Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge Set for Saturday, March 11 at Mt. Bachelor
The Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge is back at Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor resort on Saturday, March 11, 2023. This year marks the 11th year of the snowboard event hosted by legendary big wave surfer Gerry Lopez. Registration is now open – tell your friends, tune your gear, and get ready to catch a wave! The 2023 Big Wave Challenge is open to the first 300 riders to register. Competitors can choose from four divisions: Kane (men’s open 17–39), Wahine (women’s open 17–39), Makule (adult co-ed 40 & up) and Keiki (groms 16 & under).
Every year this creative course features a new set of waves, and with this year’s deep La Nina snowpack, we’re expecting big swell conditions. The 2023 course on the Midway Run off of the Pine Marten Lift will reflect notable surf breaks from around the world utilizing sweeping banked corners, quarter pipes and spines. These wave-like features will link together through a flowing course bringing the surf to the mountains.
The Big Wave Challenge will run in jam style format, meaning riders can take runs through the course as many times as they like during their division’s allotted time. Judges will score competitors based on overall performance and impression. The top three riders from each division will be awarded prizes. Spectators are invited and encouraged to attend—bring your Aloha spirit and cheer on the competitors from the sidelines of the course and in the finish area!
The Big Wave Challenge is hosted by legendary big wave surfer Gerry Lopez, who has called Mt. Bachelor his home mountain since first moving to Bend from Maui in the 90s. Gerry says,
“Surfing and snowboarding are all about fun. It’s the reason we love it and do it as much as we do. Sometimes, maybe oftentimes, things get in the way and we forget this basic truth. When we clear away all ‘the other stuff’, what is really true is always there. This is what the Mt. Bachelor Big Wave Challenge is all about.”
The Aloha spirit, stoke, and the desire to raise money for worthy causes has always been the driving belief behind this one-of-a-kind snowboard event. Proceeds from this year’s Big Wave Challenge will benefit Pat Malendoski. Pat held an instrumental role in the early Big Wave Challenge days, applying his special terrain-park creation skills to building waves out of snow, producing a unique type of course that has made the BWC such an epic event. Seven years ago, he was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma and has since been battling this cancerous brain tumor.
Gerry will, as always, be a hands-on host at the event, encouraging competitors, hosting the Hawaiian Luau complete with live music, and emceeing the awards ceremony. Take a deeper dive into the history of the Big Wave Challenge and Gerry Lopez’s story here.
2023 Big Wave Challenge Event Schedule:
Friday, March 10
8:00am –12:00pm: Rider packet pick-up on the lower level of West Village Lodge
9:00am – 3:30pm: Course open for practice for registered riders
Saturday, March 11
9:00am –11:30am: Wahine, Makule, and Keiki Divisions
11:30 am– 2:00 pm: Kane Division
11:00 am – 3:00pm: Luau BBQ and Live Music in West Village Base Area
3:30 pm: Awards at the West Village Stage
Sunday, March 12
9:00am – 3:30pm: Course open to all for a Free Flow day!