On Thursday, the controversial Red Bull Supernatural snowboarding contest opened in the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia. Designed by Travis Rice, the project includes more than 80 jumps and ramps set into the side of a 45-degree slope. Construction required clearing and topping trees on public lands and has upset some in the snowboarding community, including Utah snowboarder and backcountry advocate Warren Smith. "I’m not a bleeding heart tree hugger, Smith wrote in a letter to Red Bull, "but I’ve sat in meetings where land managers, politicians, and conservation leaders point to unsanctioned structures as reason to ban tax-paying recreationalists from public lands." Seventeen of the world's best snowboarders, including Terje Håkonsen and Nicolas Müller, are scheduled to compete. The contest will be filmed by helicopters and broadcast as by NBC as a two-hour special on March 31.
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