Back in the day, a legendary big mountain competition called King of the Hill brought some of the world’s best riders to Alaska each spring. Organised and run by Nick Perata, himself a living, breathing piece of snowboarding history, the comp was regarded as one of the most prestigious titles in the sport. But not even fact that it was one of the flagship contests in the 90’s competitive calendar could save the King of the Hill comp, and it stopped running in 2000. After seven great years of pushing the blurring the lines between freeride and freestyle, it looked like the comp was gone for good… until now.
This year Recco, the avalanche search people, decided to stump up the cash to resurrect the legendary event. And so it seems that King of the Hill is back. Not only that, it seems it’s come back with a bang. This year’s comp attracted not only the likes of Travis Rice and Scotty Lago, but also many of the legends who made the original competition the event to win. Mike Basich turned up to shred, as did Kevin Jones. Meanwhile, original 80s hell-raiser Shawn Farmer rocked up and rode on his 45th birthday!
But despite the presence of all these legends, there could only be one King of the Hill at the end of the day. And, perhaps inevitably, it was Travis Rice who pulled the win out of the bag – with this frankly insane line. He may not have won the X-Games this year, but I’d defy any Chas, Eero or Iouri, to throw down a line like this. Charging down the Bro Bowl in Alaska’s Chugach mountains at mach 10 would be hard enough, but throwing a huge backside 7 in the middle of your run? Insane! As the commentator says: “Travis is not fucking around today ladies and gentlemen!”
With riding like this, and Vera Janssen (who we interviewed here) winning the women’s Queen of the Hill title, it looks like the comp is back to stay – which can only be a good thing for the future of freeriding. Let’s see more of stuff like this please!