What exactly is the Freeride World Tour? The FWT is a world championship for the craziest and most freeride lovers, where both men and women snowboard and ski riders compete. This competition is the predecessor of the Xtreme Verbier, which in 2008 merged with The North Face Freeskiing World Tour and Snowboarding Masters. The objective of this union was to bring together the biggest freeride competitions in the world in one, thus combining all the categories. Prior to this, snowboarders and skiers competed differently; In this way, with this union the repercussion would be much greater. In addition, this same competition incorporated other changes, such as the live broadcast of the championship. This is made up of five events in five different countries that vary each year, although some destinations such as Andorra are recurring, the only fixed one is Verbier (Switzerland) for the final test.
THE FWT, MORE THAN A COMPETITION
But the FWT is not the only event that is organized, but the top of the mountain. In 2008, in addition to this, four more points of contact with freeride were created by the same association: Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ), Freeride Junior Tour (FJT), Freeride Junior Tour Championship (FJWC) and Freeride World Tour Club (FWT Club).
The FWT Club is nothing more than a series of training clubs and teaching of this modality which cooperate and are supported by the FWT, championed by the talent to which it is associated . They offer courses of all kinds, including programs ranging from one day to one week.
On the other hand, the junior competitions (FJT and FJWC) are for riders under 18 who start in the discipline at a very young age. From the age of majority they will be able to access the FWT in two ways: either by means of their score in the FWQ or by being invited as guest. Accessing from the FWQ sounds tempting, but it is much more complex, since they are opponents who leave their skin on the track and of a very high level, so reaching the highest positions is not an easy task at all. On the other hand, they have an advantage in training, since there are up to 74 competition opportunities. Going as a guest via the Wild Card is the other possibility. These are distributed both to locals of the locations where the competition is held that year, to renowned injured riders and others (for marketing), as well as legends of other ski or snowboard modalities that have started in this .
The rest of the FWT competitors are those who arrived at the Verbier test in the previous edition. Cases like this have been that of Aymar Navarro in some of the editions. The finalists are 12 although, as a curiosity, it is much "easier" to classify as a snowboarder, since it has fewer participants. This information is a paradox considering that the FWT arises as a result of the Xtreme Verbier, a competition purely for snowboarders.
AN EDITION COMES LOADED WITH SURPRISES
After an edition in 2021 with many casualties of the participants who could not arrive due to restrictions due to the pandemic, we really want to feel the adrenaline of the 48 participants. Some of this year's special guests are none other than talents like the American Jacqueline Pollard and the French Léo Slemett.
The edition of the 2022 season will be the fifteenth and that is why they want to incorporate a series of novelties to give even more excitement to this intrepid four-month tour. First of all, do you know what the most famous news has been? Surely you have heard it because since it was announced it was a boom and a shot of illusion for national freeriders, since the first destination of this edition will be none other than our great Baqueira Beret, in Valle d'Aran. The starting signal will be given between 22 and January 28 in this station, which will be followed by another very close destination, Ordino Arcalís in Andorra, from January 30 to February 5th. Later we will cross the pond to go to Canada from February 12 to 17, exactly to the Kicking Horse Golden BC. The last destination before the grand final of Switzerland, will be again on this side of the world, in Saalbach Fieberbrunn, (Austria) from March 15 to 20. The Swedish event that will decide the winner in its mythical location will be held between March 26 and April 3.
This great news for our resort is the result of a lot of effort by the entire Baqueira team to continue progressing and improving, which has finally been awarded as it deserves, along with the help of local Aymar Navarro. He expressed his emotion with these words:
"If you told me ten years ago that a Spanish skier could reach the Xtreme Verbier podium, I would have told you that you were crazy. Now, it turns out that a FWT test is going to be held in my local mountain, Baqueira Beret!"
AYMAR NAVARRO WILL NOT BE THE ONLY SPANISH
Any more top news? This year for the first time our champion will not be alone, he will have a national colleague, Abel Moga, who also competes as a freerider skier.
In addition, there has been a change in how the competition will be structured: the cut-off will be after the third destination, instead of after the fourth, leaving Austria and the mythical Bec des Rosses de Verbier for the 26 participants who manage to be at the top of the ranking.
WHO DECIDES THE WINNERS OF EACH TEST?
The participants in each test are prohibited from descending weeks before on that same face. On the day of the competition, they must, from a distance, observe the mountain, decide where they are going to go down and try to keep that straight line. The three judges will give their rating based on this descent , since it is a single descent and, for this, they take into account the line, the jumps (style, altitude, complexity, combinations, etc.), fluidity and speed when skiing, control during the descent and technique. To avoid inequalities between participants, the scoring system was modified so that it would always start from 50 points and, depending on these five parameters, the riders would add or subtract points.
The task of the judges is quite complex, since in addition to the scoring, to make the comparison between one rider and another they must write down everything they have done during the descent, which is done using special codes. If for this edition you want to make your own score of the descents of participants such as Kristofer Turdell or Elisabeth Gerritzen, we leave you the link to the code book so that you can later compare it with that of the experts. Who knows, maybe one day it will be your turn to be there.
NOVELTIES IN THE RATING
Regarding the form of qualification, we have to count an addition, since another novelty that 2022 incorporates is that it will no longer be a single descent per participant, but two . We anticipate that this will give the rider much more opportunity to risk and add fuel to the fire. And speaking of giving it gas. that is what they have to do the most in the last two events, since another of the novelties is that these will add more points towards the overall score of the Tour. In case you didn't know, as it is structured (well, rather, it was, because this novelty makes it much more complex), a rider could already be champion by general score without having held the final. It is believed that these two novelties will put many more cards on the table for the participants. And what does that give us? Well, for the moment we are tremendously eager for the broadcasts to start (if the short breaks to Baqueira are not possible of course) because without a doubt the promises of strong emotions are great. Meanwhile, we leave you here a video of the highlights of the 2021 Edition so that you can get ready.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE FREERIDE WORLD TOUR OR FWT?
The FWT is the most important competition worldwide for freeriders, including categories for men and women, both skiers and snowboarders.
WHERE IS THE FWT HELD?
The FWT takes place in five different countries, one for each event, the only one that is repeated annually is the final, in Verbier, Switzerland. The other four remaining destinations change in each edition.
WHEN IS THE FWT?
The FWT is held during the first four months of the year, from January to April, when the final takes place.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE FWT?
Accessing the FWT is not an easy task, but the three ways are: having reached the end of the previous edition, through the FWQ, or by invitation by Wild Cards.
IS THE FWT HELD IN BAQUEIRA?
In 2022, for the first time Baqueira will be in charge of opening the edition, its inclusion for the first time in the tour has been thanks to the constant improvements of the resort and his tireless work, in addition to the help of the Aranese skier , Aymar Navarro.