Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

‘It all lined up in front of me’

Whistler snowboarder Mikey Ciccarelli wins 2024 Natural Selection Tour; Jamie Anderson third among women

In another life, Mikey Ciccarelli might have gone to the Winter Olympics. We might have watched him suit up alongside the likes of Mark McMorris and Darcy Sharpe at Beijing 2022, going for slopestyle and big air gold. Yet Ciccarelli relinquished his former Olympic dream to walk a different path: one that ultimately took him to the snow-capped peaks of Revelstoke. 

It was there on April 4, in the high alpine of Selkirk Tangiers, that Ciccarelli became a first-time victor on the Natural Selection Tour (NST). 

“I'm such a huge fan of Natural Selection: the events they put on and the people that run it,” he said. “Having this opportunity and then the fortune to win just feels like a dream come true, honestly. It’s a win for all of us in Whistler and Canada, and I hope this helps to inspire the next generation. As Canadian snowboarders, we’re all rooting for each other.” 

Jamie Anderson also gave Sea to Sky fans something to cheer about when she earned bronze in the ladies’ event. The 11-time World Cup champ and 21-time Winter X Games medallist fell in a tightly-contested semifinal to her fellow American Mary Rand, who in turn lost out to winner Marion Haerty of France. 

“Thank you, Natural Selection,” said Anderson on social media. “It was an honour to be back competing at this event. The venue and snow was all time! Congrats [Marion Haerty] and [Mikey Ciccarelli] on the titles!” 

‘I had to go for it’ 

Ciccarelli dropped in against Nils Mindnich of the United States in the final. NST rookie Mindnich initially took a 20-point lead by riding switch nearly all the way down his opening run. With little to lose and a great deal to gain, the Whistlerite threw a Hail Mary in his second and last attempt. 

Several eye-opening tricks—including a big cab 540—later, Ciccarelli rode away with 85 points to Mindnich’s 81. The touchdown (pun intended) was his. 

“Nils was riding so well,” Ciccarelli recalled. “I just knew that if I wanted to stand on top, I had to go for it. If I fall, I fall, and if I land, I land. Without fear, I put it out on the line and that first cab five really set the tone for my run.” 

Mindnich settled for silver as bronze went to 2023 champion and NST founder Travis Rice. 

Giving up a chance at an Olympic berth sounds like insanity to some, but Ciccarelli knows why he made that call. 

“It's funny, the way it all transpired,” he said. “I really wanted to have more fun on my snowboard and I felt like chasing that Olympic dream on the slopestyle circuit just wasn't fulfilling me. I wasn't enjoying it as much as I once was. 

“I’ve had lots of ups and downs in my snowboarding career—I think Natural Selection is my third win ever. It all lined up in front of me…I found myself competing again, in an arena that I really enjoyed and with my favourite riders of all time.” 

Just as hungry 

Since its beginnings in 2020, the NST has attracted top talent from all corners of the snowboarding realm like moths to a flame. Plenty of elite freestylers, from McMorris to Anderson to Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, find it as compelling as big mountain maestros like Ciccarelli and Mindnich. Each year, the tour visits all kinds of world-class venues from Baldface Valhalla to Valdez, Alaska. 

One gets considerably more open space with which to operate at Selkirk Tangiers than, say, Valdez with its cliffs and rocks. That plays to the advantage of a man like Ciccarelli, who can focus on building speed and momentum without worrying about an abundance of natural hazards. Even so, it’s a challenge—NST athletes don’t get to inspect their terrain until shortly before the event begins. 

This time, the northeast-facing Mosquito bowl lay before them: 1,600 feet of vertical descent stretched across 128 acres.

“[NST organizers] are so good with venue selection and choice of terrain that it really does allow someone to step up and ride better than they even thought they were capable of,” said Ciccarelli. “I definitely didn't think I was supposed to be in that final and found myself there, so it was surreal.” 

And while Olympic and X Games contenders enjoy an increasingly bright spotlight, the NST plays a key role in elevating riders who prefer the mountain to the park. 

“Maybe the general public doesn't realize that we're just as hungry as the national team competitors, but in a different environment,” remarked Ciccarelli. 

Event replays and full results are available at