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  • Writer's pictureXavi Quirós

From the streets to the spotlight: The Uninvited Invitatiotanl ignites a new era for women's snowboarding

Park City Event Spotlights Rising Stars as Female Athletes Take Center Stage.

PARK CITY, UT – (April 19, 2024) History was made over the weekend as 70 of the best snowboarders in the world gathered Woodward Park City for The second annual Uninvited Invitational, brought to life by professional snowboarder and industry trailblazer Jess Kimura.


The Uninvited was spearheaded by Jess in 2017 through a series of self-produced films that challenged gender disparity in the action sports industry. This award-winning trilogy launched multiple careers for girls, women, and non-binary riders who needed a place to shine. With $56k in prize money on the line for this event, the stage was set for 70 athletes from 20 different countries to rise above expectations and rewrite the narrative for generations to come.


Watch the full replay of The 2024 Uninvited Invitational finals on The North Face YouTube channel, hosted by Olympic and X Games announcer Craig McMorris and Uninvited film alum Darrah Reid: LIVE STREAM REPLAY


Podium Left to Right: Livia Tanno, Jess Perlmutter, Telma Särkipaju, Iris Pham, Grace Warner Photo: Mary Walsh

The roster of riders at The Uninvited Invitational represented both established pros and up-and-coming amateurs who had traveled from all over North America, Japan, and Europe for the opportunity to compete and ride alongside one another. Notable names included X-Games gold medalist Grace Warner, 2024 Red Bull Heavy Metal champion Egan Wint, Olympian Annika Morgan, 2024 Rookie of the Year Iris Pham, 2023 Video Part of the Year winner Ivika Jurgenson, multi-time video part award winner Kennedi Deck, and Natural Selection Duels competitor Emma Crosby.


Telma Särkipaju, Livia Tannò, and Kaili Randmäe earned an invite and free trip to the event by podiuming at the first-ever Uninvited Euro Qualifier at Absolut Park, Austria last month. 


Thursday, April 11th kicked off the two day qualifier for Saturday’s finals. The 70 invited riders sessioned a custom-built course that had taken lead-builder Ben Bilocq and a dedicated team of Woodward Park City staff over a month to fabricate. 10-foot wallrides flanked the sides of two giant staircases, featuring a variety of street-style rails and ledges that pushed the girls to ride at their highest level. A double sided hip jump led into two quarterpipes, one topped with a baseball batting cage—a unique and consequential feature, often seen in snowboarding video parts but brought to a resort for the first time. During the qualifiers, standout performances were recognized with eight $500 Subaru Standout awards. Taylor Elliott, a veteran of the Uninvited films who has been battling Multiple Sclerosis this past year, stole the spotlight with a flawless handplant from the top of the cage. Her feat symbolized snowboarding's ability to showcase resilience in the face of challenges and rally community support. Other standout recipients were Ellie Weiler, Jess Perlmutter, Nora Beck, Annika Morgan, Novalie Engholm, Sophia Schroll, and Naima Antolin.


Mela Stalker by Mary Walsh

On Saturday April 13th, 35 riders advanced to the finals, competing for the largest prize purse in women’s snowboarding history. With a massive audience both in-person and online, the competitors delivered performances that shattered expectations and set a new standard for the sport. Highlights included Ellie Weiler's switch frontboard sameway off the wallride and Annika Morgan's massive gap backside 270 on the kink rail. Iris Pham and Grace Warner landed seamless back-to-back frontboards through the kink rail while 14-year-old Jess Perlmutter wowed the crowd with a lofty frontlip transfer on the down-flat-down ledge.


But it was Finnish upstart Telma Särkipaju who dominated the competition with her powerful riding, technical prowess, and effortless style, securing her the title of The 2024 Uninvited Invitational Champion. After finishing second in the 2023 contest, Telma showcased her skills with a flawless performance on Saturday, executing tricks with unmatched smoothness. She earned the well-deserved victory and a $13,000 cheque, cementing her status as a force to be reckoned with in the snowboarding world.


Telma Särkipaju letting us know why she claimed the top spot. photo: Mary Walsh

It felt like a dream,” said Telma, reflecting on standing on the podium. “This event means everything. It’s the best of the season—the most inspiring and motivating event, ever. I’m just hyped for everyone and so glad that I got to see how amazing the level was this year and how it’s progressing all the time.”


Iris Pham, hailing from Montana, secured second place with her blend of impeccable  style and technical riding. Despite spending the winter juggling X Games and Heavy Metal podium finishes with other filming commitments for an upcoming movie, Iris delivered a standout performance to finish her season off strong. She earned a $10k check and custom trophy for her efforts.


Iris Pham with a bug style! Photo: Mary Walsh

Taking third place and a $7000 check was Jess Perlmutter, a 14-year-old snowboarder from Vermont who earned a wildcard entry through The Uninvited Online Qualifier. Despite arriving relatively unknown at WWPC, Jess left a lasting impression with her big switch tricks and massive gap 270s, making it clear that the next generation of women street snowboarders has arrived! Her talent and determination also earned her the Subaru Rookie Award and a day 1 Subaru Standout cheque, bringing her total prize winnings to $8500.


Jess Perlmutter represented the young blood Photo: Mary Walsh

Midwest ripper Grace Warner and Euro Qualifier trip winner Livia Tanno rounded out the podium in fourth ($5000) and fifth ($3000), respectively. In addition to the podium, 11 other awards were handed out, rewarding each rider with a $1500 check and custom trophy. 


“When you look at the top five finishers, three of them were relatively unknown, having earned their spot in the competition through qualifying events,” event founder Jess Kimura said on Sunday. “How much more talent is out there that we don’t know about simply because there aren’t enough opportunities for them to showcase what they are capable of?”


Jess Kimura sharing a moment. Photo: Maisy Hoffman

The Uninvited Invitational also featured an all-women judging panel helmed by Catie Cook, Olympic judge. It included legendary pro snowboarder Marie-France Roy, 2024 Slush the Magazine Rider of the Year Jill Perkins, 2023 Rider of the Year Ylfa Runarsdottír, and video part veteran Melissa Riitano. Bomb Hole podcast host Chris Grenier and Save A Brain non-profit founder Kelsey Boyer emceed the event for the spectators.


“Huge congrats to all 70-plus riders who absolutely slayed all weekend,” exclaimed Marie-France Roy. “The talent and progression that I witnessed was mind-blowing and is proof that this is what happens when you support women.”


The Uninvited Invitational wouldn’t be possible without the support of brand partners who believe in women’s athletic initiatives. This event was presented by The North Face with support from Monster Energy, YETI, Subaru, Union Binding Co., CAPiTA, Woodward Park City, Skullcandy, Nidecker Snowboards, Baldface Lodge, Coal Headwear, Diecutstickers.com, Slush the Magazine, and Fat Tire.


FULL RESULTS

First – Telma Särkipaju ($13,000)

Second – Iris Pham ($10,000)

Third – Jess Perlmutter ($7,000)

Fourth – Grace Warner ($5,000)

Fifth – Livia Tanno ($3,000)


Best Trick – Annika Morgan (backside 270 to lipslide on the DFD) ($1,500)

Most Creative – Naima Antolin ($1,500)

Heart Award – Madison Blackley ($1,500)

Best Bail – Jaylen Hanson ($1,500)

One to Watch – Jubes Pelchat ($1,500)

Best Air – Emma Crosby ($1,500)

Style Award – Momo Fujikawa ($1,500)

Unleash the Beast – Nora Beck ($1,500)

Subaru Rookies – Ellie Weiler and Jess Perlmutter ($1,500)

Baldface Best Air – Novalie Engholm ($1,500)



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