrier-Porcheron 62.2 39.2
6. Mark McMorris 61.6 45.4
7. Eero Niemela 61.0 34.0
8. Pat Moore 59.0 38.0
9. Lucas Debari 57.2 53.0
10. Travis Rice 56.2 49.2
11. Jussi Oksanen 27.8 55.4
12. Bode Merrill 48.8 45.2
13. Jake Blauvelt 46.8 48.0
14. Wolfgang Nyvelt 45.6 42.8
15. Torstein Horgmo 32.6 44.8
16. Mikey Rencz 39.6 40.0
Fans in the U.S. can tune-in to NBC on March 30th at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT to catch Red Bull Ultra Natural presented by Nike Snowboarding.
The show airs as part of the Red Bull Signature Series, an action sports property featuring some of Red Bull’s top events including Dreamline, Wake Open and Rampage.
For more information, please visit www.redbullsignatureseries.com.