Pro athletes join High Roller Hold’em lineup for $50,000 prize
Pro snowboarders are used to gambling.
There are no guarantees off the lip of an 80-foot jump, but five pros are about to gamble on more than just a safe landing.
Chas Guldemond, Ulrik Badertscher, Gjermund Braaten, Sage Kotsenburg and Torstein Horgmo have all signed on for Heavenly’s new twist on big air. The High Roller Hold’em competition mixes massive air with poker-inspired strategy and adds a $50,000 pot.
The competition will be held Saturday night, April 6, at Heavenly Mountain Resort. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White will host the event.
“The High Roller contest has a stacked lineup this year,” White said in a press release. “With guys like Torstein and Sage competing, I’m honored to be part of it.”
Each rider will be dealt two cards, three in the super final, with each card featuring a different trick. The riders will then bet on the trick of their choice and must execute the trick to win that round. The rider who lands the trick with the highest level of difficulty will win that round and qualify for the big purse in the super final.
This will all go down on one massive big-air jump, built on World Cup by the best in the snow pushing business, Snow Park Technologies.
Of the five pros, Guldemond can be considered the local rider. Coming out of Reno, Nev., the 25-year-old is a slopestyle master. He was third at the 2013 Burton U.S. Open, fourth in the 2013 X Games Aspen, first at the 2013 Copper Grand Prix, and second in the 2012 Dew Tour.
“Riding with all my good friends in my home zone is going to be a blast,” Guldemond said in a press release.
Here’s what the rest of the lineup looks like.
Badertscher, a 24-year-old from Norway, placed fifth in big air at the 2013 X Games Aspen, fifth at the 2012 Dew Tour in big air, second in slopestyle at the 2012 Burton U.S. Open and first at the Oakley and Shaun White Beijing Air and Style in 2011.
Braaten, 22, was eighth in slopestyle at the 2013 X Games Aspen. He also placed third at the Toyota Big Air 2013 and fourth in the Big Air Moscow.
Kotsenburg, 19, holds a Dew Cup title, silver medal in X Games Slopestyle, bronze in X Games Big Air, silver medal in X Games Tignes Slopestyle and took second in Dew Tour Big Air.
Horgmo, 26, placed second at the 2013 Burton U.S. Open in slopestyle, and first in slopestyle at the 2013 Burton European Open. He also holds two gold medals and a silver in X Games Aspen Big Air and is a participant in the 2013 X Games LA Real Snow Backcountry.
“Any night time event with SPT and pyrotechnics involved is sure to be fun,” Horgmo said in a press release.
The competition will be held at night and feature a live DJ, fireworks, laser lights and the Heavenly Angels. It will be streamed live on ESPN3.
“These guys really know how to compete, and with $50,000 at stake, they better be ready to go all in,” said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly’s general manager.
Heavenly Mountain Resort contributed to this report.