Aaron Robinson, Shannan Yates Win TNF Masters

Aaron Robinson and Shannan Yates took the overall title of The North Face Masters on Sunday at the final stop at Kirkwood Mountain Resort in California:

Photo: verticalresponse.com
Shannan Yates and Aaron Robinson. Photo: verticalresponse.com

“Kirkwood, California- February 28, 2010-The final stop of The North Face Masters of Snowboarding (TNF Masters) took place at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, California, this weekend as perfect conditions combined with high-level talent to make for an incredible competition in the permanently-closed and impossibly-steep ”Cirque”.

This is one of North America’s best alpine venues as the Cirque’s natural terrain shields it from storms and also creates the perfect viewing arena for those less-intrepid souls who get shivers from simply watching. Aaron Robinson, Rob Kingwill and Elijah Teter scoping their line before the Final Photo Keith Carlsen/MSI

The start area for The North Face Masters clings precariously to the shoulder of a cliff in Kirkwood’s notorious Cirque. On Day 1 ridge gusts whipped snow and competitors relentlessly as every other high-elevation chairlift at the resort got socked in and shut down. That day’s storm brought over two feet of snow and set things up for a huge finale.

Infamous snowboard icon Shawn Farmer pre-ran the course before today’s final heats setting the tone for antics that can only be found at a high-stakes Big Mountain snowboarding event.

With yesterday’s points not carrying over, athletes came into the finals and super-finals with a clean slate, with the better of two runs deciding the winners. In the men’s division Aaron Robinson of Big Mountain, Montana, took the podium and also the unbelievably-sharp Japanese sword made for each winner of the men’s and women’s divisions. Robinson had this to say about his line choice: “I absolutely love the North Face Masters with its judges and crew. I wanted to make sure I rode into the powder so I pointed it and the landing was nice.” He also cinched the overall TNF Masters 2010 tour title.

Kirkwood’s own Joe Forest took second place by following winner Robinson’s line into the Hidden Chute area of the Cirque with mandatory 35-foot cliff drops.The North Face team rider Ralph Backstrom of Squaw Valley, California, finished third place with a strong and powerfull run.

Alex Yoder, 20, from Jackson Hole, Wyoming earned ”The North Face Young Gun Award” for his remarkable performance throughout the Tour.

Hundreds of spectators watched the show from Kirkwood’s sunny finish corral below the Cirque. A snowcat brought walkers to the finish area for a party with the Masters’ skilled touring staff. TNF Masters attracts big mountain snowboarding competitors from all around the world. All male and female snowboarding competitors above age 18 are invited to participate.

The North Face Masters of Snowboarding Presented by Primaloft is supported by The North Face, Primaloft, Subaru of America, Mountain Sports International, Comcast Sportsnet, Snowboard Magazine, Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, Crystal Mountain, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Kirkwood Mountain Resort .

The North Face Masters of Snowboarding 2010 Series Schedule

Stop #1 – Snowbird, Utah – January 23 – 24

Stop #2 – Crystal Mountain, Washington – February 9 – 12

Stop #3 – Kirkwood, California – February 25 – 27

The North Face Masters of Snowboarding 2010 Series Schedule

Second to last out of the gate this morning was Shannan Yates of Snowbird, Utah. Choosing a technical line speckled with rock exposure, Yates impressed the judges with several cliff-drops and retained her principal standing, winning the run. Her super finals run was merely for show as she had already cinched the title with her first run which also earned her enough points to take the overall 2010 TNF Masters tour title. “I had a great season with the North Face Masters and visited new places, met new people and became a better athlete.” Other competitors agreed that Yates used the entire series of Masters contests to take women’s snowboarding to the next level.