With the U.S. Freestyle National Championships behind us, it’s time for the snowboarders to take center stage. On Saturday, April 6, the slopes of Heavenly will be energized with the talent of the industry’s top big air athletes. If you haven’t heard of High Roller Hold ‘Em yet, it’s a brand new, innovative big air competition mashed up with the cunning strategy of Texas Hold ‘Em poker.
Each athlete will be dealt two cards with the difficulty of the tricks matching the value of the cards. They will then place bets based on their hand and have to land the trick to validate their bet. This high-production, signature night-time event is one giant, unprecedented party for both athletes and spectators so put it on your social calendar and book your trip today.
The competitors are as follows:
MARK MCMORRIS It is hard to imagine having a more dominant season that Mark McMorris has had in 2012/13. Since December, the 19-year-old Canadian has taken first place in big air and slopestyle at the Dew Tour, received a gold medal in slopestyle and silver medal in big air at the Winter X Games Aspen, first place in slopestyle at the Burton US Open in Vail, and a gold medal in slopestyle at Winter X Games Tignes.
Chas, a local favorite, has been snowboarding for over 16 years and currently resides in Truckee, California – close to his home mountain, Northstar California. Always a top contender at any event, Chas has a handful of X Games, Dew Tour and Burton US Open medals, and is widely considered as one of the biggest names on the snowboard competition circuit.
Coming from the snowboarding hotbed of Norway, Gjermund has made a name for himself as one of the most complete riders in snowboarding. Coming hot off of a third place finish at the Toyota Big Air in Japan, Gjermund will be looking to take top honors at the inaugural High Roller Hold ‘Em event.
Known for his clean style and technical trick combinations, Ulrik is one of the rising names in snowboarding. Credited as the first snowboarder to land a 1620, Ulrik won the 2011 Air & Style event in Beijing and came in second in slopestyle at the 2012 Burton US Open. His most recent wins include: 2013 X Games Aspen, Big Air – 5th; 2013 Dew Tour, Big Air – 5th; 2012 Burton US Open, Slopestyle – 2nd.
Sage’s snowboarding resume is stacked with X Games medals, Dew Tour championships and a claim to landing the first ever cab double cork 1440: pretty impressive for only being 19.
When Eric Willett isn’t cruising the parks at his home mountain of Breckenridge, he is competing at the biggest events in competition snowboarding. Known as one of the best slopestyle snowboarders in the world, Eric has four Winter X Games Slopestyle medals to his name, including a gold medal from the 2010 Winter X Games in Tignes.
Mark, a Colorado native, grew up shredding at Powderhorn Resort until he graduated high school early and moved to Breckenridge. Mark is known for his jumping abilities and smooth style. Landing a triple cork last year at Superpark 16 and taking a 3rd place finish at the Grand Prix slopestyle, Mark is an up-and-coming force to be reckoned with!
Eric is a rising star on the competition snowboarding scene, and is looking to follow-up his first place finish at this year’s slopestyle competition at the O’Neill Pleasure Jam in Austria with a win at the inaugural High Roller Hold ‘Em event.
Eighteen-year-old Pat Burgener is one of the biggest names in Switzerland’s snowboarding scene, and was named the Swiss Big Air Champion in 2012. Pat was the first snowboarder to land a switch backside triple cork 1440 in April 2011, and is coming off of a third place finish at this year’s Freestyle.ch big air event.
Growing up in the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Ian’s parents put him into his first pair of skis before he could walk. With a hill only five miles from his house, Ian spent most of his winters there and soon convinced his dad to let him switch to a snowboard. The switch was probably for the better, as Ian took home silver medal in slopestyle from the 2010 Dew Tour at Mount Snow.
On the following day, Sunday, April 7, follow clues on Twitter from @SkiHeavenly to find three GoPro cameras stashed across the mountain in Heavenly’s #GoProHunt. For more info on the hunt, click here.