CU snowboarding competes in Red Bull Bracket Reel

Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Kevin Pankow at

After an action-packed first round, the University of Colorado snowboard team has advanced to the quarterfinals in the Red Bull Bracket Reel Snow competition. The Buffs defeated Northern Arizona University in the round of 16, and have advanced to face Montana State University’s team, the Bozeman Sewer Mutants.

The Red Bull Bracket Reel Snow competition pits 16 skiing and snowboarding teams from across the United States against one another to see which team can create the best video, or “edit,” of their abilities. Check out the CU Snowboard Team’s first round footage, titled “Orientation,” here.

The competition is divided into four rounds, each having their own unique college-related theme. The four themes include: orientation, night class, art class and graduation. Beside the themes, there are no strict guidelines on what to film. The riders have the freedom to use the mountain and any other terrain however they please.

The wild card component for the competition involves the judge’s initial vote for teams in which the chosen teams receive a 15 percent advantage. The judges for the competition are professional snowboarder Kurt Heine for the first and third rounds, and professional skier and Breckenridge, Colorado native Bobby Brown for the second and fourth rounds. The rest of the voting is based on viewers voting on the website.

Currently, the Buffs are among the final eight teams remaining in the competition after taking down Northern Arizona by more than 500 votes, despite the fact that NAU gained a 15 percent boost due to the judge’s initial vote. 

Alongside Vincent McComb, manager of the CU Snowboard Team, the team includes freshmen Adam Shultz and Jake Orzech, juniors Matt O’Leary, Alex Schwartz and Kyle Adams, and seniors Nick Kiproff and Ryan Ludwig.

This is the first official launch for this particular Red Bull competition. Hundreds of schools sent Red Bull videos of who they were and why they should be in the competition. 20 schools were chosen for the preliminary phase, which was then narrowed down and finalized to 16 teams.

Every school in the competition has seven members that are full-time college students. Teams have been preparing for this event since December and have around three weeks to compile and edit footage for each round. Film for the competition must be up-to-date and no material can be used that was shot before the event.

The members for the Buffs are rooted out of the larger CU Snowboard Team group, in which the top seven riders were chosen to compete in this event. The full team has around 100 members and is student-run through the CU Rec Center.

Schwartz, also known as “The Wizard,” captures and edits the footage for the team.

“He’s the mastermind behind the lens,” McComb said.

Although Kiproff and Orzech both suffered recent injuries, McComb said they will still be participants in the team’s videos moving forward.

“We have members from all around the country, which allows our team to have a variety of unique styles,” McComb said.

The dynamic of this Colorado team allows it to combine its various skills and styles from its distinct backgrounds. The team features Colorado natives as well as riders hailing from the both the west and east coasts, like O’Leary who is originally from Burlington, Vermont.

Having the Rocky Mountains as their home allows for this unique group to compile various ideas and techniques into its footage.

The Buffs are currently battling the Bozeman Sewer Mutant in the quarterfinals. Montana State was the fan and judge favorite in the first round, defeating the Penn State Chopsquad by 1,400 votes.

“Bozeman has high quality videos, great competitors and great terrain,” McComb said.

Colorado’s months of preparation for this contest payed off with its “Orientation” video in the first round, and the Buffaloes will look to throw down some new ideas and tricks in the quarterfinals to take down Montana State.

The theme for the current round is “Night Class” in which the riders can take their skills to the streets or backcountry terrain during the night. The edit can be seen here.

The winner of the event receives an all-expenses-paid snowboarding trip for the entire team.

To check out all of the latest footage from this competition and vote for the CU Snowboard Team as they take on the Bozeman Sewer Mutants this week, see this page.

Voting for the quarterfinal round began on Feb. 29, and continues through Thursday, March 3 at 11 p.m. MST. 

Get the latest updates of the CU Snowboard Team on Twitter and Instagram, and continue to follow them in the Red Bull Bracket Reel Snow competition here.

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