Natural Selection Proving Grounds 



Having searched the globe for the ideal location to evolve freeride mountain biking competition, Natural Selection Proving Grounds has landed on Queenstown, New Zealand. 

 The world’s top male and female athletes will compete on a stunning, natural and naturally-enhanced venue on Mount Dewar (TreeSpace), 10 minutes from the heart of Queenstown.


The search started with the consideration of 10 epic locations in New Zealand, before being narrowed down to three seemingly perfect venues to choose from in the Southern Lakes Region. 

 Five of the world’s best freeride mountain bikers came to New Zealand to scout the venues and test the dirt. Robin Goomes, Reed Boggs, Casey Brown, Brett Rheeder and Carson Storch were torn. Weighing the more dynamic, natural terrain features above Queenstown, against a venue that could be ridden by the public in the Wānaka area they had to make a choice.

 “The land here lends itself perfectly to freeriding with big open mountains and rolling terrain that’s asking to be ridden,” said Robin Goomes, professional mountain biker from New Zealand. “Having Proving Grounds come to NZ will be massive for the community and local riders looking to bridge the gap into the international scene.”

In the end, the riders choose the best location to: propel freeriding’s future, allow riders’ creativity to shine on natural terrain and ultimately inspire more up-and-coming riders.  Join the riders in “Search for the Next Proving Grounds” directed by Jeremy Grant, now streaming on-demand on Outside Watch.

 “The aim in New Zealand is to create the next evolution in freeride MTB competition, by choosing a location that uses the natural terrain to guide the design of the course, this will allow for limitless potential, with limited impact,” said Todd Barber, Founder of Proving Grounds Tour. 


“The combination of the terrain at Mount Dewar and the team at TreeSpace, who not only understand our values, but also share them, is going to create an amazing venue” said Barber. “We’re working with Tom Hey at Elevate Trail Building to design  a world class venue that is not only thrilling for the athletes, but also conscious of the natural landscape and our duty to preserve and also regenerate the area.”

 Five years ago Proving Grounds debuted in Prineville, Oregon USA. The ground-breaking freeride MTB competition features the world’s top male and female athletes on venues that blur the lines between big mountain and slopestyle riding. As with Natural Selection snowboard events, athletes choose their line to best showcase their personal skill, style, and strengths. And men and women will drop in on the same course with equal riding and prize opportunities.

photographer/NST Proving Grounds

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