The North Face Masters is the first competitive snowboarding event specifically tailored to fill a competition gap in the sport of Big Mountain Snowboarding. With a majority of the snowboarding population drawn to the freedom of expression found on the open expanse of natural mountain terrain, Big Mountain snowboarding is all about pushing personal limits in this pure environment. Big Mountain snowboarding is a test of a snowboarders creativity, athleticism and ability to push themselves through personal limits. A spectator-friendly sport, Big Mountain snowboarding includes the successful management of huge cliff jumps, tight chutes, steep powder stashes, and variable snow and weather conditions.
Competitors are encouraged to utilize all natural terrain features between the start and finish area with higher points awarded for unique and difficult routes. Competitor’s runs often include snowboarding down the most daunting, steep terrain at high speeds and snowboarding over cliffs and other natural features. It is encouraged that these competitors adhere to safety above all else, while pushing their personal comfort zones in a fun, controlled situation.
Exact location of the venues will be selected and announced prior to the event and made public at the mandatory athlete meeting. A thorough inspection is mandatory, and all athletes will be given a scheduled hour-long period to inspect the selected competition arena. Venue difficulty will increase as the qualifying athletes progress onward through the competition finale.
The North Face Young Gun Award recognizes riders under the age of 21 that demonstrate raw talent and innovation in their riding style. Young Gun award recipients embody the big mountain riding culture and are the future of the sport. A TNF Young Gun is selected at each Masters competition and presented with a trophy. These recipients are eligible for the overall series TNF Young Gun Award. The North Face will also grant the A-Rob award in honor and memory of the late Masters’ champion Aaron Robinson. The A-Rob award captures the spirit of the community and desire to explore the mountains.
The North Face Masters is part of the Freeride World Qualifier system. FWQs are rated on a 1 to 4-star scale with competitors earning more or less points at events according to venue difficulty and scale, competitive pool and other factors. The 2013 Masters is comprised of a 2-star event as Alpine Meadows, CA and a 4-star event at Squaw Valley, CA.