Zoi Sadowski-Synnott is now the best female snowboarder in the world
A win by Zoi Sadowski-Synnott at the second stop on the Natural Selection Tour showed us all we needed to realize that she is the best female snowboarder in the world regardless of discipline.
The 21-year-old from Wanaka, New Zealand beat American Elena Hight to become the first female champion of Natural Selection at Baldface Lodge in British Columbia, Canada on Wednesday morning. Hight won the first Natural Selection event of the year at Jackson Hole, while Sadowski-Synnott could not compete due to Covid regulations in preparation for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
For those who don’t know, Natural Selection is the premier backcountry snowboarding competition in the world. Backcountry snowboarding is where the riders go to the top of the mountain and shred some powder doing whatever tricks they feel like on the way down. It is the purest form of snowboarding because there are no jumps, no rails, just the athletes riding down and enjoying themselves.
Sadowski-Synnott looked poised to get a win in her first competition since the Winter Olympics and went into first place in qualifying with her first run. After that run, she told her fellow competitors, “I was not planning to do any tricks.” That is even more impressive to think about since it sounds like she just showed up and improvised a first-place run.
It is because of the freedom the riders get to do whatever comes to mind, that the winner can be called the best snowboarder in the world. That is at least what iconic border Travis Rice believes.
Her win at Baldface is the icing on top of an extremely successful 2021-22 season for Sadowski-Synnott. In addition to a win in the backcountry, the Kiwi won gold in slopestyle at the Dew Tour, X Games Aspen, and Winter Olympics. By winning the gold in Beijing Sadowski-Synnott became the first person from New Zealand to ever win a Winter Olympic gold medal. She also finished first in big air at the X Games B and won silver at the Winter Olympics.
This incredible season has seen her progress the sport of women’s snowboarding to new heights. Fellow Olympic slopestyle competitor Julia Mirano came second and explained the impact Sadowski-Synnott has had on the sport.
“She’s taking it to the next level doing these big tricks and other girls are like, ‘Wow, I think we can do that, too’,” Mirano said. “She’s so inspiring.”
It is not very often that you see such a well-rounded snowboarder competing in different styles of the sport and having as much success as Sadowski-Synnott has had. However, her rise to the top has been inevitable. Since getting the bronze medal in snowboard big air at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang Sadowski-Synnott has not finished off of the podium in any major international park competition, including back-to-back FIS World Championship wins in slopestyle in 2019 and 2021.
It was only a matter of time but the era of Zoi Sadowski-Synnott is here and won’t be going anywhere for a while. Whether it be big mountain or park riding she has turned up and shown why she is the best female snowboarder in the world.
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