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Snowbird, UT – January 23, 2011 – Last year’s overall champion Aaron Robinson, and Tahoe resident Maria DeBari took home the coveted Katana sword at the first stop of the 2011The North Face Masters of Snowboarding presented by PrimaLoft®, the largest big mountain snowboarding competition in the country which provides a venue for the best snowboarders in the world to compete for a total $45,000 cash prize purse.

“The riding was incredible today, the men had some amazing runs and the women really stepped up and were very impressive. I’m blown away at the level of competition we’re seeing in these events now,” said Head Judge Tom Burt.

Robinson, of Whitefish, MT, had two of the fastest runs in the competition with his first run including a huge 360, then a stylie cliff drop in the amphitheatre.  He dominated all weekend, as the top qualifier on day one and today, took an early lead that he would never relinquish with a first run score of 94.33.  In second place was Squaw Valley’s Ralph Backstrom with 93.00 on his second run.  Ryland Bell had a spectacular second run that landed him on the third place podium; he improved on his first run score of 77.00 by adding more tricks and staying on his feet for a second run score of 92.67.

“I feel great, excited,” said Aaron Robinson. “It’s really good to be around amazing people and talent; I’ve made countless friends through the contest.”

For the women, Maria DeBari went into her second run sitting in third place.  She came out of the start gate slashing huge turns down the fields of glory and rode a difficult line above the amphitheatre with a score of 83.3.  Kaitlin Elliott and Laura Hadar tied for second place with a score of 78.33. Elliott’s first run was impressive, with big smooth turns at the top followed by a cliff drop in the blonde rocks and a lightning fast run out at the bottom.  Hadar ended the day in a tie for second place with a score of 78.33.  Her first run ended up being her best run, as she made the top section look like hero snow, with her huge turns.  With an impressive drop in the amphitheatre she wowed the crowd and the judges alike.  Mary Boddington, who came in first on day one, came in fourth with a 77.00 on her second run.

“I’m very stoked, wasn’t expecting to win but I tried my hardest,” said Maria DeBari.  “The girls stepped it up so much from last year, everyone was so close.  It’s great to see how much everyone has improved.”

Day One points leader Josh Warnick took home the Young Gun Award, which rewards rider under 25 years of age who demonstrate raw talent and innovation in their riding style.