Research & Development — Backcountry Freestyle Event At Whitewater


This seemingly low-key gathering of female backcountry freestylers riders is happening at Whitewater Resort. What is R&D is a question a lot of been asking since the media takeover happened. 

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT's mission is simple: to improve the ratio of women to men in backcountry riding, specifically the Natural Selection Tour. Robin Van Gyn has been behind the scenes working to create a freestyle event and contest for a group of up and coming riders who have the potential to compete and film at a high level. How can we prepare the new crop of riders to be able to level up and content with the stronger field of experienced riders? Give them a platform! 

p: Chad Chomlack

A 7 day window of riding and competing where 8 - 10 riders will be selected to roll with 4 veterans of the NST. During the window, smaller groups of riders will be paired with “coaches” to practice, and film leading up to a competition day at the end of the window. Riders will compete in jam format on the contest day and winners will be awarded based on overall performance and contest day results. The top spot will be pre-qualified for the NST in 2025, and podium placement will also receive 5k in cash awards. 

p: Chad Chomlack

The host resort for RnD in 2024 will be Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, BC. Trash chutes are a notorious film spot used in countless snowboard films over the past 15 years. With a freeride section and a freestyle section, the riders will have a versatile playground to put down runs.

Riders have been hand picked based on ability and desire to progress in backcountry freestyle.

Portraits by Andrew Miller

Marissa Krawczak
Estelle Pensiero
Zoe Vernon
Kaleah Opal
Madison Blackley
Stefi Luxton
Mia Jones
Ellery Manning
Melissa Riitano
Naima Antolin
Nelly Steinhoff
Gill Andrewshenko
Katie Kennedy
Telma Sarkipaju

Tribute Boardshop, Jones Snowboards, Yeti, Arc'teryx, Natural Selection, White Water, Burton, Sierra Nevada, and A New Earth Project