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The Freeride World Tour is an exquisite sporting event that bears all kinds of adventure for pro skiers and snowboarders. It is organized by the FWT Management SA, which is a sporting organization based in Lutry- a municipality in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

The Freeride World Tour organizes sporting events across numerous disciplines for both genders. This ranges from individual contest wins to the world championship in different categories.

 What makes these events even more thrilling is that they are held on extreme terrains, including mountain slopes, and unkempt powder snow. Such areas are commonly referred to as, “big mountain” or “backcountry.” Therefore, the snowboarders and skiers need to have an excellent mastery of their respective sporting disciplines.

History of Freeride

Freeride has a rich history. It began as a result of curiosity. Among the countless activities that humans attempt, someone discovered that one could actually fasten their legs on a long plank of wood, and glide on snow freely. This is how the concept of Freeride was born. 

More people picked it up from that level and developed it. They learned how to make better equipment that could allow for a safer, stable and more controlled movement.

Back in the 1930s, this sport started making great strides. One of the greatest French skiers, Emile Allais, was already traversing and conquering dangerous terrains. By 1936, Allais won himself a bronze medal during the winter Olympics. 

Though the gear used then was somewhat makeshift as compared to the gear available now, the sport was getting the much-deserved recognition.

About four decades later, Ski Extreme was formed by the French. This organization came up with much-improved gear that catapulted the popularity of freeriding. The sport gained global acclaim as folks came out in large numbers to watch.

Back then, Freeride skiing was quite intense to such an extent that participants could fall to their death. It got much better in the 1980s when American folks became interested in the sport.

The sport began featuring in films like the Blizzard of Aahhh’s. This would later open doors for the first-ever held Freeride tournament.

In the 1990s, various legendary Freeride contests were held. The impact of the sport reverberated in Europe and America.

But it wasn’t until 2008 that the first series of events of the Freeride World Tour was launched. Before that, it was a snowboard only sort of contest known as the Verbier Extreme that had been started in 1996.

In 2013, Freeride World Tour joined forces with the North Face Masters of Snowboarding and the Freeskiing World Tour. This was a combination like no other. The outcome was a variety of exciting sporting activities.

As of today, FWT Management SA is tasked with organizing and overseeing a wide range of Freeride skiing events. These include the snowboard circuit and the yearly World Ski.

Each year, this prestigious event brings together the most skillful skiers and snowboarders. However, the participants have to take place in grueling qualifiers to book their spot for the main events. Usually, these events take them to Canada, Japan, Pyrenees, Alps and Verbier where the finals take place.

Previous Winners of the Freeride World Tour

Since the inception of the Freeride World Tour, there has been a host of winners. These are people who have defied all the odds to come out as the top sportsmen and women in their respective discipline. Here is a list of the winners of the tournament from 2008 to 2018; 

Year

Men

Women

Ski

Snowboard

Ski

Snowboard

2008

Henrik  Windsted

Sweden

Xavier de Lerue

France

Elyse Sugstad

United States

Ruth Leisbach

Switzerland

2009

Aurelien Ducroz

France

Xavier De Lerue

France

Ane Enderud

Norway

Susan Moi

United States

2010

Candide

Thovex

France

Xavier de Lerue

France

Ane Enderud

Norway

Aline Bock

Germany

2011

Aurelien Ducroz

France

Mitch Tolderer

Austria

Janet Hargin

Sweden

Anne-Flore Marxer

France

2012

Reine Barkered

Sweden

Jonathan Charlet

France

Christine

Hargin

Sweden

Maria DeBari

United States

2013

Drew Tabke

United States

Ralf Backstrom

United States

Nardine Wallner

Austria

Elodie Mauthon

France

2014

Loic Collomb-Patton

France

Emilien Budoux

Switzerland

Nardine

Wallner

Austria

Shannan Yates

United States

2015

George Rodney

United States

Jonathan Charlet

France

Eva Walkner

Austria

Estelle Balet

Switzerland

2016

Loic Collomb-Patton

France

Sammy Luebke

United States

Eva Walkner

Austria

Estelle Balet

Switzerland

2017

Leo Slemmet

France

Sammy Luebke

United States

Lorraine

Hubner

 Austria

Marion Haerty

France

2018

Kristofer Turdell

Sweden

Sammy Luebke

United States

Arianna Tricomi

Italy

Manuela Mandi

Austria

More about Freeride World Tour Sport

The sport takes place in the backcountry on challenging terrain. It is graced by snowboarders and skiers of the highest caliber and a lot of planning goes into each competition due to various factors such as weather and so on.

Safety measures and mitigation strategies are put in place. 

Also, a crew with sophisticated video gear is involved to document the proceedings and to see to it that the fans catch the action lives on TV.

The FWT is not keen on setting the exact dates for the events. It relies on a 7-day weather window. Therefore, the sporting activities take place in any of the 7days so long as the weather is favorable. The decision on which day the sports will be held is left to the mountain safety team. The reason why the day has to be picked perfectly is visibility.

Every ride is allocated 50 points at commencement. These points are just for going beyond the gate. From there, the riders are judged on a scale of 100 points. The points are to be added as the rider advances.

Some of the judging aspects include fluidity and control. Style, technique and how they handle while in the air is also considered as part of judging regimen.

Taking risks on the most challenging areas of the terrain is rewarded so long as a rider lands it. Failure to land is penalized.

Riders showcase a variety of skills and the one who exudes the highest mastery of most skills scores more points.

Freeride World Tour is not only a special sport but it is also an adventure for both the riders and their fans.