Here at Slush, there is only one real contender for our favorite major contest in snowboarding. Side note, if you want to know Travis Rice’s opinion about winning his own contest, we highly encourage you to check out his interview in the new magazine, where we discuss it at length.

But amidst the overwhelming flood of information from every direction in our modern world, we’re going to highlight a few critical points about NST this year. Most notably, a select group of riders, unlike the previous year, have already secured a spot in the finals at Revelstoke. This means no preliminary duels for them; their positions are firmly established. Those 18 riders are:

Mikkel Bang, Mikey Ciccarelli, Dustin Craven, Jared Elston, Mark McMorris, Chris Rasman, Sage Kotsenburg, Marion Hearty, Hana Beman, Robin Van Gyn, Ben Ferguson, Hailey Langland, Elena Hight, Torstein Horgmo, Blake Paul, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, and Travis Rice

The duels on the other hand, will determine who snags the remaining 6 spots in the tour and those head to heads shape out as follows: 

Arthur Longo x Kevin Backstrom at Andermatt, Switzerland

An intense rivalry between two European style icons. Deciding a winner in this chic duel is likely to be as difficult as selecting your favorite child. 

Jamie Anderson x Emma Crosby at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO

The most decorated female competitor versus an ATV up-and-comer with everything to prove and everything to gain. 

Nils Mindnich x Victor Daviet at Purgatory Snowcat Adventures in Durango, CO

Nils, noted for his strong performance in last year's Duels, and a standout competitor at the 2021 Jackson Hole event, challenges Victor, a seasoned big mountain rider whose exceptional talent for choosing perfect lines is rivaled by a select few.

Spencer O’Brien x Mary Rand at RED Mountain Resort, Rossland, BC

Two seasoned veterans of the tour, who have also thrived in backcountry adventures during the second stage of their careers, go head-to-head for one of the coveted women's spots.

Red Gerard x Austen Sweetin at Eleven's terrain on Scarp Ridge in Irwin, CO

An electric showdown as a former Olympic gold medalist clashes with one of snowboarding's most dynamic backcountry riders, each determined to etch their name in the NST history books.

Raibu Katayama x Torgeir Bergrem in Japan

This unique matchup features two competitors making their debut on this stage, with the outcome wide open. Raibu might have a slight edge with home turf advantage, but Torgeir's personal project, Temple of The Dog, showcases the remarkable extent of his backcountry expertise.

While the world eagerly anticipates more snowfall, these duels serve as an ideal precursor to the main event in Revelstoke. Scheduled for a two-day live extravaganza within the weather window of March 10, stay tuned to Natural Selection's Instagram for the latest updates on the duels and the tour.